Daytona Beach, Fla. (28 January 2014) -Michael Marsal got his 2014 racing season off to a remarkable start as the young racer took podium finishes in both his races at Daytona International Speedway this weekend.
After opening the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge season with a run to third place for Turner Motorsport on Friday, Marsal returned to the track bright and early on Saturday ready to go for his next challenge as he made his debut in the LMPC class with 8Star Motosports in the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Co-driving the open-topped LMPC machine with his Turner Motorsport teammate Tom Kimber-Smith as well as Rob Huff and 8Star Team Principal Enzo Pottolicchio, Marsal looked to bring home a strong result in the first-ever 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship event.
Some 24 hours later as the checkered flag flew on Sunday afternoon, Marsal was on his way to the champagne celebrations as he finished second in the LMPC class in the 2014 Rolex 24 At Daytona.
“It feels good to be on the podium here at Daytona,” said Marsal, who last year scored two Rolex Series GT Class podium finishes. “It’s always bittersweet to come in second at Daytona. That being said, this is an incredibly grueling race. This race car is pretty tattered and torn. It’s had some war marks on it! I think the guys ran a perfect race. The crew was unbelievable. They executed every stop flawlessly and all the drivers stayed out of trouble.”
Marsal, who will also contend for the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup (TPNAEC) with the team this season, was put to work as he logged over six hours of driving time behind the wheel of the No. 25 ORECA FML09 entry through the 24 hour event.
“There were a few setbacks in the middle of the night but nothing to take us out of contention,” said Marsal. “I think everybody really came together and worked hard. It was a tough start. Nobody had any laps in this car before the race weekend. We kind of figured it out during the race. To come together and be in contention for the win in the last two hours, is huge. This is a crazy race and by my experience, this is the craziest it’s ever been, any year that I’ve been here.”
The event proved to be a true test of the LMPC machinery, which had never before been deployed for a full 24 hour race competition. But the car held up well despite the tough battle, and Marsal was enthused about the opening chapter of the new IMSA history.
“I think that the new series has really put their best foot forward. I know that everybody was a little skeptical coming into this. But, really it was some incredible racing! It was a lot of fun. It was busy the whole way and it was challenging. You had to play your cards right with all the traffic. And at the end of the day, this is why we keep coming back for more. It’s finishes like these that make us want to come back here next year and do it again!”
Marsal will be looking forward to another big weekend when he returns to race action at the famed Sebring International Raceway March 12-14. He will once again be looking for a double podium weekend as he is set to race for both Turner Motorsport and 8Star Motorsports.
Photo: Sunday Group Management