The start of the great event took place on Saturday, January 28 at Daytona International Speedway, where the CrowdStrike Racing team attended along with Esteban Gutiérrez and his teammates to compete in the LMP2 category.
First to take command of the #04 car was George Kurtz, who started from fifth position to eventually trade with teammate Matt McMurry. Over the course of the first eight hours, both were in charge of keeping the car in the top five. Then followed Ben Hanley and later Esteban Gutiérrez, whose turn came after midnight.
By then, the car was already in the top-3 and after handing over the car to McMurry to complete his final turn, the Mexican returned to the track to stay there until the last moments of the competition. Along with Hanley, they made clear how competitive they were during the race, which they managed to lead on different occasions throughout the early morning and Sunday morning.
With 30 minutes left to cross the checkered flag, Hanley took command of the car to position himself in first place. Despite his multiple defensive maneuvers, the last few laps were not easy at all and the competitors remained on the hunt.
Incredibly, when everything finally seemed on track for CrowdStrike, James Allen showed up in his #55 Proton Competition to snatch victory from his rivals right at the finish line. The difference was only 16 thousandths, which probably left the second place team with a bittersweet taste.
However, the demonstration of the CrowdStrike men will go down in history, after a combination of strategy, great work in the pits and magnificent driving by Esteban Gutiérrez and his colleagues who set the pace throughout the entire race.
These were the statements of the Mexican at the end of the competition:
“We did everything we could in the race, we gave our best, we were fighting from the beginning until the last laps and until the last meters. In the end, as a team we win and lose together, we are in this together and we should be very proud of the result”.
“Of course we would have loved to win, but second place has to be taken positively and come back again to achieve victory. I enjoyed every moment of my first 24 hours here. You live a lot of emotions in the last minutes, I think the last twenty minutes were the longest of my life”..
“It was a great competition. I want to thank my family for their support, the team and George Kurtz for inviting me, and of course all the Mexicans who were there for all these hours”.