Performance Tech finishes third in class at Rolex 24 at Daytona
Performance Tech's drivers and crew throughout the race overcame a variety of challenges common to endurance racing on and off the track.
Raphael Matos drove the team's No. 38 ORECA-FLM 09 from fourth to third with less than two hours remaining in the 24-hour race. Matos shared the car in the inaugural TUDOR United SportsCar Championship event with Julio Campos, Gabriel Casagrande, Tomy Drissi and David Ostella.
Photo by: Trevor Horn
Performance Tech's drivers and crew throughout the race overcame a variety of challenges common to endurance racing on and off the track - handling problems, overheating caused by a water leak, a headlight failure, chassis vibration, a collision, pit penalty and negotiating slower traffic on track.
Handling problems and a light collision with the tire barrier dropped the No. 38 to eighth in the first third of the twice-around-the-clock endurance classic. But the team continued to fight on track and in the pits, using smooth, consistent laps from its drivers and opportunistic wave-arounds during multiple caution periods to regain lost laps.
Ostella drove the car to sixth place within four hours after the start of the race as nightfall descended upon the 3.56-mile circuit. Casagrande pulled the team to within four laps of the leader on his next stint.
Campos lifted the car just three laps off the lead on his next stint, but that deficit grew to five laps when he was forced to serve a penalty in the pits. But the car's persistent understeer problem vanished shortly before sunrise, with Ostella driving the car to third.
"I had a fantastic time," Ostella said. "I can't complain. Finishing on the podium was definitely the cherry on top for this weekend. Getting woken up to go drive a race car is definitely something I'm not used to, but it was a great challenge.
"I've got to thank Performance Tech for that because they did an awesome job here in Daytona. I didn't get much track time until the night practice before the race but Rafa (Matos) was a great co-driver to learn from. He did a fantastic job keeping the car on track and not making any mistakes."
Daytona2A slow pit stop caused by the car failing to start in the pits after a driver change dropped the No. 38 Performance Tech car to fourth in the early morning hours. But Matos climbed into the car with three hours remaining and used will and skill to put the team on the podium.
"The car was hard during my first stint," Matos said. "It just wasn't reacting the way I wanted. But the entire Performance Tech team never gave up, and the car was very good during my final stint. I'm really happy we finished on the podium here in Daytona. It's such an honor."
Performance Tech will race next at the 62nd Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida on March 15 at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla. It's the second round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
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