- Endurance rookie posts team’s fastest time
- Washout wreaks havoc in the Sunshine State
Linus Lundqvist encountered all elements in a particularly demanding edition of the Rolex 24 at Daytona in Florida this weekend, but kept his calm in atrocious conditions to complete an all-encompassing endurance racing debut.
Receiving his prize to contest America’s premier sportscar event after winning the Sunoco Whelen Challenge in 2018, Lundqvist teamed up with US-based Precision Performance Motorsports (PPM) for his first-ever taste of endurance competition, driving the team’s #47 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo alongside regulars Steve Dunn, Don Yount and Milos Pavlovic in the GTD class.
Despite his lack of experience, Lundqvist quickly filed a letter of intent by recording the crew’s outright fastest lap of the meeting during a strong stint in the early stages of the twice-around-the-clock race.
The same stint also allowed reigning British F3 champion Lundqvist – accustomed to sprint races of a maximum 20 minutes – to complete comfortably the longest run of his career, spending nearly two hours behind the wheel at speeds of 280 km/h.
“I’m happy with my performance here in Daytona this week, and it’s been a very interesting experience,” says Linus Lundqvist. “It was all so new to me, but I’m pleased with how I handled it and I think the guys on the team are happy too. I was curious to find out how I’d cope with the longer double stints, but I managed to set some consistent, strong lap times throughout and that’s exactly what we were looking for.”
Lundqvist later returned for a second outing in the car on Sunday morning, but with heavy rain striking the Daytona International Speedway, the Swede was restricted mainly to slow-speed running behind the safety car.
The poor conditions eventually led to the race being red-flagged twice – a first in the event’s esteemed 57-year history.
“Driving in the rain out there was extremely difficult,” Linus Lundqvist continues. “We were just aquaplaning everywhere, even behind the safety car, and I had some very close calls myself. I’m just glad I kept the car in one piece – we had a couple of dangerous moments out there. It’s probably the most challenging conditions I’ve ever driven in.”
In terms of outright result, the PPM crew dropped out of contention at around midnight after Pavlovic fell victim to contact with a Ferrari, necessitating a lengthy three-hour delay in the garage for a change of clutch.
The team eventually came home 41st overall and 20th in class. A total of 47 cars made the start.
“We didn’t get the result we wanted, but all in all I’m really happy to have been given this opportunity by PPM and Sunoco,” Linus Lundqvist concludes. “It was such a versatile experience; I drove at night, during the day, in the dry, in the wet. There were Full Course Yellow situations, driver changes, traffic, fuel management… I’ve learned so much and I’ve certainly enjoyed it. I’d love to do more of this in the future and I appreciate this chance a lot.”
Outright victory in the 2019 Rolex 24 at Daytona went to the Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi of Renger van der Zande, Kamui Kobayashi, Jordan Taylor and Fernando Alonso.
LINUS LUNDQVIST AT DAYTONA – MORE CONTENT