Mitchell impresses on Daytona24H debut 31 | 01 | 2022

    SCOTS ENDURANCE RACER Sandy Mitchell made an impressive debut in America’s Blue Riband 24-hour race, the Rolex 24 at Daytona, setting the early fastest lap in the GTD class and holding the class lead. But the 21-year-old from Forfar’s 24H ended in frustration when the team was forced to retire the car after 15-hours. (Related: Mitchell set for Daytona24H debut)

    Mitchell, the 2020 British GT champion and Lamborghini factory driver, partnered Lamborghini development driver Corey Lewis, and fellow Americans Jeff Westphal and Robert Megennis in the No39 Peregrine Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo, prepared by CarBahn Motorsports for the opening round of the prestigious IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship. (Related: Mitchell commits to 2022 British GT Championship)

    After Lewis had moved the #39 car up from P9 in GTD on the starting grid to P4 in his opening stint, the American pitted to hand the car over to Mitchell.

    The Scot, racing on the the daunting high-speed 3.56-mile Daytona 24 circuit — which includes an infield road section allied to the high-speed banking of the oval — at the famous International Speedway for the first time, was immediately on the pace. (Related: Scot Sandy Mitchell wins 2020 British GT Championship)


    By the end of the third hour, Mitchell had set the fastest lap time in GTD, 1min 45.624sec, and established a healthy lead at the front of the class. (Related: Mitchell storms to Spa24H podium)

    “We had a fantastic start to the race,” Mitchell, personally backed by Huntly-based Black Bull Scotch Whisky, and a member of the British Racing Drivers’ Club’s elite SuperStars programme, explained.


    “Corey had a super first stint, moving us up to P4 when he came in for the driver change. Then I had really strong pace in my first double stint. I managed to set the fastest lap in the GTD class and take the class lead by the end of the third hour. I then started to pull away from the rest of the GTD pack. It was a really fun stint. (Related: Mitchell seals top-three British GT place)

    “We then lost a lot of time under a series of yellow flags, which didn’t help us,” Mitchell continued. “That put us on the back foot again, but we still had good pace and managed to fight our way back through the field.


    “However, there were a few more incidents in the GT class with the cars being so bunched up due to yellow flags, and unfortunately we were unavoidably caught up in one; the innocent victims really. The car suffered a bit of front-end damage forcing Jeff to come into the pits to have the radiator replaced. That put us a number of laps down.


    “After that we were looking to finish the race to ensure we scored some good points in the IMSA Championship, but after another couple of small incidents the damage was getting progressively worse, so we decided to retire the car around 5am. (Related: Mitchell fastest at Donington British GT)

    “It was a shame because everyone had worked so hard. This was the first time the team had run the new Lamborghini in full race trim, and the improvements we made to the car’s pace during the pre-race practice sessions was hugely impressive.


    “The team did a fantastic job. We proved how quick the car is by leading the GTD class at the start of the race and posting the fastest lap before the incidents. I was really happy with that. It just wasn’t our race this time round.”

    Mitchell is next due to race when he reunites with team-mate Adam Balon, in the Barwell Motorsport-prepared Lamborghini Huracan Evo GT3, for the opening round of the British GT Championship at Oulton Park in April.


    Related: Mitchell named Lamborghini factory driver

    Keep up-to-date with all the latest news by following us on Instagram and Twitter

    Jim McGill

User Comments

Login or register to post comments.