I know we like to say that the racing year in United States starts with a bang, but we meant the figurative “bang” that is one of the world’s toughest day-long races. Not a physical bang caused by crashing out on the formation lap.
Driver Robert Renauer crashed the No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 on the very first formation lap. It wasn’t captured on the broadcast feed, and even an IMSA official wasn’t sure what they hit at the time of this publication, but it looks like Renauer simply ate something hard with the front left of his car on his own. [Update: He hit the wall.]
The No. 58 went behind the wall and into its garage for repairs—again, before the race ever started. I’m pretty sure this might be the worst way to end your 24 Hours of Daytona early.
I’m at Daytona, but wasn’t at that part of the track when this happened. I even went into the team’s garage to look at the damage, but no one there from the team or from Porsche knew quite what the driver hit aside from something very substantial. The team was, however, furiously repairing the mystery crash.
Did you see the No. 58 eat it before the race even started, or better yet, grab it on video? Hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPDATE [3:32 p.m. ET]: Renauer hit the wall at Turn 5!
[H/T The Crotch Belt!]
UPDATE #2 [5:05 p.m. ET]: Renauer explained his inexplicable crash in a statement to IMSA:
I came out of the kink, went on throttle and suddenly the car turned to the left. I had wheel spin and couldn’t avoid the crash. I’m very sorry for the team. They’ve worked hard to prepare for this and now they’re going to have to work hard again. I’m sure they’ll fix it so we can go back out there and go for some points.
Cold tires that aren’t warmed up to their optimum grippiness yet will do that.