The #7 Penske Porsche Motorsport 963 of Matt Campbell started on pole and led the field to the green flag.
Sebastien Bourdais, who started fourth in Chip Ganassi Racing’s #01 Cadillac V-Series.R, jumped to the outside and immediately made it a three-wide fight for the lead entering Turn 1.
Campbell, on the inside of both team-mate Mathieu Jaminet (starting the #6 963) and Bourdais, locked up and missed the apex of the opening corner, which allowed Jaminet in the #6 entry to grab the lead. Consequently, it squeezed Bourdais, who was hit and spun around by the #60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-06 of Tom Blomqvist, who was then hit by Phillip Eng in the #24 BMW M Team RLL machine.
The first caution came out due to debris left over from the incident, which sent Bourdais into the pits with right front damage and in need of a nose change. Blomqvist remained out on track despite damage to the front of his car, while Eng’s damage was significant enough to require multiple visits to the pit lane and ended up 41st overall, and last in the GTP class, at 10 laps down.
The second caution came out when the #18 ORECA LMP2 07 of Dwight Merriman (Era Motorsport) made slight contact with the #93 Acura NSX GT3 (Racers Edge Motorsports with WTR) in the GTD class coming out of the last corner of the 14-turn, 2.439-mile circuit. Merriman was sent into a spin in front of the field, with several near misses until the yellow came out.
A run of driver changes followed soon after, with Tandy replacing Jaminet, while Felipe Nasr swapped with Campbell. At this time, Blomqvist remained in, but was serviced with a nose change from the earlier contact.
During the GTD split sequence under the caution, the Penske cars failed to yield appropriately, according to race control, allowing the #31 Whelen Cadillac of Pipo Derani to bizarrely sprint to first place, despite running under yellow, ahead of Penske Porsches.
Nasr jumped ahead of Tandy on the restart going into Turn 1 on the restart with 1h35m to go, while Derani sped off in the lead.
#31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac Racing Cadillac V- Series.R: Pipo Derani, Alexander Sims
Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images
It took 25 minutes for Nasr to close on Derani, who overshot the Turn 1 corner after struggling with lapped traffic. As a result, Nasr grabbed the lead and brought Tandy through, as well. Derani fell to third and immediately began to plummet time to the Porsches.
With one hour remaining, Nasr and Tandy made slight contact while weaving through traffic, which let Tandy close and tease a shot for the lead coming out of Turn 4. However, the track position remained unchanged.
The moment of the race came with 46 minutes left: Nasr pitted as Tandy inherited the lead and stayed out an additional lap. On his out-lap, Nasr locked up going into Turn 7 and lost time on the grass, while Tandy kept it clean and came away 7s ahead after the cycle was complete.
From there, the Briton maintained the lead and gapped his team-mate to win by 17.421s. The #25 BMW M Hybrid V8 for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing finished third, with Connor De Phillippi guiding the team to the finish after co-driver Nick Yelloly handled the early running.
The LMP2 battle was won by Mikkel Jensen in the #11 TDS Racing entry also co-driven by Steven Thomas. The winning move came with 25m left in the race, with Jensen driving by the #8 Tower Motorsports machine of Louis Deletraz, who had led the majority of the way in the category.
Anthony Mantella and Wayne Boyd guided the #17 Ligier JSP320 for Tower Motorsports to victory in LMP3, 12s ahead of Josh Burton – and co-driver Gar Robinson – in the #74 Riley Ligier.
#79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes AMG GT3: Daniel Juncadella, Jules Gounon
Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images
GTD Pro was won by the #79 Mercedes AMG GT3 co-driven by the WeatherTech Racing duo of Daniel Juncadella and Jules Gounon. They finished 3.493s ahead of the #23 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 for Heart of Racing Team, piloted by Ross Gunn and Alex Riberas.
Philip Ellis provided the late magic in GTD, pulling off the class-winning move with four minutes to go in Turns 8-9. Ellis pushed the #57 Mercedes AMG GT3 (Winward Racing) by Loris Spinelli’s Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 (Forte Racing), who ended up second at 1.268s behind at the finish.