Drayson Racing enjoyed a stunning early run in the Sebring Twelve Hours before alternator issues restricted the Lola Coupe-Judd to fourth in LMP1.
Emanuele Pirro started the race for the British team from fourth on the grid and soon got ahead of the Aston Martin Racing entry into third – with the Italian then setting his sights on the factory Peugeot's ahead.
Matching – and even bettering – the diesel pair for pace, Pirro closed in and split the factory cars with a stunning move for second while navigating the battle for the GT2 lead.
Unfortunately for the team, the early race promise came to an end when the alternator failed after three and a half hours and a further alternator problem and issues later in the race with a water leak left Pirro, Johnny Cocker and team owner Paul Drayson with fourth in class and twelfth overall.
"There are positive things and a list of things to address,” former factory Audi driver Pirro said. “One positive is that the car is very, very strong. Personally, the positive thing is that I found the speed and the racecraft as I left it two years ago. All the things are still there and this is great for me.
“We lost time with mechanical issues and we had an accident [which caused the water leak] when we were hit by a Peugeot. Really, the most positive thing is to bring the car home to the finish because we collected a lot of data that we can take to Le Mans. Thanks to the team and congratulations to my team-mates. I am looking forward to Laguna.”
Team manager Dale White admitted there were mixed emotions for the team at the finish, although he insisted that the performance early on had shown the potential of the team heading into its first full season with the LMP1 machine.
“We obviously hoped for a better result,” he said. “However, looking at it from the positive side, we again showed that, without a doubt, we can run with anyone. That opening stint was great racing to watch and I think it should let everyone know we are here to race and to win."