Auer suffers ‘fractured lumbar injuries’ in Daytona crash

Lucas Auer is out of the Rolex 24 after a Practice 1 crash in Daytona

Lucas Auer is out of the Rolex 24 after a Practice 1 crash in Daytona

Lucas Auer will take no further part in this year’s Rolex 24 after a heavy crash during Practice 1 in Daytona saw him taken to hospital.

The Winward Racing pilot dropped a wheel at Turn 1 late in the 90-minute session before making heavy contact with the barrier.

The crash saw the session red-flagged as the Austrian was tended to before being cut free of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 and transferred to Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach.

“Lucas Auer, driver of the No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, has been admitted to Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach,” a statement from the team confirmed.

“According to attending medical personnel, Auer has sustained significant fractured lumbar injuries in an incident earlier Thursday near the end of the first official IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice session of the 61st Rolex 24 At Daytona.

“Auer has been awake and alert since the incident and has been communicating with family back home in Europe and his Winward Racing teammates here in Daytona Beach.

“Everyone at Mercedes-AMG Motorsport and Winward Racing wishes Lucas a full and rapid recovery.

“Winward Racing will compete in this weekend’s race and a replacement tub is presently on its way to Daytona International Speedway from the team race shop in Texas.

“A replacement driver for Auer is currently being finalized.”

The Winward Racing entry, which competes in the GTD class, had qualified on the class pole for the Rolex 24 with a 1:46.093s at last weekend’s Roar Before The 24.

Matt Campbell ended the opening day in Daytona fastest for Porsche, though Cadillac and Acura also topped sessions during Thursday’s running.

Practice in Daytona continues on Friday with a fourth session for teams, ahead of the race itself beginning at 13:40 local time on Saturday.

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