24H Daytona – James Allen (Proton) : ''I didn't really think we were in with much of a shot''

30 Jan. 2023 • 15:00
The LMP2 class was contested from start to finish at the 24 Hours of Daytona. Against all odds, Proton Competition won thanks to James Allen who was on fire.
Photo : LAT

For Proton Competition, the 2023 24 Hours of Daytona was a huge challenge. Christian Ried's team made its LMP2 debut with an Oreca 07 for Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Poordad, James Allen and Francesco Pizzi. The start of the meeting did not go in Proton Competition's favour, with two crashes. The team even had to ask IMSA for permission to work later in the night to repair the car on Thursday night. The bodywork had to be redone and the gearbox changed.



The race was a different story for the #55 crew, who found themselves in contention for a podium finish in the final hours, if not victory. James Allen, driving the LMP2 car in the final stages of the race, fought hard to catch up with the competition led by Crowdstrike Racing by APR, AF Corse and TDS Racing. The Australian did not let up and took the lead of the class with a few metres to go, topping Crowdstrike Racing by APR by 16 thousandths.


''Yeah, I mean, honestly, I didn't really think we were in with much of a shot, James Allen said. I was behind the AF Corse car for quite a while, and I could see the Crowdstrike car was building a gap more and more and more and so by the time I did get past the AF Corse car, there was quite a distance. Honestly, was not at all thinking am I going to catch this guy up.''


''But slowly but surely the gap sort of kept coming down and I could see even from like the penultimate lap I was getting a good run going to the start-finish line. I actually got in front before the start-finish line, so I thought, no point in trying to force an issue or take any crazy risk. I've got the straight-line speed. I can do it still.''


Everything changed in the last lap with a great James Allen. A final worthy of a thriller...''I did come out of the Bus Stop thinking, have I done this properly? Do I have enough time? Have I got an exit good enough? And luckily I did, and just got him right below the line. I don't think I was breathing coming out of speedway 4 up to the start line. It was such a crazy moment for me. I don't think I've ever had anything like that, and I'm probably not sure I will ever again. It was really such an amazing feeling.''


First race in LMP2 and first victory, what more could you want?


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