Daytona Beach, Fla. - Kicking off the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Championship, more than 60 cars made the start for the 52nd running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Battling through traffic and racing up on the high banks of Daytona, Tomy and his teammates made hard work pay off taking third place in the highly competitive Prototype Challenge division.

#38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA FLM09 Chevrolet: Raphael Matos, Ryan Booth, Tomy Drissi, Gabriel Casagrande, Julio Campos
#38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA FLM09 Chevrolet: Raphael Matos, Ryan Booth, Tomy Drissi, Gabriel Casagrande, Julio Campos

Photo by: Trevor Horn

“What a fantastic performance,” said Drissi following Sunday’s podium celebration. “Until you’ve done a 24 hour race, you have no concept of the emotional roller coaster you go through. And it’s not just you. It’s the entire team. Everyone has a job to do… sometimes more than one job… and everyone has to perform at their best. The slightest error and there are 65 other teams ready to pounce on you. It’s awesome… it’s so emotional.”

Teamed with drivers David Ostella, Raphael Matos, Gabriel Casagrande and Júlio Campos, Tomy knew the team would have their work cut out for them. The Prototype Challenge ORECA FLM09 was the only car and class left unchanged by the recent merger between the American Le Mans Series and Grand Am. Throughout its history in the ALMS, the PC class is a very tight and sophisticated “driver’s” class. The rules call for tight and consistent specifications putting a large premium on driver skill and car management.

“I’ve enjoyed lots of success in the Prototype Challenge cars,” added Tomy. “But we knew coming into Daytona there would be a lot of new twists in the game plan. First, these cars have never run a 24 hour event. Sebring 12 hour is the previous longest. Second, by their very nature, Prototypes are much more fragile and put a premium on set up and the small aero pieces on the body work. At Daytona, we now find ourselves with a lot of traffic and surrounded by heavier, faster equipment. And at this track in particular, the Daytona Prototype cars were seeing incredible closing speeds coming through the high banks and the tri-oval. Everyone had to really be on their game and stay out of trouble. These guys did that. It was awesome.”

“I owe a great debt of gratitude to the Performance Tech team for bringing me into the mix,” acknowledged Tomy. “These guys run a tight program and really know how to make things happen. They had the right crew, the right strategy and a fantastic ‘get it done’ attitude. I can’t thank them enough for bringing me on board. This was a great experience."

Tomy teamed up with the movie RIO2 for his Rolex 24 at Daytona appearance. In the movie the entire cast of the animated smash RIO return in RIO 2, and are joined by a new flock of top actors and musical talents. Rich with grandeur, character, color and music, RIO 2 finds Jewel (Anne Hathaway), Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and their three kids leaving their domesticated life in that magical city for a journey to the Amazon. They encounter a menagerie of characters who are born to be wild, voiced by Oscar nominee Andy Garcia, Oscar/Emmy/Tony-winner Rita Moreno, Grammy winner Bruno Mars, and Tony winner Kristin Chenoweth.

Next up for Tomy and the team is the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida at Sebring International Raceway, March 15.