JOINING 2021 ROLEX 24 HOURS GTD WINNER WINWARD RACING IN LAST MINUTE AGREEMENT HAD GRENIER FLY TO TEAMS’ BASE IN GERMANY
In a last minute talk with the team, Sunday Mikaël Grenier has flown to Germany to meet with the team and get ready to compete in this weekend’s 1st round of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS 3 hour race at Monza.
Grenier was competing with Emil Frey Racing these past couple of seasons but his services were not retained for this year’s driver line-up with the Lamborghini Squad. An unfortunate situation as Mikaël had shown speed and consistency competing against some of the best GT drivers there is and even came very close to winning one of the races last year with co-driver Norbert Siedler.
During the Rolex 24 at Daytona week, Mikaël had said he was still looking to go back to Europe for 2021 and was to initiate talks with manufacturers and teams. Hard work pays off as Mikaël started talking with Winward Racing in the weeks leading to the Twelve Hours of Sebring where he was competing with SunEnergy1 Racing in the Mercedes AMG GT3.
Mikaël was then paired with drivers Kenny Habul and Maro Engel. The team had to deal with electronic gremlins from the start of the race and shown several laps down. A solid performance from the drivers and strategy brought the car back on the lead lap and within contention in the last hour of the race until a mechanical failure halted their progress when a rear wheel came off coming out of the last corner.
“I made some good contacts while in Florida and the on-track performance was there event tough Sebring did not go the way we wanted. I’ve also worked with an engineer that knows the team pretty well. A lot of small things came together at the right time it seems,” mentioned Mikaël. “A seat became available with the team in Germany for the Endurance Cup. Being very familiar with the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe and wanting to go back to Europe, I could not let this opportunity. go by.”
This first round counting for the Endurance Cup will see Mikaël sharing driving duties with American driver Russell Ward and German-British driver Philip Ellis.
Winward Racing competed in the 2021 Rolex 24 at Daytona and won the honours in the GTD class as Mikaël and his teammates Kenny Habul, Raffaele Marciello and Luca Stolz finished second. Winward Racing, an American team based out of Texas is usually seen running in IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge GT4 class and SRO GT World Challenge America. An interesting fact is that Winward Racing also has a presence in Europe having purchased the interest of German based HTP Motorsport, a well know team in European Series.
Competing on both side of the Atlantic with a Mercedes AMG GT3, the German headquarter of Winward Racing will compete in the Endurance Cup of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe in 2021 and Mikaël is to take part in all the rounds.
“The team only compete in the Endurance cup of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe. They do have presence in other championship like the ADAC GT Master and they are to run in the DTM Series with a GT3 as well. All the seats are spoken for at this time. So I will concentrate on the Endurance Cup with them.”
Since the three drivers a Silver rated, the team entered the car in the Silver class which has 13 entries so far on a field of 44 cars.
Mikaël will be heading to Italy from Germany Wednesday with practice sessions to take place on Thursday. No track time on Friday as the action will resume on Saturday and Sunday with practice, qualifying and the 3-hour race in Sunday.
“I know Monza pretty well as I have raced there may times although not with the Mercedes but I have driven it many times and it should be easy to get acclimatized. So, the aim for me really is to get comfortable with working with the team.”
The Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe events can be seen on their YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/gt1world
Image courtesy Mikaël Grenier
Photographer & Editor