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Paul Miller Racing Leads Home Lamborghini 1-2 in GTD

Paul Miller Racing claims its first-ever Daytona class win as Lamborghinis finish 1-2…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

Andrea Caldarelli, Corey Lewis, Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow emerged victorious for Paul Miller Racing in an action-packed Rolex 24 at Daytona battle that saw Lamborghini claim its third straight GT Daytona class win in the race.

Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evos finished first and second as Paul Miller beat the GRT Magnus crew of Spencer Pumpelly, John Potter, Andy Lally and Marco Mapelli to the win.

WRT Speedstar completed the podium with its Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo shared by Mirko Bortolotti, Rolf Ineichen, Daniel Morad and Dries Vanthoor.

It marked the Paul Miller’s first Rolex 24 class triumph, improving on the team’s previous-best result of second recorded in the 2011 edition.

This weekend’s GTD race was unpredictable all the way through Saturday afternoon and Sunday night, but a leading quartet of victory contenders emerged as dawn arrived.

These were the Lamborghinis from Paul Miller Racing and GRT Magnus, the Audi of WRT Speedstar, and Wright Motorports’ Porsche 911 GT3 R, with the group exchanging the class lead several times while strategies converged in the final two hours.

With five and a half hours to go, Vanthoor seized the lead for WRT by drawing alongside Lewis in the Daytona tri-oval.

The pair ran side-by-side through the next sequence of corners before Vanthoor ultimately swept around the outside at the horseshoe.

However, momentum shifted with five hours remaining during the race’s fifth full course caution, which caused by a dramatic fire for the GRT-prepared GEAR Racing Lamborghini.

The GRT Magnus squad made up two spots during the ensuing round of yellow flag pit stops, with new leader Pumpelly coming out ahead of both Vanthoor and Lewis.

Nonetheless, Vanthoor produced a string of quick laps to once again make a pass for the lead, although this was short-lived because the Paul Miller Lamborghini later jumped ahead of WRT’s Audi in the pits during the sixth and final caution.

With just over an hour to go, Mapelli was forced to defend hard from Caldarelli but the GRT Magnus driver managed to keep his fellow Lamborghini works driver and GT World Challenge Europe co-champion at bay.

When Mapelli pitted, Caldarelli assumed the lead and was not set to come in for another eight or nine laps, but the Paul Miller squad elected to bring its man in early for the penultimate stint to leapfrog GRT in the pits.

This strategy call swapped the two Lamborghinis around, with Caldarelli arriving onto the final stint with an 18-second advantage.

A further 40 seconds back was Mirko Bortolotti in the WRT Audi, which dropped out of the lead chase in the last two hours.

Caldarelli went onto manage the gap back to Mapelli while Bortolotti lost some time to second-place to the point of being just five seconds clear of Wright’s Klaus Bachler at the finish.

Fifth place went to the Black Swan Racing Porsche, which started the weekend as a Wright chassis, while Turner Motorsport’s BMW M6 GT3 finished sixth in class.

These two cars finished a lap down along with the Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 and the best of the Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evos.

The pole-sitting Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R was a dominant force in the opening half of the race but its victory bid was dismantled by a driveshaft problem in Hour 16.

It returned to the track with just under seven hours remaining but lost 12 laps and was classified second-last in GTD.

RESULTS: Rolex 24 at Daytona 

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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