The GRT Grasser Racing Team made an impressive debut Thursday at the Rolex 24 At Daytona, as Mirko Bortolotti qualified fifth in the deep, competitive GT Daytona (GTD) field for the North American endurance racing classic.
Bortolotti, from Italy, drove the No. 11 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 fielded by GRT Grasser Racing Team to a top lap of 1 minute, 47.785 seconds during the 15-minute qualifying session on the 12-turn, 3.56-mile (5.73 km) circuit.
That lap was the quickest of any of the eight Lamborghini Huracán GT3s, the most cars among the nine manufacturers racing in the ultra-competitive GTD class in the opening race of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.
“GRT and Mirko produced a solid performance in qualifying, as did all of our customer teams,” said Giorgio Sanna, head of Lamborghini Motorsport. “Qualifying is important, but we’re focused on the big prize, which is the race. All of our Huracán GT3 cars are ready for 24 hours of intense competition at this most prestigious event.”
This is the Rolex 24 At Daytona debut for Austrian team GRT Grasser Racing Team, a standout veteran of the Blancpain GT Series in Europe and winner of the Nürburgring 4 Hours in September 2016. GRT is fielding two Huracán GT3 cars at Daytona, the only multi-car team in the Lamborghini stable at this event.
Three Huracán GT3 cars qualified in the top 12 of the 27-car field.
Besides Bortolotti in fifth, Christian Engelhart of Germany qualified 11th in the other GRT Grasser Racing Team car, the No. 61 Lamborghini Huracán, with a top lap of 1:48.483. American Bryan Sellers was right behind in 12th after a top lap of 1:48.496 in the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3.
Other Lamborghini Huracán GT3 qualifiers included Geert Jeroen Mul of The Netherlands, 14th at 1:48.590 in the No. 16 Change Racing entry; Marco Mapelli of Switzerland, 21st at 1:49.322 in the No. 21 Konrad Motorsport entry; Emanuele Busnelli of Italy, 23rd at 1:49.781 in the No. 46 EBIMOTORS entry; Emmanuel Anassis of Canada, 26th at 1:51.517 in the No. 18 DAC Motorsports entry; and Lawrence DeGeorge of the United States, 27th at 1:55.835 in the No. 27 Dream Racing Motorsport entry.
The 55th Rolex 24 At Daytona starts at 2:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday, ending at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Night practice is scheduled for 7-8:30 p.m. Thursday, with the final practice set for 10 a.m. Friday.
The V10-powered Lamborghini Huracán was born from a desire to offer factory-built and supported cars to customers worldwide. It is the first GT3 car to be fully engineered, developed and assembled internally by Automobili Lamborghini.
Lamborghini Squadra Corse enjoyed a successful first season in the WeatherTech Championship in 2017, earning a dominant victory in the GTD class race in August at VIRginia International Raceway with Paul Miller Racing.