Updated: Jul 24
For our fourth event, we returned to Shannonville Motorsport Park for a double 8 on the long track. This was our fourth outing as a team and fourth track format, having run on the pro track last season. Being at the low end of the grid on power, this track was likely our best chance to keep pace with the faster cars.
Saturday was a day of learning experiences as we played with fuel strategies, stint lengths, and eventually our most interesting failure to date, a broken rear subframe. Since I didn't happen to have any spare subframes laying around, I assumed this would be a day ender at the very least. Before we had time to scratch our heads and contemplate a solution, our star fabricator (and co-driver) was scrounging around the trailer for scraps of metal to patch us back together. With a lot of hard work and burnt flesh, we were back on track in 1hr and 9min. Had I remembered to check the wire in the welder, probably much less. We ended up with someone else's Lincoln 110v welder in our possession to finish the job, I'm not sure which team supplied us with that, but a big thanks for the help.
Up to this point in our endurance racing experiment, there had been mixed enthusiasm for running full two hour stints. We were mostly in it for a good time, and rotating out hourly kept everyone amused and busy for the day. Having made a mess of Saturday, and looking for redemption, the holdouts (mostly me) gave in and planned Sunday around two hour stints. The underpowered Celica was very happy to zig zag around the tight format of the Long Track with cars that would normally outclass us by a significant margin. We sent our fastest driver out last with very questionable tires and a half lap lead in our class. Despite our best efforts to talk him into nursing the car around the track for two hours, our best laps of the day were set, and some exciting passing was to be seen from the grandstands. With ten minutes to go in our 8hr race, and a pit wall full of empty fuel jugs, the call came over the radio "Should I be concerned that the low fuel light is on?"
At this point we were floating around a two lap lead in our class, and we settled into the reality that we were about to watch it all flushed down the toilet with a few laps to go. With a healthy dose of short shifting and causal Sunday driving, we managed to bring it home with enough fuel to get it onto the trailer. Our first attempt at 2hr stints and we managed a 1st in GT3.
With clean pit stops, clean driving, and many helping hands, I don't think we could ask for a better group of people to call a team. Can't wait to get back into it next year.