Spa 24h – 29th of July

To be honest a 24 hour race seemed frightening, we were just getting comfortable with doing 3 hour races.

And there would be a number of unknown elements here; we would have a 3rd driver (Iain Dockerill) that we didn’t know – and I didn’t have any experience with driving in the dark, or having experience being mentally ‘on’ for driving over a 24 hour period. It turned out that Iain is a great guy focused on racing and less on fluff.

There is something special about Spa and a 24 hour race – the parade and display of the cars in Spa town was quite an experience. The atmosphere in the pit on the track was also tangible, a mix of anticipation, respect and nervousness of what the 24 hours would bring.

…and we were struggling for pace – like it seemed all the Ferrari’s were.

Qualifying was a bit disappointing as we thought we had cracked the setup for the car in France – we would start 43rd – but on the positive side, our night practice went well, nearly matching our daylight times. And we knew it was a 24 hour race, a lot could happen – and the weather at Spa is known to be changeable and able to offer some surprises.

On race day the weather was warm and nice, but clouds sweeping by looking ominous at all times. We lined up at the grid – I would start in the car – there was a great atmosphere with all the spectators in the grandstands and us standing at a packed grid with crews lining up their cars and spectators doing gridwalks.

And then the race was on! – I must admit that the next 24 hours is a blur of sensory input and experiences; getting out of the car after my first stint to have Martin take over, and fortunately having him in the car when torrential hit the track – the team holding the breath till he made it back into the pits for wet tires while we on the monitors could see numerous cars spin off left and right into the barriers. Otherwise it was great watching the team doing perfect pitstops, seeing the Danish camp and flag in the Les Combes corner, and personally keep working with the car and track when doing my stints.

Everything was really going well and we were quite lucky that the few contacts we had didn’t really affect us – so over the 24 hours we crawled up the order and finished in a fantastic 7th position! – not too bad for our first 24 hour race.

– but boy, after the rush and adrenalin had come down we all were just so tired!

Result: Qualifying p43, Race: p7 (in class) and p12 (out of 66)

The 2012 Spa 24 Hours, Round 4 of the 2012 Blancpain Endurance Series inside-da-2012-spa-race

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