Iron Lynx faced a gruelling test to begin its 2024 racing campaign with one of the classic endurance races – the Daytona 24 Hours – but showed promising pace with its Lamborghini Hurácan GT3 Evo 2 trio at moments throughout.
Qualifying for the 62nd running of the famous race, contested on Daytona International Speedway’s road course, was contested during the Roar Before the 24 event on Sunday 21 January.
There, the #19 was the highest-placed Iron Lynx entry with Franck Perera qualifying in fourth place. Romain Grosjean put the #60 entry in eighth, while the #83 Iron Dames Hurácan GT3 Evo 2 was 13th with Michelle Gatting in a saturated field of GTD cars.
The #19 began the race well, with Andrea Caldarelli putting in a great performance early on to take the lead of the GTD cars before a pair of penalties for pitstop infractions dropped the car far down the order. Undeterred, great times by Jordan Pepper and Franck brought the car right back into contention back towards the top as the night stint began.
Between the four drivers, completed by Mirko Bortolotti, the #19 ticked by the hours and kept in among the top cars through into the night, highlighting the strengths of the Hurácan GT3 Evo 2. However, with around 10 hours remaining, the car had to return to the garage with a punctured radiator.
That dropped the car out of contention for a top result, but the crew pushed on through into the morning, showing lap times similar to those of the leaders. As a few other cars fell out of the race, this elevated the car into the top 10 where it remained for the rest of the endurance.
As cars dropped out, and plenty did by modern endurance racing standards with over a quarter of the 59 overall starters failing to finish, this allowed the #19 to quietly elevate itself up the order to a solid seventh-place finish at the chequered flag.
The #60 car had a very challenging race which ended early. An issue with the car from the start hampered the pace of the car throughout. Matteo Cressoni was the starting driver and he navigated his way through the opening part of the race before handing over to Claudio Schiavoni for his first stint.
Through Romain’s opening stint, the car had dropped a lap down but through great team strategy and determination from the former Formula One driver, the crew had worked back onto the lead lap.
All four drivers had valiantly pushed on through the issue and were able to be in the mix for a top 10 place in the opening quarter of the race, but at the six-hour mark it dropped out of contention as it went into the garage for a short while due to a power steering problem.
The team carried on through the night but in the early hours of the morning a gearbox issue arose while Matteo Cairoli was behind the wheel and the team had to retire the car.
In the Iron Dames’ #83, the crew spent much of the early part of the race hovering in the mix for the top 10 where the battles were among their most intense. Sarah Bovy’s brilliant stint of three hours in the first quarter set up the crew for a strong run in the night. Between herself, Michelle, Doriane Pin and Rahel Frey, the pink Huracán was able to be firmly in the mix through the night.
As the hours passed, the #83 had gradually worked its way firmly into the top 10. While the two leading cars were out of contention, by going off strategy at around the halfway point of the 24, the Dames were mixing in between third and seventh as the sun rose with some great times coming from the drivers and the car through the night in particular.
A lot of the latter part of the race was spent battling with the #120 Wright Motorsports car over eighth, with passes being made both on the track and through the pitstops. The latter part of the race featured the Dames improving their result after issues for a couple of cars ahead in the final hour. They worked back onto the lead lap and ended up finishing in sixth place – a landmark result for women racing at the famous endurance event.
IMSA Sportscar Championship results:
#19 Iron Lynx – P7
#60 Iron Lynx – DNF
#83 Iron Dames – P6
Andrea Piccini, Iron Lynx Team Principal and CEO, said: “It has been a very challenging race here at Daytona. We showed good pace and strategy right from the beginning in both the GTD Pro and the GTD Class. In GTD Pro, car #19 took the lead several times and car #60 fought back closing more and more towards the front until debris forced car #19 behind the wall to replace a broken radiator and a gearbox failure forced us to retire car #60. What happened to car #19 was really unfortunate and unavoidable.
In GTD the Iron Dames drove a very consistent race, improving their pace continuously and coming back onto the lead lap in the last hour to grab a sixth place in class and a top 10 across all the GTD cars.
I would like to thank the team for the tremendous work, which started at the beginning of December for the preparation of this big race. We have done well, we made some very small mistakes and we would have deserved more… It will come, we will keep pushing and learn from each race.”