We done good… mostly 😉
12 Hours of Bathurst (see my previous post)… Well, we could have done better. We qualified 6th position out of 51 cars. The race team was feeling pretty good about this. We were confident that we had pace and skill enough to keep the car in the fight for the entire 12 hours. The truth is that should have been the case. We were looking at a top 5 finish given our pace and consistency… until
This time it was my turn. One of the others had a misstep at Daytona. I guess it was my turn to make things more “challenging”. I was at the end of my second stint and was getting too comfortable in the car. It bit me. You see, the simulation has day/night transitions. These transitions occur in real time over the course of an endurance race like this 12-hour race. We started the race before sunrise in cool temperatures. A cool track means good grip, and you can do things in the car that you can’t do as the track gets hotter. Now that would not have been a big issue accept for the fact that I let my confidence turn into comfort in that virtual race car.
I was at the end of my second stint, and the sun had come up in the simulator about 90 minutes previous to my “mishap”. The grip on the track and the tire wear took advantage of my lack of attention. I over-steered a turn and got up on a curb. At over 100 mph, hitting this curb “upsets” the car. I tried to catch it, but the tires must have gotten a little air under them from the bump. So, I suddenly had no grip and could not steer. An instant later, the front tires grabbed asphalt. That would not have been a problem except for the fact that I was trying to recover my misstep. I had over adjusted my input and it basically “launched the car into the opposite wall.
Yep, that crumpled “beer can” you see is because I got too comfortable rather than keeping my focus razor sharp and paying hyper attention to the changing conditions. I thought I knew what to expect since I had already done one stint, but that had been a couple hours previous (we were swapping during each pit stop). So, the sun was higher in the sky and the track was warmer.
After about 20 minutes in the pits, the virtual crew was able to do some repairs. The car was drive-able, but we were about 2 seconds a lap down on pace because of aerodynamics and handling issues.
We got back out on the track in 27th position with about 8 hours to go.
Our 3-man team drove that recently converted “hooptie” for 8 more hours. I even had 2 more stints in the car. We dodged another couple of accidents. We raced a couple of cars.
We finished 8th.
It was not the top 5 we thought we could get, but a top 10 finish was nothing to sneeze at.
Between this and Daytona (24 hour endurance race), we decided that this one was more fun. It was. It was harder work because of the substantially more technical track. Maybe we are gluttons for punishment… real or virtual. But we felt like we got more out of it.
It would be nice, though. to keep the car less damaged for the duration of one of these races. Maybe next time
Stay tuned for the 12 Hours at Sebring 😉