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CrowdStrike Racing by APR: Rolex 24 18-Hour Update

CrowdStrike Racing by APR is well and truly in contention for the LMP2 victory in the 62nd Rolex 24 at Daytona (27-28 January), as the #04 quartet of George Kurtz, Colin Braun, Toby Sowery and Malthe Jakobsen head the class after 18 hours of racing.


At 13:40 Eastern Time on Saturday (27 January) afternoon, Kurtz took the #04 ORECA 07-Gibson away from third on the Rolex 24 grid and into a fast, frantic LMP2 battle that featured several changes in the running order.

The fight was neutralised by a first-hour Full Course Yellow (FCY) and CrowdStrike Racing by APR led after the first slew of pit stops, Kurtz keeping the #04 well inside the top five for the duration of a solid two-hour stint in stifling heat.

Efforts during the cool of ‘The Roar’ to tune the #04 machine to the high ambient and track temperatures forecasted for the race paid dividends, as the car inspired confidence and tyre degradation was relatively low.

As a result, Sowery made an instant impression on the class-leading #2 United Autosports USA entry upon stepping into the breach, the British racer completing his first ever double LMP2 stint in second position.

The baton was then passed to Jakobsen, who was locked in an epic dogfight for P1 with the #2 and ensured that CrowdStrike Racing by APR scored a maximum five IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup points for leading at the six-hour juncture.

After a brief appearance by four-time Daytona victor Braun, CrowdStrike’s Kurtz was reinstalled for a taxing triple night stint, and Sowery’s second IMSA race run then took the team beyond the stroke of midnight.

The #04 crew slipped off the lead lap during the hours of darkness, but Sowery and Jakobsen made steady progress back towards the LMP2 frontrunners, and Safety Car pass-arounds gave the latter an opportunity to strike for the podium places.

The newly-appointed Team Peugeot TotalEnergies Reserve Driver used the grip afforded by fresh Michelins to carve his way by the #52 Inter Europol by PR1 Mathiasen Motorsport and #74 Riley of ex-Formula 1 driver Felipe Massa, and conclude a charging drive in P2.

Kurtz then completed his minimum drive-time in a fleeting appearance, before fellow American Braun embarked on a triple stint, which was partially compromised by nose damage sustained in light contact that occurred at an FCY restart.

The impact on Braun’s pace and track position was negligible and, although he dropped as low as sixth, he picked off the #2 United Autosports car for fifth during the latter stages of his run.

Thereafter, CrowdStrike Racing’s Sowery cycled back up to second position and chased the class-leading #18 Era Motorsport hard while facing an ever-growing threat from the #2 and #52 machines on the approach to daybreak.

However, a driver-change followed and Jakobsen duly engaged the #18 entry in an enthralling, physical and robust tussle that featured multiple passing attempts on the Tri-Oval but was ultimately won on pit road, and the #04 crew banked another five Michelin Endurance Cup points by dint of leading at the 18-hour mark.

Toby Sowery (#04 CrowdStrike Racing by APR ORECA 07-Gibson LMP2): “It was nice to get my first ever double LMP2 stint under my belt and to follow that with another two during the night. While there are a few things here and there, I’m feeling positive and think we’re in a very good position. The #04 CrowdStrike Racing by APR ORECA 07-Gibson felt really nice; tyre degradation is good, we’re all feeling very comfortable in the car, we’re not having to take risks or push too hard, so I’m feeling positive about our chances. I believe we will be as strong at the end as we were at the start.”

Malthe Jakobsen (#04 CrowdStrike Racing by APR ORECA 07-Gibson LMP2): “My first stint was on George’s (Kurtz) Qualifying tyres and, while I wouldn’t say I struggled, but degradation was a little higher than normal and I wasn’t able to maximise my run. I was given new rubber for my second stint, which was super fun; a pass-around during a Safety Car put us back on the lead lap and on terms with the top contenders in LMP2. I fought my way through into the podium places before boxing, and we’re in good shape.”

Colin Braun (#04 CrowdStrike Racing by APR ORECA 07-Gibson LMP2): “We’re doing well right now and the CrowdStrike Racing by APR ORECA 07-Gibson is performing strongly. The Rolex 24 is one of those races where you have so many things to check off the list, such as minimum drive-times, thinking about your rotation and backtiming to the end of the race and the junctures where IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup points are up for grabs, and we have got a lot of those things done.

“I first jumped in the car for a short stint early in the race, and my triple night stint was a bit up and down. Unfortunately, I made contact with the rear-end of another car when everybody checked up at a Full Course Yellow restart. It damaged our nose section and that compromised my stint a bit, but we recovered well and the way our tyre strategy worked out meant we were able to change the nose and get going again without any significant loss. George (Kurtz), Toby (Sowery) and Malthe (Jakobsen) have all been doing a great job, the team is executing well in the pit stops and we’re just checking the hours off at this stage.”

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