Daytona, Lamborghini celebrates 3rd victory
Lamborghini kicked off the 2020 season by making yet more history at the 24 Hours of Daytona. Winning the GTD class with the Paul Miller Racing partnership of Andrea Caldarelli, Corey Lewis, Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow, this is the third consecutive year Lamborghini has taken victory at Daytona.
The Paul Miller Racing’s Huracán GT3 Evo finished 21.908 seconds ahead of another Lamborghini, the Magnus Racing by GRT’s Andy Lally, Marco Mapelli, John Potter and Spencer Pumpelly, to secure an historic one-two.
Stefano Domenicali, CEO and Chairman of Automobili Lamborghini stated: “In 2019 we wrote an important page of motorsport history, winning a legendary race for the second time, fighting with the most prestigious car makers. This triumph in 2020 demonstrates how Lamborghini is always looking ahead and constantly working to always achieve higher and more important targets. My congratulations to both teams and all the drivers, they have done an amazing job.”
Snow started the #48 car and moved up one position to run seventh in the opening stint, as the field settled into a rhythm early on. Behind, Brandon Gdovic (Precision Performance Motorsport) also made progress from his 11th place on the grid, moving up to ninth, while Christina Nielsen gained one place from her 14th place in the GEAR Racing by GRT Huracán.
After a positive double stint inside the opening two hours of the race, Stejin Schothorst handed over the commands of the #11 to Franck Perera, having run as high a second during the pit-stop sequence. But Perera ran into trouble halfway into the fifth hour as its Lambo suddenly slowed with a fuel problem. Unfortunately, it was not a quick fix and the Grasser car was effectively out of contention for the class win.
Not long after Perera ran into trouble, Eric Lux was collected on the Tri-Oval by the Aston Martin of Alex Riberas. Both suffered damage to their cars, with the Aston Martin receiving a penalty as a result. Lux brought its car back to the pit-box, but the incident brought out the first Full Course Yellow of the race.
As night fell, the #44 and #48 found themselves in the class lead after the pole-sitting #9 Porsche lost time after the caution period. Caldarelli now at the wheel of the #48 began to close in on Pumpelly in the #44, putting the young American under pressure. The pair went side-by-side for the lead, with Caldarelli eventually coming out on top in that battle with just over 16 hours of the race remaining.
Nielsen was forced to retire the #19 Huracán in the morning as mechanical issues caused the Dane to stop. This brought out the fifth FCY, while the #47 of Lux also ground to a halt with a problem inside the same hour.
Pit strategy dominated the final hours of the race, with the #88 Audi short-filling while the two Lamborghinis carried out a full refuel for the #44 and #48. Mapelli held the lead heading into the final two hours, but Caldarelli was the quicker of the two in second. The pair fought nose-to-tail in spectacular fashion, with the latter grabbing the lead before the final round of stops.
Once the last pit-stops had been completed, Caldarelli emerged with an extended lead over Mapelli (more than 20 seconds) which he maintained until the chequered flag.