Climbing behind the wheel at Daytona International Speedway at 11:15pm on Saturday and driving until after midnight, Michael Lira made his TUDOR United SportsCar racing debut in one of the most iconic races in the world, the Rolex 24.
The 17-year old Port, Orange, FL driver would go on to complete two more stints behind the wheel, totaling more than four hours of driving time around the 3.56 miles Daytona road course.
“My goal in the race is to run clean, consistent laps,” Michael commented before the race. “I want to do all I can to hand the car off to the next driver in good shape.”
Michael accomplished that goal, staying out of trouble and avoiding involvement in all of the 18 cautions that occurred during the race.
Unfortunately, the car suffered from mechanical issues well beyond the drivers control. The car was brought to the garage four separate times for more than eight hours of race time.
Originally scheduled only to compete in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge 2.5 hour race on Friday, Michael was a last minute addition to the Muehlner Motorsports America driver lineup for the event. It was his first time driving for the Porsche sports car team.
While the car saw its share of trouble, it was one of only 29 cars to see the checkered flag out of the 53 cars that started the race.
After the race, Michael shared his thoughts on social media: “I can’t even believe this. Participated in the #Rolex24 and despite spending a few hours in the garage, we made it to the checkers! What a moment for my family and I and (co-driver) Ricardo Flores. I will never forget this week. #LivingADream #LeftsAndRights”
For more information, follow Michael Lira on Twitter at @1MichaelLira and visit his official website at www.MichaelLiraRacing.com. You can also find him on Facebook at /MichaelLiraRacingOfficial.