Daytona debutant and 2019 Sunoco 240 Challenge winner Kyle Reid capped off a superb weekend by not only starting the four-hour BMW Endurance Challenge race at Daytona but taking the chequered flag as well.
Cheered on by friends and family, Kyle qualified the Fast Track Racing / Classic BMW Sunoco-liveried M4 GT4 during Thursday evening’s 15-minute session, clocking a time of 1:55.287, 22nd overall, and third fastest BMW driver on the 49-car grid.
Making up four places in the opening two laps of the race, the Mini Challenge Cooper Pro Champion kept things steady before pitting during a full-course yellow at the 45-minute mark and handing over driving duties. Sound strategy meant the car led the race at half distance, but unavoidable contact with a spinning Audi cost the outfit six laps as repairs were made.
Further misfortune befell the team as a puncture necessitated another stop, though this provided Kyle with the chance for a final stint to bring the car home to the flag on his Daytona debut. Despite a 30th place finish, the team was just a moment of misfortune away from what could have been a spectacular result.
“I’ve loved everything about it,” said Kyle. “The start of the race was something else, going into turn one with 49 cars on the grid. In every mirror there was a car, so I just picked a line and managed to get through. I made up four places and then handed over to Jayson [Clunie].
“The car was leading at one point, but we picked up some damage when Toby [Grahovec] had contact and it lost us six laps, but it meant I was able to get back in the car to take the chequered flag which was special.
“I’ve gained so much experience and knowledge of driving a GT4 car and I’ve loved it. The team have been fantastic; they’ve welcomed me with open arms. I was worried coming in, but we’ve come away the quickest driver in the car and you never know, I might be back racing here in the US. It’s an amazing experience and something I’ll always remember and be able to tell the grandchildren about. I just need to thank Anders and Sunoco for the opportunity.”
“Kyle did exceptionally well, considering he came from a Mini Cooper and we placed him in a completely alien environment with 31-degree banking and a BMW M4 GT4 race car that is four times the power and rear wheel drive,” said Anders Hildebrand, Anglo American Oil Company Managing Director.
“After two days of testing Kyle was on the pace of the team manager and pro driver and the team were so impressed that they let him not only qualify but start the race. Unfortunately, there was a little incident half way through that meant we didn’t get the result we wanted but until then the car was on the pace and Kyle did us very proud.”