Connect with us

WeatherTech Championship

Vanthoor “Cried Like a Baby” After Missing Out on Pro Win

Vanthoor describes dramatic end to Porsche-on-Porsche battle for GTD Pro honors…

Photo: Brett Farmer/IMSA

Laurens Vanthoor said that he “cried like a baby” on his in-lap after missing out on the Rolex 24 at Daytona GTD Pro class victory in dramatic fashion against fellow Porsche factory driver Mathieu Jaminet.

Vanthoor and Jaminet went head-to-head in the closing stages of the race for KCMG and Pfaff Motorsports respectively, with the latter ultimately coming out on top.

An overtake with five minutes to go from Vanthoor on Jaminet, who led out of the final caution period, prompted the Pfaff driver to respond with a passing move of his own.

Vanthoor then made a last-ditch attempt at retaking the lead into the newly-renamed Le Mans chicane on the final lap, but the pair made side-on contact and the KCMG Porsche 911 GT3 R rotated after veering onto the grass.

Jaminet emerged from the incident in the lead and rounded the final piece of Daytona oval baking to take the checkered flag.

“For me, this is the only 24-hour race which I haven’t won yet, so it was a very big thing that I wanted to achieve,” Vanthoor told Sportscar365.

“For the team it was a one-off, so for us it was clear that it was win or bust.

“I tried everything that I could, but unfortunately it was not enough. I will probably run the race in my mind 200 times. And not going to lie, I cried like a baby on the in-lap.

“But it is what it is: it’s motor racing.”

All of Vanthoor’s passing attempts came in the 3.56-mile Daytona sports car course’s infield section, but after exiting that part of the track for the final time he was faced with either trying to overtake Jaminet on the fast bankings and straights or the chicane.

Vanthoor’s belief in the KCMG Porsche’s braking and turning strengths led to his decision to mount a challenge into the set of corners formerly known as the Bus Stop.

“I couldn’t get by on top speed,” he said. “We were better on the infield and they were better on a straight line. I tried everywhere.

“I like Mathieu: I went up to him and said congrats. We have a lot of respect for each other and we are obviously colleagues.

“I drove like I wanted to win this race, and he drove like he wanted to win this race, and I have absolutely no issue with that.

“We raced very, very, very hard and literally drove each other off the track. We both did it in the same way and they came out on top. I have absolutely no hard feelings against them.”

Jaminet described the conclusion as “stressful” but was anticipating an elbows-out finale after the Porsches ran less than five seconds apart for the last three hours.

“He hit us quite some times, so I knew it would be a hard fight until the end that would come until the last lap,” he said.

“When he passed me, I knew I would have another chance, but it was going to be one and not more. I just went for it, like he did for me.

“I think that was a great battle and good fun, but for sure very stressful.

“In the end it was a great achievement for Matt and myself, and for the young guys to show that we can be up there and get the job done.”

An interesting coincidence for Vanthoor was that he fought for the win against the team with which he sealed last year’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD class title.

Pfaff is contesting a full season in IMSA’s GTD Pro category this year with Jaminet and Campbell, while Vanthoor has the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Nürburgring 24 booked.

“I wrote to them beforehand and said, may the best one win, and ‘sorry in advance’ because I kind of felt that it was going to turn out this way,” he said. “They took it today.”

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

Click to comment

More in WeatherTech Championship