Last year saw Lamborghini get its first endurance victory in the United States — and first in a 24-hour race — and 2019 remarkably saw GRT Grasser Racing defend its Rolex24 crown.
This time it only officially took 23 hours and 50 minutes for the No. 11 Huracan GT3 — driven by Rolf Ineichen, Mirko Bortolotti, Christian Engelhart and Rik Breukers — to secure the GTD win, having started from fourth in the 23-car field in the class on Saturday. The opening hour saw the No. 86 Acura setting the pace, but the lead was changing hands between the 11 and the No. 29 Montaplast Audi R8.
The No. 12 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus — driven by Frank Montecalvo, Townsend Bell, Aaron Telitz and Jeff Segal — also had a turn at the front, while the Team Riley Motorsports No. 33 Mercedes-AMG GT3 led a number of laps through the night and was well-placed in the wet.
However, the closing hours became a bit of a lottery, with numerous podium contenders hitting trouble and going off as the rain intensified.
Engelhart took over the wheel of the No. 11 one lap down, with the 12 leading the No. 88 WRT Speedstar Audi and the 33 Mercedes going into what would prove to be the final hour of racing. Amid numerous caution periods, it was the Riley Motorsports car that was at the head of the class battle when Luca Stolz spun, handing Engelhart the lead just a few laps before the race was red-flagged and didn’t resume.
“I managed to overtake the leaders so that when the yellow came out we got a wave-by and rejoined the pack but we were a long way behind,” Engelhart said of his final stint. “At this point I asked what position we were in and I was told on the radio I was P8 or P9.
“After that I never got any more information, I was just pushing and when the red flag I didn’t know I was first. I was told then I was first, I thought we were still fighting and I was giving everything to come to the front — I didn’t expect that we were there already. So it was a bit of a surprise — albeit a positive one, of course!”