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Grasser Wins GTD; First Major Victory for Lamborghini GT3

GRT scored the victory in GT Daytona and notched a monumental win for Lamborghini…

Photo: Scott LePage/IMSA

The Grasser Racing Team quartet of Mirko Bortolotti, Rolf Ineichen, Franck Perera, and Rik Breukers took GT Daytona class honors in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, scoring the first 24-hour race win for the Lamborghini Huracan GT3.

After starting from the back of the GTD field in the No. 11 Lamborghini for failing a series-mandated stall test after qualifying, the team made steady progress through the field and cracked the top-five in class by the end of the first hour and the lead by the halfway point.

The second half of the race saw the Austrian squad emerge as one of the prime contenders, leading most of the final four-and-a-half hours.

Bortolotti jumped in the car with over two hours remaining and brought the No. 11 Lamborghini to the checkered flag.

The Lamborghini factory driver held off the No. 86 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 of Alvaro Parente and the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini of Andrea Caldarelli to clinch the class win.

Parente anchored the driving duties for MSR, overcoming a lengthy pit stop in the final 90 minutes to charge to the second step of the podium with co-drivers AJ Allmendinger, Katherine Legge, and Trent Hindman.

Allmendinger had been leading the class when he came to pit road prior to the stop.

Parente was able to nearly halve the deficit he inherited but it wasn’t enough as he crossed the line 16.806 seconds behind the class-winning car.

Caldarelli, meanwhile completed an unlikely run to the podium for Paul Miller Racing after replacing the car’s engine, gearbox, and electric components late Friday night, including a shakedown at nearby New Smyrna Speedway.

Caldarelli and co-drivers Bryan Sellers, Madison Snow, and Bryce Miller drove through the field and secured the third step on the podium.

The No. 33 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 ran as high as second with Jeroen Bleekemolen behind the wheel and was less than a second behind Bortolotti in the final hour before a late dive to pit lane for fuel.

Bleekemolen and co-drivers Adam Christodoulou, Ben Keating, and Luca Stolz had to settle for fourth, the final car on the lead lap in the class.

There were only four full course yellows in the race which saw the winning Prototype entry smash the all-time event distance record.

RESULTS: Rolex 24 at Daytona

Ryan Myrehn is an Indianapolis-based journalist and sportscaster, covering IMSA and Pirelli World Challenge. Myrehn, a graduate of DePauw University, is also the host of Sportscar365's “Double Stint” Podcast.

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Azuma

    January 28, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    Finally Grasser. You guys won a 24 Hours!

    You tried to be the Dominators of Dubai, But you got to be the Kings Of Daytona.

    Congrats Grasser, See you in the Blancpain GT.

  2. BigTart

    January 28, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    It was the first 24 hour win for any lambo

    • Ryan Myrehn

      Ryan Myrehn

      January 28, 2018 at 6:04 pm

      That’s correct! We didn’t have that confirmed at the time of publishing, but it certainly was a monumental win for Lamborghini.

  3. Jason

    January 28, 2018 at 5:43 pm

    I wonder if the winning chassis will be the blancpain gt car too? Good win and race. But how the heck did the land Audi lap the field so easily on sat night, and then throw it away on a penalty?

  4. z

    January 28, 2018 at 5:50 pm

    good job to the Audi with a lambo bodykit

    • Binky

      January 28, 2018 at 6:14 pm

      Exactly, working off that base, the fact that they haven’t won a major endurance race all these years is the bigger surprise for me.

    • Andy Flinn

      January 29, 2018 at 4:23 pm

      But the Lambo looks so much better.

  5. GrimBrother One

    January 28, 2018 at 6:02 pm

    Love it! Big congrats to the crew on delivering Lamborghini a landmark victory 🙂

  6. John

    January 28, 2018 at 7:25 pm

    So, nothing more on the Land Audi penalty?

    Did IMSA screw up its calculations or were there shenanigans on the part of the team?

    • Max

      January 28, 2018 at 11:22 pm

      I think it’s fairly clean cut as there’s a minimum time and they were under it. Ultimately if you see you’re under that time you should do something about it even if that means sitting there with nothing happening. It would be a lot easier to tell IMSA what’s going on and what you’re doing about it before they tell you what you’re going to do about it.

      • John

        January 29, 2018 at 2:03 am

        So, given an IMSA-issued and sealed restrictor and level sensor, it’s still the team’s responsibility to ensure that it functions properly and meets IMSA’s _expected_ refueling times?

        Ultimately, IMSA has the right to enforce that, but it’s a hard way to learn a lesson.

        I have no rooting interest, just trying to make things jibe.

        I remember years ago in CART where the teams were less than pleased that the some of the issued popoff valves were more equal than others, which forced it to tight up its own performance standards.

  7. Tenkamenin Crowder

    January 29, 2018 at 12:26 am

    It’s far from a surprise to see grasser get Lamborghinis first 24 hour win they are the factory team

    • Paul

      January 29, 2018 at 4:57 pm

      This 100%. Everyone acts like its the surprise of the season, but its not….

  8. Grasser Fab

    January 29, 2018 at 12:31 am

    Wonder why everybody is so surprized This is the the Blancpain overall champion The top team in Europe

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