Sebastian Priaulx has kicked off his 2020 motorsport season with an impressive display during the opening round of the Michelin Pilot Challenge at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida (22-24 January).
Fresh from signing a new multi-year deal with Multimatic Motorsports, Priaulx got the opportunity to compete at one of the most iconic circuits in the United States on the support bill for the prestigious Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona race.
The Guernseyman was in familiar machinery as he shared a Ford Mustang GT4 with NASCAR Xfinity Series regular Austin Cindric, rekindling a partnership that took a sensational race victory during Priaulx’s Michelin Pilot Challenge debut at Road Atlanta back in October.
After receiving his first opportunity to get acquainted with the 3.56 mile Daytona combined road course during an official test three weeks prior to the meeting, Priaulx got further running during a number of free practice sessions in the lead up to race day.
While it was clear that the Daytona circuit was not the most favourable one for their car, Priaulx continued to star as he set the quickest lap time by a Mustang in qualifying to secure eighth on the grid for the four-hour race on Friday afternoon.
Taking the reigns for the opening half of the race, Priaulx put in a great stint. Battling well in the busy opening laps, the Ravenscroft and Plus Interiors supported driver settled immediately into the top ten and ran as high as fifth following the first pitstop cycle.
Staying in the top ten battle through his stint, he handed the car over to Cindric with a little under two hours remaining. Unfortunately for Priaulx, Cindric and the Multimatic Motorsports team, a technical problem for the Mustang soon after ended their race.
Sebastian Priaulx: “It was a fantastic experience to race at an iconic venue like Daytona for the first time and while it was ultimately a shame that we couldn’t come away with a strong race result to cap off the week, there are still plenty of positives to come away with.
“We gave it everything we had and I’m pleased I could come away with the fastest lap by a Mustang in qualifying. The car was feeling good throughout my stint and I enjoyed some good battles on track before handing over to Austin [Cindric].
“This was a great way to start 2020 and thank you to Multimatic for the opportunity. I’ve learnt a lot from the experience, which all helps in my development as a driver, and I’m excited for the next challenge that awaits me this season.”
Image from Ford Performance.