On one hand, it’s business as usual when John Potter returns with co-drivers Andy Lally and Spencer Pumpelly (joined by Marco Mapelli) to the No. 44 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 for the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Yet, there’s a key difference for the Salt Lake City businessman: He is no longer in the role of team owner; instead, he is partnering with the Austrian Grasser Racing Team to compete under the “GRT Magnus” banner.
“I’m excited for my partnership with Grasser,” Potter said. “The guys have been great to work with, and we’re excited for the season together with the No. 44 car. It’s a little bit different for me — handing over my role of team owner is a little different, and turning over a lot of my responsibilities to someone else is a big change.
The No. 44 is the same car that Magnus raced in 2019.
“We never put a wheel wrong all of last year; (the car) is in great shape with only one season on it, and we’re looking to make a little more magic with is this year,” Potter added. “Last year’s results were not exactly where we wanted to be. We had consistency, but this year we’d like to have a few more peaks.
It’s the same car and equipment, and a few of the same people although Gottfried Grasser and his GRT operation are now working on the car.
Meanwhile, teammate Lally also finds himself in an unusual position for this year’s Rolex 24: “This is the first time in six years that I’m actually returning to Daytona with the same manufacturer from the previous year. And I believe this is the first time ever that I’m returning to Daytona with the exact same driver lineup,” Lally said.
“There’s a lot that changed, but there’s a lot that’s stayed the same with the transition from Magnus Racing to Magnus GRT. I ended last year potentially without a ride for 2020. But I knew John wanted to do something. I wanted to stay around as long as I was invited to stay part of Magnus and the new combination.”
Lally leads all active drivers with five victories in the Rolex 24 and, with 16 starts in the event, trails only Bill Auberlen (27) and teammate Pumpelly (17) among active drivers. (Ian James and Joao Barbosa also have 16.)
Lally feels the Lamborghini will be in the hunt for his sixth class victory in the event, while expecting another very competitive contest.
“Unfortunately, we’ve seen the grid shrink in GTD but it’s still going to be tight,” Lally explained. “We’ve got 18 extremely competitive cars. It’s the highest-subscribed class for the umpteenth year in a row, as well as one of the most competitive.
“I expect to see a bunch of cars going for the win during the last half-hour of the race.”