It all started with a message on the iRacing forum: Larry put out a request to create a team for some endurance racing. The team started off doing some 3 and 6-hour endurance races, but really got a taste for it and started participating in an increasing amount of them. The team never really meant to compete in longer races, until recently.
While preparing for the 3 and 6-hour races, the team would occasionally talk about participating in the 24-hour Spa race, but never very seriously. A race of that length requires a lot of dedication and also cooperation from the home front, which makes things difficult. However, after multiple discussions and gathering support from the home front, the team finally agreed to participate in the 24-hour Spa endurance race on July 20th!
Weeks and weeks of preparations were started. Training sessions, adjustments, pit stops and even complete schedules for the race were made. Roughly 1,600 laps and 65 hours of training took place before the race had even begun.
After a fair distribution of driving time between the drivers and a number of qualifying sessions, our team was able to start as 8th in a field of 53 teams. Our drivers were able to keep up during the first few stints and fluctuated between positions 6 and 12. During this period everything went well and the team didn’t cause any damage or other problems.
It wasn’t until it had become night time that fatigue started to become a factor. Minor errors, a few spins and even a few minor crashes resulted in a number of longer pit stops. Because of this we dropped quite a few spots on the leaderboard. A 24-hour race takes a long time and anything there was still time to turn things around. When morning fell, we stuck around the 14th position and made sure we kept the car on the track.
With 4 hours to go, the team used the 2 best drivers to complete the race. With good consultation, unbelievably good pace and strong pit strategy, we managed to grab some spots in the pit and on the track. Eventually the team finished in place 10th place, 50 seconds slower than 9th and 20 seconds faster than 11th.
Given that this was the team’s first 24-hour race, we are incredibly proud of this achievement. Even more so because the team was estimated to place 26th. Larry: “At the end of the race we were exhausted, but glad we did it. Speaking for myself, I can’t wait for the next 24-hour race. Especially because the stream was viewed well and the support was great, even during the night.”
The full stream is currently available on demand on our twitch channel https://www.twitch.tv/dutchiesesports