Mikaël Grenier: A second position with the flavor of victory at Daytona

Monday February 1, 2021 by Eliane Gilain

Quebec driver Mikaël Grenier distinguished himself during the 24 Hours of Daytona which was held at the end of last week (see all our articles on this subject the last few days on poleposition.ca), finishing second in the GTD class with his teammates from the Sun Energy 1 Racing.

Grenier, from Stoneham, was back with this team and his Mercedes AMG GT3 No.75, for this hotly contested and spectacular 2021 opening round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series. Kenny Habul, owner of the team, was the only bronze rider in a team which also included professionals such as Luca Stolz, Raffaele Marciello and Grenier of course.

Kenny Habul, who took the start, started from 10th position in the GTDs for this edition of the 24 Hours of Daytona. The starting position had been determined in the 100-minute qualifying race at Roar the previous weekend. 24 hours later, the Mercedes No.75 crossed the finish line second in its class after an almost perfect race, behind another AMG GT3, that of Winward Racing, which was making its first appearance in the event. “We are very happy, we ran the race as we wanted” confided Mikaël Grenier. “We had no penalties, no mistakes and Kenny had a perfect race; he did not lose a lap in any of his stints, ”he adds.

Mikaël continues by indicating that it is still a 2nd position … bitter! “We are definitely happy with the result, but finishing so close to victory is always a little frustrating. However, we didn’t have the speed to compete with the other Mercedes. During the race, we had a few contacts which compromised the downforce and which hampered us in a straight line. In Daytona, it hurts when you lose a little top speed! Plus, the other car had better adjustments, and no bronze driver in their crew. Having said that, I am proud of Kenny, and he can be proud of himself, he has driven very well, ”explains Grenier.

He explains the details of his race: “I did four stints during the event, so I rode a little over 6 hours. I drove at the start of the night and then in the morning. It’s not very difficult to drive at night in Daytona because the track is very well lit, so concentration is not a challenge like at Spa-Francorchamps for example, where it is dark almost everywhere on the track. I’m also happy that it didn’t rain during the race! « .

Last December, Grenier learned that he would not be returning to Europe for the Emil Frey team, which had entered him for a few seasons and with whom he had participated in the GT World Challenge Europe last year, on a Lamborghini Huracan. GT3. However, it seems certain that the Sun Energy 1 team will engage in other IMSA races and offer them to be part of the adventure. “We are definitely going to do several races together, but I do not yet know the calendar,” said Mikaël. “Endurance events (Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans) are in the sights, but this is not confirmed. However, all the races that the team will do, I will be involved with them, ”he emphasizes.

A very experienced driver in GT3 cars, Mikaël Grenier obviously welcomes the replacement of the GTLM class by the GTD PRO next year, in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar series. He tells us that, “it’s a very good idea! It’s going to look like what’s going on in Europe: Pro and Pro-Am classes. Even the DTM is delivered with GT3s because this class has a good philosophy. They are beautiful cars, with several manufacturers who can get involved and more reasonable budgets than in GTLM or in the DTM regulations of the past ”.

One thing is certain, Mikaël and his team did not go unnoticed at Daytona last weekend. Indeed, in addition to driving a chrome blue car adorned with a design of flames, the team members had a coat that recalled the colors of the car. The highlight of the show, however, was the dyed blue hair of the four pilots (pictured below, on the podium). We have affectionately nicknamed them the Smurfs of Daytona!

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