Toby Sowery impressed during his 24-hour endurance debut with CrowdStrike Racing by APR when they clinched an outstanding P2 finish at the Rolex Daytona 24 Hours, leading the charge in the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup standings.
During the challenging 24-hour endurance race, Sowery demonstrated exceptional race craft behind the wheel of the #04 ORECA 07-Gibson prototype, contributing to the team’s superb performance alongside fellow drivers George Kurtz, Colin Braun, and Malthe Jakobsen.
In the opening practice session for the 62nd running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Sowery was able to showcase his raw speed and led proceedings in LMP2 posting a 1:39.407 that was 0.122 seconds quicker than United Autosport’s Ben Hanley. A time that was only beaten during the closing stages of the final practice.
As the race got underway Crowdstrike CEO, George Kurtz put in strong opening stints before Toby jumped into the car and made an instant impression on the class-leading United Autosports. Completing his first double stint in LMP2, Toby pushed the team into second position giving co driver Malthe Jakobsen the best chance to take P1 and ensuring CrowdStrike by APR Racing led at the six-hour mark.
Toby was back in the car for the late shift, seeing the team over the midnight mark and bringing the Crowdstrike Racing by APR LMP2 car back up to the front runners and one of only 5 in the category to be on the lead lap. During his final stints which saw the sunrise over the stunning Daytona raceway, his consistently fast and clean laps helped Malthe strike for podium positions once again putting Crowdstrike back into P1. Colin Braun jumped in the car and extended the lead to 10 seconds however the team were caught out during a FCY which meant they lost a position during their next pit stop. Toby joined the team in the garage for the final few hours of an intense battle for P1 with eventual winners ERA Motorsport.
“The Rolex 24 at Daytona is a ‘winner-takes-all’ event so second place is a bittersweet result, especially for CrowdStrike Racing by APR. However, there are a lot of positives to take away because our pace and strategy were good and the car ran faultlessly, which is a testament to the team’s efforts. We just lacked that little bit extra at the end of the race. From my side, this is my first 24-hour race and it’s a different kettle of fish. I’m satisfied with my pace, consistency and racecraft. I jumped in the deep end and managed to swim quite well.”
Stewart Cox – Algarve Pro Racing Team Principal
“We were in a position to win at the 12-hour mark but, on this occasion, Era Motorsport had the legs on us. We had a 15-second window with Colin (Braun) in the car and tried some strategy to improve our situation, but they reacted immediately, so fair play to them. They’re a very good team and they beat us, it’s as simple as that. Ultimately, we thought we had the pace and I don’t believe they would have been able to pass us if we had had track position, which they snatched away and kept because they were on a slightly different fuel strategy that meant they could react to us. We need to understand if anything went wrong but, inevitably, we didn’t quite have the pace required to win.”
Toby now heads to Dubai to return to his Asian Le Mans Series duties with Algarve Pro Racing.