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Daytona delight and disappointment for endurance aces Adam and Mitchell in Rolex 24 Hours

Jonny Adam, left in group picture, and Sandy Mitchell experienced highs and lows in the Daytona 24 Hours.
Jonny Adam, left in group picture, and Sandy Mitchell experienced highs and lows in the Daytona 24 Hours.

Courier country stars experienced the highs and lows of endurance racing in one of the great events across the pond.

And despite contrasting fortunes, Fifer Jonny Adam and Forfar’s Sandy Mitchell each brought plenty of positives home from the legendary Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.

Aston Martin factory racer Adam made history with the legendary British marque.

Jonny Adam (left) enjoys the Daytona 24 celebration. Pic: Aston Martin Racing.
Jonny Adam, left, enjoys the Daytona 24 celebration. Pic: Aston Martin Racing.

The Magnus Racing team Vantage GT3 was pipped for the win, but their second place was the first time Aston Martin has been on the podium in 60 years of the famous event.

Adam, a two-time winner of the Le Mans 24 Hours, was proud to be part of the milestone.

“It was an incredible race all the way to the end,” the Kirkcaldy 37-year-old said.

“And I’m so proud to achieve the result with the team on their debut with Aston Martin Racing.

Aston Martin
Magnus Racing’s Aston Martin Vantage GT3. Supplied by Aston Martin Racing.

He said teammates Andy Lally, Spencer Pumpelly and John Potter delivered “mega drives” throughout the gruelling event.

“It was a thoroughly deserved result after the huge effort every member of the team, put in to get us to the finish line,” said Adam.

What might have been for Mitchell

But the same level of determination and commitment didn’t bring the reward Adam’s GTD category rival Mitchell had hoped for.

It was an impressive Daytona debut for the Angus 21-year-old who led the class and posted the fastest lap of the opening hours.

Sandy Mitchell
Sandy Mitchell at Daytona. Supplied by McMedia.

But his race ended in frustration when the No39 Peregrine Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo, prepared by CarBahn Motorsports, was retired after 15 hours.

Mitchell was right on the pace at the daunting high-speed 3.56-mile Daytona circuit at the famous International Speedway.

From 9th on the grid and fourth at the first driver change when he took over from Corey Lewis, by the end of the third hour he had set the fastest GTD lap time and established a healthy lead at the front of the class.

“We had a fantastic start to the race,” said the two-time Spa 24 Hours winner.

Lamborghini Huracan
The Peregrine Racing Lamborghini Huracan in Daytona action. Supplied by McMedia.

“However, there were a few more incidents in the GT class and unfortunately we were unavoidably caught up in one; the innocent victims, really.”

Painful decision

It bumped them down the field, leaving the outfit clinging to the hope of a points-scoring finish.

But the decision was eventually taken to retire the car at 5am after 15 hours of racing.

“It was a shame because everyone had worked so hard,” said the Lamborghini factory driver.

“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.

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