Head of Lamborghini Motorsport Giorgio Sanna has hailed the manufacturer’s first-ever 24-hour victory as its biggest triumph yet, stating it’s a “big emotion” to claim Rolex 24 at Daytona class honors in only its third attempt.
The No. 11 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3 of Mirko Bortolotti, Franck Perera, Rolf Ineichen and 19-year-old Rik Breukers took top class honors in Sunday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener.
It came following a dominant performance in the second half of the race for the Italian manufacturer, which also placed third with the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing entry.
“It’s the first 24-hour victory for the brand,” Sanna told Sportscar365. “And to do it in Daytona with a challenging race like we’ve seen this weekend is a big emotion and a honor for the entire Squadra Corse.
“We’re proud to show our capability to the entire world.
“Our mindset and strategy is always to move step by step. Last year we won a lot of sprint races and also in Blancpain GT Endurance [Cup].
“This year, one important target was to win at least one classic race. We did it.”
The Austrian squad, which claimed a podium finish in the Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai earlier this month, spearheaded Lamborghini’s charge in a smaller and more focused three-car effort between two teams at Daytona this year.
Both the No. 11 GRT and No. 48 Paul Miller Lamborghinis exchanged the class lead in the second half of the race, with reigning Blancpain GT Series champion Bortolitti leading the final 52 laps.
Sanna believes the experience from the manufacturer’s last two attempts in the race were vital to its success on Sunday.
“From the beginning in the last three editions, we learned something,” he said. “We made experience and the maturation is right to achieve this kind of result.
“The drivers did a great job, as did the team and the drivers from the Squadra Corse side.
“It was a strange race with less cautions than usual, and less than we’d expect. So it was very hard for the cars.
“I expected a tough race because usually in GTD, we see a challenging race where the podium is usually defined in the last one or two hours. It was the same also this year.
“The only difference is that we had less cautions. So we had much more speed and mileage on the cars and for the drivers.”
Double Lamborghini Podium
Paul Miller Racing returned to the WeatherTech Championship podium for the first time since Lime Rock Park in July, with Bryan Sellers, Madison Snow, Bryce Miller and Andrea Caldarelli finishing third in class.
It came after a complete drivetrain change following final practice, which saw the team shake down the car at nearby New Smyrna Speedway, a half-mile oval, on Friday evening.
“I’m really happy to have both teams on the podium, especially for Paul Miller because they will be committed for the entire season,” Sanna said.
“We will prepare for Sebring our best and we hope to do well this year in the WeatherTech Championship.
“We have to continue to keep focused, work hard and support our customer teams at our best.”
Sanna confirmed that GRT will forgo the next round of the WeatherTech Championship as the team prepares for its Blancpain GT title defense.