Former IMSA Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona class winner, Nick Boulle — of de Boulle, an independent jewelry salon in Dallas and Houston, enjoyed podium celebrations once again this past weekend in Daytona. This time, the Texas-based driver drove in the Johnson Equipment Company Pescarolo LMP1 car around the steep banks of Daytona Speedway.
Nick was co-driving alongside Randy Johnson, of Dallas, TX, in what is known as the Classic 24 Hours of Daytona. The race which takes place over 24 hours involves the car racing for one hour during every 6 hours that pass by for a combined time that determines finishing order. The pair would compete in the ultra fast Group E category which featured a range of prototypes ranging from the Pescarolo LMP1 car Randy & Nick drove to the Audi R8 LMP1 car that won Le Mans and the Sebring 12 Hours some years earlier.
In what was only his first day behind the wheel of an LMP1 car, Boulle qualified the car in 3rd place behind former factory ace and multi-time Le Mans winner, Andy Wallace in the Audi R8, and American professional racer, Butch Leitzinger, despite being caught out by traffic on his quickest lap. In addition to being a historically significant Le Mans racer, the Pescarolo 07 LMP1 car is astonishingly fast with its 720hp JUDD V-10 Engine that revs to more than 9,000 RPM. The drivers hit speeds as high as 197mph in to the Bus Stop section of the Daytona Speedway and topped out at 202 mph in to turn 1 as they jumped on to the carbon-carbon brakes at the end of the banking.
Nick started race 1 for the racing duo and was able to move the car up one position during the hour long race to finish in second just ahead of the legendary Audi R8 LMP1 car. Randy took the wheel for race 2 and drove the car to a strong finish ahead of the other Pescarolo LMP1 car and was able to perform well against the competitive all-pro lineup of the Audi R8. Boulle started race 3 not only setting fastest lap of the field but also cruising to a win with the Audi R8 of Andy Wallace in chase.
In race 4, Nick Boulle took the hole shot thanks to a perfectly timed start as he was able to get the inside line in to turn 1 despite starting on the outside. Despite dealing with fading rear grip, Nick had the task of reeling in the time lost to the Audi R8 overnight of 58 seconds. After the one-hour race, Nick had closed down the 58 second gap to within 3 seconds of the overall win. Sadly, pushing through traffic cost too much time and the pair rolled across the line in second place to end the Classic 24 Hours of Daytona.
Nick Boulle:“This was my first time racing at the Classic 24 Hours and it has been such a fun weekend. Randy has been amazing to work with and did such a good job, improving the car and his driving every single session. We made a great team. I never thought I would say I was driving a LMP1 car on the banks of Daytona at more than 200mph, so this is definitely something I’ll remember forever. I’m looking forward to the next outing we have in the Pescarolo!”