CrowdStrike Racing by APR is looking to kick off its 2024 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship title bid on the top step of the Rolex 24 at Daytona (24-28 January) podium with George Kurtz, Colin Braun, Malthe Jakobsen and Toby Sowery.
The Algarve Pro-CrowdStrike Racing partnership has been hugely successful from the very beginning, as IMSA victories, podiums and pole positions led to Michelin Endurance Cup glory and the Jim Trueman Bronze Cup, as well as a landmark LMP2 Pro-Am victory in the Centenary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
However, the 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona was the one that got away, as CrowdStrike Racing by APR led much of the twice-around-the-clock enduro but was pipped at the line by a mere 0.016s – the smallest winning margin in the race’s history.
As a result, there’s some unfinished business for the team, and the events of 2023 only increase Kurtz’s determination to scale the top step of the Daytona rostrum at the second time of asking for CrowdStrike Racing, and he said: “My overriding feeling is excitement about CrowdStrike Racing by APR and its driver line-up, particularly as Colin (Braun) has a winning pedigree at Daytona. Malthe (Jakobsen) is incredibly quick, Toby (Sowery) is a rising star for us and, having put in a lot of work during the off-season, we have an eye towards winning the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
“We have some unfinished business after the highs and low of 2023. The Rolex 24 is the only North American endurance race I’m yet to win, having already had successes at Sebring, Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans. Victory in 2024 would be a significant result for me personally, while also setting us on the road to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship titles.”
Braun has four Rolex 24 wins to his name, including one in LMP2, and hopes of delivering a fifth in his 20th consecutive Daytona 24 Hours are high, especially as he, Kurtz and Jakobsen proved a potent combination with CrowdStrike Racing by APR machinery in their recent Asian Le Mans Series appearance at Sepang.
“I’m very excited about the CrowdStrike Racing by APR line-up for the 2024 Rolex 24 at Daytona,” said Braun. “Malthe (Jakobsen) and Toby (Sowery) will be great additions. It was very nice to drive together in the Asian Le Mans Series, to all gel and understand our individual driving styles. The experience of the team and this driver line-up is very strong and we are fully focused on executing. This will be my 20th consecutive Daytona 24 Hours so I’m very excited!”
Jakobsen, the 2022 European Le Mans Series (ELMS) LMP3 Champion and Junior Driver for Team Peugeot TotalEnergies in the FIA World Endurance Championship, achieved overall wins in the Asian Le Mans Series and LMP2 Pro-Am trophies in the ELMS and at the Centenary edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2023.
The 20-year-old added to his tally on his debut with CrowdStrike Racing by APR in the 2023-24 Asian Le Mans curtain-raiser in Malaysia, and the ambition is to build on that success and take the team to victory lane at Daytona.
“It isn’t my first time doing the Rolex 24 at Daytona, so I know how special and challenging it is,” said Jakobsen. “It’s an historic event that every driver wants to win, and it’s cool that the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship starts with the biggest race of the season. Of course, my partnership with CrowdStrike Racing by APR began with the opening round of the 2023-24 Asian Le Mans Series at Sepang earlier in December, and we showed we have a strong car and driver line-up. It was good preparation with both positives and negatives that we will learn from moving forwards. As always, we will arrive at Daytona with the sole aim of winning.”
Sowery’s association with Algarve Pro will extend to IMSA following a maiden race appearance with the Portugal-flagged team in the 2023-24 Asian Le Mans Series at Sepang.
The 26-year-old from Cambridgeshire in the UK has turned to endurance sportscar racing after his ascent up the junior single-seater ladder took him onto the ‘Road to Indy’ in the USA.
Third at the conclusion of his rookie year in the category formerly known as Indy Lights, partial INDY NXT programmes included some attention-grabbing results and preceded a coveted IndyCar Series test at Sebring International Raceway earlier this year.
Sowery’s knowledge and experience of the American racing scene will no doubt stand him in good stead as he attempts to establish a strong footing in Le Mans Prototypes in the 2024 edition of the Rolex 24 at Daytona with the winning CrowdStrike Racing team.
“I’m very excited to be joining CrowdStrike Racing by APR’s driver line-up for the 2024 Rolex 24 at Daytona,” said Sowery. “I know Algarve Pro Racing puts very strong cars on the track and, having seen George (Kurtz), Colin (Braun) and Malthe (Jakobsen) race in the opening round of the 2023-24 Asian Le Mans Series at Sepang, I know I have some very fast teammates. They’re all great people as well as complete racing drivers. I’d like to thank APR and George for trusting me with this opportunity.”