Robertson Racing claimed a superb third-place finish in the GTE Am class at the 24 Hours, the first of any kind for the American Ford GT team in its short four-year history. The storyline of the plucky privateer American Le Mans Series squad, which receives little manufacturer support in a class dominated by factory-developed machines, could not have been better composed with team owners/drivers Dave and Andrea Robertson celebrating their seventh wedding anniversary on Sunday.
“We are as happy as can be," exulted team owner/driver Dave Robertson. From day one, I honestly thought we had a chance in this class, which is why we entered it. We are not the fastest, and I know we have a lot of progress to make, but if the team could work together and have a mistake-free run I always believed this was feasible. We just kept going for 24 hours. We are so glad to be here, but wouldn't be were it not for the fantastic group of people in the garage and back in Braselton [Ga.]. This is for them. It's also great to be the first husband and wife on the podium and it makes it even more special that it's our anniversary. The only problem is I've no idea how to top this next year!”
Wife and co-driver Andrea became the first female to climb a Le Mans podium in any class since 1931. The records do not end there, though, for this was also the first husband and wife driver team to finish on the rostrum in Le Mans' 79-race history. Murry meanwhile picked up his second consecutive GT podium finish at La Sarthe following a 10-year absence.
“It comes as quite a shock to be the first woman since 1931 to make the podium and just proves what a male-dominated sport this is," said Andrea Robertson. "I'm not sure why; perhaps they're intimidated! I am also still in awe at being the first married couple on the podium but I think it's kind of neat. I would once again like to thank everyone in the team from the bottom of my heart because without them, their hard work and dedication, we would not have come this far.”
No modern Ford GT had finished the 24-hour race since the car was first produced seven years ago, while the last Ford chassis of any kind to repeat the feat did so in 1972. The last Ford GT40, on which Robertson Racing's machine draws its iconic styling cues, last finished in the top three at this race way back in 1969, when Jackie Ickx and Jackie Oliver triumphed outright.
While the rest of the GTE Am class fell by the wayside, Robertson Racing kept up a metronomic pace, the car's only reliability issue of the entire race occurring after four hours when the team lost two laps converting to the "manual" sequential gearbox when its paddle-shift system developed problems.
“I am so happy for Dave, Andrea and the team," said Murry. "We have worked so hard for the past four years and this is the pinnacle of what they wanted to achieve, so to come and get a podium on debut is just fantastic. You always dream about a possible result but don't ever think it could happen so we have just taken one step at a time. This was a 100 percent team effort and that is what contributes to podiums at Le Mans.”