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Successful Start to the Season for Winward Racing

Feb 1, 2024

A second Rolex 24 at Daytona win plus a podium finish in Michelin Pilot Challenge for the young team.

After 11 days at Daytona International Speedway, Winward is back in Houston with two new trophies and four new Rolex watches after a successful kick-off to the 2024 IMSA season.

The No. 57 Mercedes-AMG GT4, piloted by Bryce Ward and Daniel Morad, qualified P17 (Ward) in its GS Class after a tough Roar test battling balance of performance and the car's ultimate straight-line speed. The pair powered through the field with a clean car, minus a side-view mirror, and finished P2 in the 4-hour Michelin Pilot Challenge season-opener.

Tyler Duane Photography

The Winward No. 57 Mercedes-AMG GT3, entered in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship's GTD Class, competing in its fourth Rolex 24 at Daytona, also qualified P17 (Ellis) during the Roar Before the 24 - A stark difference from the team's previously earned pole position's in 2022 and 2023.

However, Russell Ward, Philip Ellis, Indy Dontje, along with Morad, who first teamed together for the event in 2023, drove a clean race totaling 731 laps, leading 383 laps total (a GTD class high). Despite a having a pretty consistent hold on the lead, particularly in the second 12-hours of the day-long event, a caution in the final hour left for a stressful finish for the No. 57 team. No matter, the team took the checkered flag victorious for a second time in the iconic race.

Following two back-to-back years of Sunday morning retirements during the event, the victory was extra sweet for the team and drivers, who now have each conquered the Rolex 24 at Daytona twice.

The Winward crew is once again in full swing preparing for Round 2 at Sebring International Raceway, March 13th-16th, 2024. The team will continue their fight in the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup with Russell Ward, Ellis and Dontje, while Bryce Ward and Morad continue at their second year of Michelin Pilot Challenge together.

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