The No. 39 Audi R8 GT4 entered the four hour BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona International Speedway with a goal to finish in the top-five. The prolonged race format provided the team with the upper hand as they performed flawless pit-stops and superb race maneuvers to achieve its goal. For Team Principal and engineer Steve Dinan, the team has already begun checking the boxes for a repeat championship.
“This is a great start to the season,” Dinan said. “This is the best finish we’ve ever had at Daytona. We crashed our first year and finished 16th last year. We had six top four’s last year and our goal is ten this year so we’re right on track. Honestly, Daytona is the worst track for this car to walking away with fourth is fantastic”
McQuarrie had the honors of starting the race after qualifying the No. 39 on the front row. With the fall of the green flag, the 52 car field erupted into mayhem around him leaving him in a battle for position with the top ten cars. McQuarrie remained cool and collected throughout the entirety of his stint creating a gap with the behind competitors while putting pressure on those ahead. He worked his way as high as first before pitting at the two hour and eight-minute mark handing it over to Westphal to bring it home.
“Finishing fourth here at Daytona for the first round is a huge step forward from where we were last year,” McQuarrie said. “Last year we left here realizing we couldn’t make any more mistakes, the year had to be perfect. Walking away fourth overall now gives us a lot more opportunities. We came here thinking we could be a top-five car and were able to deliver. We’re excited to go to tracks we dominated at like Sebring in a strong position. This allows us to make some different decisions throughout the year. We get an EVO kit and one degree of camber back for Sebring where we were already strong so overall I’m feeling really great about this weekend and the weekends ahead.”
Westphal took the reins of the No. 39 under a full course caution allowing him time to settle into the Audi R8 GT4 and prepare for the action ahead. Restarting from fourth he would soon find his race defined by traffic and crucial drafts customary to Daytona International Speedway. An incident with 15-minutes remaining would see the field finish under yellow thwarting Westphal’s run for the podium. His fourth-place finish was welcomed with open arms topping the team’s 16th place finish at Daytona International Speedway in their 2019 championship season.
“The run today was much better than last year,” Westphal said. “The Audi ran flawlessly and we really maximized our potential for what we had in the car but running around cars in traffic like the Mercedes and the McLaren it’s clear how much they can pull ahead even when we’re drafting them. I made a risky move in the infield and got around a Mercedes then as soon as we got on the straight he was able to drive around me. The team nailed it, the pit stops were great and the car was awesome. We took the opportunity we had and latched on.”
“I think we’re cautiously optimistic looking at this start and then to the rest of the season. We are further ahead already than we were in 2019 but looking around the paddock I think there are a lot more competitive cars. I think the challenge of the championship has leveled up so we need to be on the pointy end all year. Our goal is always to execute well, maximize the opportunity and score as many points as you can without messing up. Most cars will take themselves out at least once so we need to minimize that scenario.”
The No. 39 now faces over a month break for IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge Round Two at Sebring International Raceway. The Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 takes place March 18-19 in Sebring, Florida in conjunction with the Super Sebring event weekend.
Source. CarBahn Motorsports with Peregrine Racing