24H Daytona - AWA Team cruises to victory in LMP3
The No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 turned the Le Mans Prototype (LMP3) class race into a 24-hour romp as drivers Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill dominated at Daytona.
“It was a relief (to see the checkered flag),” Boyd said. “All the boys were laughing at me because every two minutes on the radio I was asking how long was left.”
Most other cars in the class faced mechanical or other issues during the race. The margin of victory for the No. 17 AWA Duqueine over the second-place No. 33 Sean Creech Motorsport Ligier JS P320 was a whopping 12 laps.
“My teammates built that lead,” Mantella said. “My job was to keep the car clean and stay out of trouble.”
The No. 17 car went to the lead for the first time on Lap 315, pushing past the No. 33 Sean Creech Ligier JS P320. Those two cars had a pitched battle until Lap 634 when the No. 33 went behind the wall for lengthy repairs to fix a shifting issue.
“I was actually more nervous (with the large lead) than fighting with the other car,” Varrone said. “It was more nervous than when we were fighting another car because, if you lose, that’s OK. But if you lose with such a massive lead, it would hurt more.”
It was the first IMSA victory for Mantella, Boyd and Varrone. Merrill now has two career IMSA wins.
When the Creech entry had mechanical problems, no other LMP3 car was able to give chase. Creech climbed back up the leaderboard to score the second-place finish.
“As always, a hard-fought (Rolex 24),” Creech said in a post-race tweet. “Once again, we brought it home P2. Proud of a super effort by the entire team to keep us on track in a race of survival.”
Sean Creech Motorsport, which will run the entire series, didn’t go home empty handed, leaving Daytona with the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup points lead.
Rounding out the podium was the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Ligier with drivers John DeAngelis, Christopher Allen, Connor Bloum and Cameron Shields.
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