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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 broadcaster and reporter. In addition to his work covering primarily domestic sports car racing for Sportscar365, he is a pit reporter for SRO America's TV coverage as well as for IndyCar Radio. Myrehn, a graduate of DePauw University, is also the host of Sportscar365's “Double Stint” Podcast.

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