Regardless of Sunday’s outcome, assuming the No. 44 Magnus Aston Martin Vantage GT3 he’ll share with John Potter, Nicki Thiim and long-time running mate Spencer Pumpelly takes the green flag, he’ll leapfrog legendary Hurley Haywood, the five-time overall race winner, to stand alone as the driver with the most consecutive Rolex 24 starts.
After winning his class as a Rolex 24 rookie in 2001, Lally missed the race the following year. He’s been in every one since 2003.
“Hurley did 20 races, then took a year or two off. This will be my 21st (in a row),” he says. “He’s obviously such a big name and such a cool guy; it’s cool to even be mentioned in the same breath. But most wins for active drivers, most podiums, most pretty much everything down the line – it’s pretty neat.”
While optimistic about his chances, Lally is nothing if not realistic.
“It’s going to be extremely tough,” he says. “GT is always the biggest class in the field. It’s always the most competitive. It always draws the most amount of talent from around the planet from ex-F1 drivers to IndyCar drivers, all the international drivers who race everything from Le Mans to DTM and even some stock car guys. It’s always neat.
“I’ve got two wins and two second places since I’ve been with Magnus, and obviously the boss wants a third Rolex for the squad. We tested, we’ve got the same car from last year, we think we’ve made some incremental advancements. … It’s probably not the best car for Daytona, but it’s a pretty good car.”
Good enough to earn another watch? He isn’t sure, but anyone who thinks for a nanosecond that he wouldn’t try as hard as ever to get a sixth Rolex 24 win – and ninth watch – just doesn’t know Andy Lally.