A review on EIIC 2012 Round 2 - 10 Hours of Road America (28/04/2012)
written by Richard Roberts
Qualified 7th in GT2
Finished 2nd in GT2
First ever team podium
We had a good start up to second place before pitting. Throughout the race we pitted out of sequence with shorter stints which worked well as we could run faster with a higher engine mode. There was a short break and a restart halfway through the race and we took the lead when Blackroad and Acekite 2 hit problems around the 6 hour mark. After that we had to work hard to build a gap for the extra pitstop we needed. Despite our holding on valiantly and dropping Acekite behind, Blackroad Racing were eventually able to claw their way back from almost a lap down to take the lead with just 15 minutes left after handing over to their superstar driver Flex.
The start was hugely satisfying since I was able to position our car behind a competitor and slip stream myself past the GT2 drivers in front. I kept everything under control and drove thoughtfully, maybe too defensive at times. My main concern was staying out of trouble.
My second session started right after sun set and I was a bit worried. It literally felt like going through darkness in the first few laps as dangerous situations flashed up in front of me. But soon I began to feel at ease while cutting through the night with 2 headlights and a deadly fast race car. Maybe it was the regular communication with my team mates, who kept telling me that I was building a reasonable gap to the GT2 driver behind me, that made it easier for me to go fast and focused through the night. Unfortunately I had a sudden loss of concentration during my fourth stint and wasn't able to regain my full level of awareness during the last quarter, I couldn't wait to reach the safe haven called pitbox. Good thing is, the pit box was reached with the car undamaged. Artur now had to bear with the hardest part of the race, fighting for a podium position.
I felt good in the car, the car setup was very well prepared by Marcel..... At first I found big traffic, I could not find my rhythm and was losing valuable time, instead of focusing my thoughts, I was thinking how much time I was wasting and how badly I was going. I decided to give up my Porsche into the hands of Richard [slightly earlier than planned]. After resting and clearing my mind I went back to the car for the last two short stints. This time I was leader in the GT2 class, thanks to the excellent driving by Marcel and Richard. I was going calm and safe to stay out of the way of the P1's and GT1's and not to damage my car. Flex of Black Road Racing pushed hard. Moving closer to me. I thought that I could keep him behind me. Unfortunately with 10 min. to the finish, he defeated me. I tried to make up for losses, but at night it was too big risk. Second place is still more than we expected, but the appetite grows with eating!
I took the race restart I was solid but steady. Fortunately behind me Acekite 1 were equally steady and eventually disappeared. A few cars made their way past unlapping themselves but happily the pressure remained off. I got more confident with a bit of clear air and was able to push and the messages from teamspeak were encouraging, there were moments misunderstandings with traffic but my confidence increased even more seeing Black road racing in the sand. This was immediately followed by my scariest moment, two spinning cars in front through the kettle bells flat out kink. Afterwards it was tense watching from the sidelines but Art did a great job to finish ahead of Acekite and so close to Flex. We were right there and I am really proud of the job we did.
We had one of the better setups, fast and stable, that was obvious. On pace the only true competition was to be the amazing Black Road Racing and LSR Jamaica Lover’s and maybe Acekite because of their pit strategy. Fortunatley we were the drivers who had the better reliability and who were able to drive constantly without a single accident, this was the ultimate reason why we reached such a good position and it shows what endurance racing is all about.