Daytona Beach, Fla., January 29 — Kris Wright came to Daytona as a rookie for his inaugural Rolex 24 At Daytona race, round one of the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. He departed as a podium finisher in the Le Mans Prototype (LMP2) class, along with two other Daytona 24 rookies, in his No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA LMP2 race car. They finished second in class and seventh overall, a masterful feat for any team, much less one with so few endurance racing hours amongst its drivers.
Wright, the 2018 IMSA Prototype Challenge series LMP3 class champion, had raced on the Daytona International Speedway 3.56-mile circuit three previous times, but not in the classic twice-around-the-clock endurance race.
This year was even more grueling than most, as rain started to fall about 14 hours into the 24-hour enduro and never ceased, causing the red flag to stop the race and displayed on two occasions and for a total of just shy of four hours. Kris drove for 140 laps over three stints of the 578-lap race, which was ended 10 minutes early under a red flag.
Wright turned the fastest lap in the No. 38 Oreca LMP2 race car in the wee morning hours around 2:30 a.m., and before the rains started, with a quick time of 1.38.745.
“What an experience,” exclaimed Kris Wright of Pittsburgh, Pa. “We really tried to manage our expectations going into the race. We weren’t really gunning for the win but trying to do as well as we could and maintain the car for 24 hours. We kept the car in one piece and I’m just really happy with all the drivers and how the team worked together so well. This was quite a way to be introduced to endurance racing with all the rain. I’m pretty excited I had the fastest lap in the car in the middle of the night. You get in a rhythm when driving at night and I was comfortable with my pace. I just wish we could have gone back out to finish up, but the weather made that impossible and they ended the race early.”
“This was Kris’ first endurance race so there were a lot of things to think about and for him to learn,” said his driving coach and racer Nic Jonsson. “Having 12 years of experience racing at the Daytona 24-hour race, I tried to coach him, not only on the racing aspects and driving, but also important things like sleeping patterns, when and how to eat, and things like that.
“Kris and his teammates did a great job, especially for three out of four of them never having done a 24-hour race. With staying out of trouble, which was the number one rule, they did a great job. The weather added a lot drama and it was so cold, but all drivers did exactly what they needed to do and did a great job. To follow up with a second-place at Daytona after winning the Prototype Championship last year is a great accomplishment for Kris as driver and congratulations to him and the team.”
Kris’ teammates included father/son duo, Robert and Kyle Masson and Canadian Cameron Cassels. Kyle Masson qualified and started the car.
Further 2019 racing plans for Wright will be announced in the near future.
Additional information is available on Wright's Web site at KrisWrightMotorsports.com. Fans can also follow him on Facebook/KrisWrightRacing or Instagram/KrisWrightRacing12.
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