Mikaël Grenier From The 24H Of Dubai To The Rolex 24 At Daytona
MIKAËL GRENIER HAS ALREADY ACCUMULATED LOTS OF SEAT TIME THIS MONTH WITH THE GULF 12 HOURS AND 24H OF DUBAI NOW SETS HIS SIGHT ON ROLEX 24
It has been a busy month at the wheel to say the least for Grenier who flew out to Abu Dhabi just after New Year’s Day for back to back endurance events with the SunEnergy1 team. And it has been a successful trip with a third place finish overall at the Hankook 24H of Dubai as reported in a previous post.
“The Gulf 12 Hours was mostly to prepare for the Hankook 24H of Dubai. It was good to be back with SunEnergy1 Racing. We started on the front row but ran into a problem with one of the rear dampers early on and that put us back in the standings. It is quite unfortunate as we had a good pace and if it wasn’t for that, we had a chance for victory certainly.”
“At the 24H of Dubai, especially in the race, we were missing a bit of pace compared to the two Audi. The first two hours were difficult for us during our pit stops. Since there are no pace cars at that race, whenever there is an incident they neutralize the race using the <Code 60> where we have to maintain 60km/h around the track and there were several of them in the first two hours. That meant a majority of teams took advantage of that to refuel and we had to wait in line for one of the fuel pump to become available. Unfortunately, we did end up loosing a lot of time on the one stop that put us back a couple of laps.”
“We then came up with a strategy where up until three hours to go, we would push to regain as much ground as possible. In the last three hours, we conserved fuel as much as we could. This allowed us to skip an extra fuel stop towards the end of the race. The no. 4 Abu Dhabi Racing by HRT Mercedes AMG GT3 was ahead of us in third but had to stop for a fuel splash and go in the final minutes of the race. That’s when we were able to pass them for the podium finish. They did not expect us not to stop. So our strategy worked great!”
“It was a great feeling to be on the podium and Kenny Habul(team owner, NDLR) was very happy with the result.”
Mik then flew to Florida and arrived Monday where he has been talking off days to re-energize for the Roar coming up this weekend and the Rolex 24 next weekend at Daytona International Raceway.
He finished second last year in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar GTD class driving for SunEnergy1 Racing.
For the 2022 Rolex 24 at Daytona, Grenier is driving with last year’s GTD winning team Winward Racing. He is to team up with Russell Ward, Philip Ellis and Lucas Auer in the no. 57 Mercedes AMG GT3.
“After winning last year’s Rolex 24, Winward Racing wanted to defend its title. We have a very good driver line-up. I have raced with Russell Ward last season and I have also shared driving duties with Philip Ellis but not with Lucas Auer. Lucas has a lot of experience(raced in DTM since 2015, Super Formula in 2019, FIA European formula 3 in 2014, NDLR) so I have no doubt we are going to work well together.”
“For me, personally, it will be an advantage to come to the Rolex for my third race this month. At the Roar, it will be to concentrate on finding the right set-up for the Mercedes AMG GT3 and having enough seat time for each of us to prepare for the Rolex 24 next week.”
As for the qualifying on Saturday and the race on qualifying race on Sunday, Grenier will not take part in it.
“Russell will qualify the car on Saturday and then Lucas and him will take the relay during Sunday’s qualifying race. It will allow both of them to get more seat time and get comfortable driving with the traffic around. The goal will be to stay out of trouble not to create extra work for the team.”
Winward Racing and Mikaël Grenier will be on track starting Friday morning where there will be four sessions between Friday and Saturday, including a night session.
Roar before the Rolex 24 schedule here.
Image: Mercedes AMG Customer Racing / Gruppe C Photography