Lamborghini GT3 Junior Driver Mateo Llarena closed out his second Rolex 24 at Daytona as the top-finishing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO.
The 17-year-old Guatemalan had the honours of taking the checkered flag for the 60th Running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the No. 71 T3 Motorsports Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO. After a grueling 24 hours of battles in GTD, he and the team walked away with an eight-place finish. This locked them in as the top-finishing Lamborghini in a field of 61 competitors, 21 of which were GTD cars.
The No. 71 started the historic event from last place, forcing the team to use outright speed and tactful strategy to move up the leaderboard from the drop of the green flag. As the race progressed it became clear Llarena, and the T3 Motorsports machine was the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO to keep an eye on as all the other cars from the manufacturer were involved in incidents or had mechanical issues causing them to retire. Soon, the No. 71 was the only Lamborghini, out of the five that started the race, left standing.
From there it quickly became a game of strategy and attrition as other drivers became tired and made careless mistake. Llarena, along with fellow GT3 Junior driver Maximilian Paul, Lamborghini Factory driver Frank Perera, and veteran endurance driver Mikhail “Misha” Goikhberg, kept their minds sharp and eyes forward, keeping the nose of the No. 71 clean and intact. After an accumulated drive time of six hours, this mindful maneuvering allowed Llarena to methodically move through the field ultimately finishing the race in eighth place.
“I’m very happy to finish this race, especially in GTD,” Llarena said. “There were many cars that crashed out so we were able to stay out of trouble. We did have some small problems throughout the race that made us lose some laps. We were able to make some of those laps up and finally we ended up finishing eighth out of 22 GTD cars. The biggest accomplishment is we are the only Lambo team who finished the race so we can be very proud of that. I had some good experiences and being able to be in the car to finish the race was a real honor for me so I’m very happy.”
Llarena now heads back to Guatemala to continue to studies and begin preparing for his next big race. While he is not yet ready to announce his full 2022 plans, it is safe to assume his name will pop up on professional grids worldwide.
“I’m very happy to have finished the race so high, especially in the GTD category where there were so many cars and there were really a lot of crashes. We managed to stay out of trouble even though we had to deal with a few small issues during the race that caused us to lose a few laps. In the end we finished eighth in GTD as the only Lamborghini to finish, so we can be proud of our result. It was a great honour and a great opportunity for me to represent Lamborghini on the track. Thank you to the team and my teammates for the mega job done.”
Llarena now heads back to Guatemala to continue his studies and begin preparing for his next big race. While he is not yet ready to announce his full 2022 plans, it is safe to assume his name will pop up on professional grids worldwide.
Source. Misfit Media