Shared driving experience a key attraction of Rolex 24 for Grosjean

Romain Grosjean is no stranger to sports car racing. Before he made it to Formula 1, he did a season in the FIA GT1 World Championship, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2010. But for the Swiss-born French racer now making his home in Miami, it was a virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans that rekindled his passion for the integral teamwork of endurance racing. And he might have been in the Rolex 24 At Daytona sooner had circumstances allowed.

“It’s definitely something that I wanted to get back into,” he explains. “Especially after COVID, I did the 24 Hours of Le Mans virtual back home. I just enjoyed so much sharing with the other drivers that I really wanted to do something. In 2021 I realized that the racing in the U.S. was amazing, that I was really loving it. I wanted to do Daytona in 2022, but I’d just moved continents, so it was a bit complicated.”

Grosjean had nine full seasons in F1, first with Lotus and then Haas. He moved over to the NTT IndyCar Series with Dale Coyne in 2021 before switching to Andretti Autosport, for which he’ll race this season as well. Knowing he wanted to finish his career in sports cars — although he has no intention of quitting IndyCar any time soon — he began looking for a connection in prototypes. Lamborghini, although it will not have an LMDh car until 2024, was the perfect opportunity, and his first outing with the Italian marque will be the Rolex 24 in the GTD PRO Iron Lynx No. 63 Huracan GT3 Evo2 alongside Andrea Caldarelli, Mirko Bortolotti and Jordan Pepper.

“Of the few options for me, Lamborghini was definitely the best one. Just because first of all, representing the brand Lamborghini, it’s very unique. And having the project with the LMDh behind is going to be pretty interesting. For now, it’s just a great experience to go with the GT3 and and learn the endurance racing in the U.S.,” he says.

He has a lot to learn in a short time, having never raced at Daytona International Speedway and never driven the Huracan GT3 — or any other GT3 car — until today. Fortunately for Grosjean, his teammates have a wealth of experience with the car and Caldarelli and Bortolotti are two-time winners at Daytona. For the Roar Before the 24 and the race itself, he’ll be relishing working with them vs. the solitary life of a single-seat racer.

“You grow up through your career, and it’s all about your own raw speed and trying to kick everyone’s butts,” he muses. “The more experience you get, the less you have to prove. I guess more and more you want to share. And I think for me, it was great to be for once not on my own in the car and having guys that you know you are with — in the good days and bad days.”