GRT Grasser Racing gave Lamborghini its first victory in the Rolex 24 in a closely-contested GTD class race at Daytona.
Mirko Bortolotti was behind the wheel of the No.11 Huracan GT3 for the final stint and held off the close attentions of Jeroen Bleekemolen in the No.33 Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 before Bleekemolen needed a late short stop for fuel and dropped to fourth place. From there, Bortolotti was able to ease home in the final few laps to hand Lamborghini its first endurance victory in the United States.
In the hands of Bortolotti, Rolf Ineichen, Rik Breukers and Franck Perera, the No.11 came through to win from the back of the field, having been relegated to last place after failing a stall test following qualifying on Thursday. With Action Express taking Prototype honors and Chip Ganassi victorious in the GTLM class, GRT – the 2017 Blancpain GT Series champions – were the only European winners at Daytona this year.
An emotional Bortolotti says it took “a massive job” to be able to pull off the victory – Lamborghini’s first in a 24-hour race – having started from last place.
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“If you saw the pictures it’s quite clear, it’s a big day,” Bortolotti said. “A big win. One of those races everybody wants to win. We came from last position to win this race, just super proud and super happy. It has been a massive job by the whole team. Lamborghini, first 24-hour race win for us. I hope there’s some more coming but for now I just want to enjoy this one, I’m super, super happy.
“It’s just such a beautiful atmosphere here in Daytona, and to take the win here from the back of the field is just unreal.”
Ineichen added: “It’s amazing, unbelievable.
“When we had to start at the back we said ‘OK, we can still win, we just have to get in front by taking it place-by-place’ and that’s what we did! The first win for Lamborghini in a 24-hour race, I’m really, really proud of that.”
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