GRT Grasser Racing are all set for the legendary 24 hours of Daytona 2021. The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship will open with the 59th edition of the endurance classic at the Daytona International Speedway this weekend, 28th-31st January. The Austrian team’s two Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVOs had an excellent showing during the Roar Before The Rolex 24. Rolf Ineichen and Mirko Bortolotti battled their way up to qualify third in the strong GTD class while Misha Goikhberg and Franck Perera in the sister car secured P6 on the grid made up of 18 GT3 racing cars.
Qualifying race provides plenty of action at Roar Before The Rolex 24
The sports car elite came together on the weekend before the legendary endurance race highlight in the USA for the customary first trial of strength. This year’s Roar Before The Rolex 24 (21st to 23rd January) was really action-packed, as qualifying was held in the form of a race for the first time. Rolf Ineichen did really well to book grid slot six for car number 111 in the 100 minute sprint race. Driving the #19 Lamborghini, Misha Goikhberg was on the seventh row of the grid as he tackled the first major showdown of the weekend.
In accordance with regulations, a silver category driver and a professional racing driver shared the car in qualifying. After a number of extensive practice sessions, Marco Mapelli and Steijn Schothorst handed over to team-mates Rolf Ineichen and Mirko Bortolotti for the quali while Albert Costa Balboa and Tim Zimmermann entrusted their Lamborghini to the pairing of Misha Goikhberg and Franck Perera. The drivers at the wheel did not disappoint their team-mates in the pits.
After 48 laps, car number 111 crossed the finish line in third place in the GTD category. Driving the best placed Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO in the field, Ineichen and Bortolotti were less than ten seconds behind the winner. Goikhberg and Perera won through against the competition to finish sixth with a determined charge up the field and missed a top-five result by just half-a-second.
GRT Grasser Racing looking to win for a third time at Daytona
At GRT Grasser Racing, a promising start has raised expectations of achieving a good outcome to the opening round of the North American Endurance Cup in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship. The 24 Hours of Daytona is the first of four high-profile events taking place in North America. The 12 Hours of Sebring, Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta and the Six Hours of Watkins Glen are also on the calendar.
The 24 Hours of Daytona has played a major role in endurance racing since 1966 and is a major highlight in the USA. 49 cars in five classes will fight for glory and top honours in Florida this weekend. After notching up wins in 2018 and 2019, GRT Grasser Racing are firmly focused on triumphing for a third time with two first class pairings in their line-up.
A strong showing in the opening round at Daytona could pay big dividends in the overall standings of the North American Endurance Cup, because championship points are allocated both after the 24 hours have elapsed and also after every six hours when interim positions are worked out and points awarded accordingly. The battle for stage victories will make the race exciting from start to finish. Fans can follow the race live on imsa.com. IMSA TV will carry a free-to air live stream and live timing data will also be available on the official IMSA website.
Team principal Gottfried Grasser: “The Roar at Daytona is primarily for preparation purposes, and that’s why things do not always run entirely smoothly over the course of the weekend. Bearing that in mind, we did just fine and are very pleased with grid slots three and six for the race especially in view of the fact that our Lamborghini has to run a smaller restrictor this year because of the Balance of Performance. That will make our undertaking a little bit more difficult, but victory is still the goal and we have a good chance of pulling it off. A 24-hour race is not just about fast lap times. Apart from strong pace, being consistent and having an error-free execution of strategy both on and off the track are just as important. I think we are extremely well-placed as far as that goes. Our driver pairings work very effectively with one another. Misha in particular has settled in really well. He is new to the Lamborghini but is doing a terrific job just like the other guys. Everyone in the team is highly motivated and we are all really looking forward to this fantastic event.”
Source. GRT Grasser Racing/Photo. Jamey Price