Lets Race 2hr Endurance Race – Melbourne GP Track
This being the first endurance race held in the history of the company meant we were heading into the unknown, much alike to our seven brave teams, which consisted the maximum five drivers down to two, this made for some very interesting strategies being played.
Prior to engaging into race mode every team was provided with 50minutes practice, doubled up as qualifying, to distribute amongst their teams, some favored allowing less experienced drivers have more track time where as others would share the time evenly. Other than a few minor crashes here and there, as you would expect to begin with, each team managed to successfully complete some much needed practice driver changes. A driver change consists of the following process:
Current driver feeds into the pit lane, second driver is prepared on the right hand side of the car with a race instructor, the current driver puts the car into 1st prior to entering the pit lane and pulls into the allocated red pit box, the race instructor releases the steering wheel, allows the current driver to jump out to the left of the car and the second driver to jump in from the right, then places the wheel back on and allows the second driver to exit the pit lane.
- Some teams could manage this process in 8seconds -
1st – Unimaginative 1:56.995
2nd – Michael Racing Team 1:59.710
3rd – The Amateurs 2:00.990
4th – 1st 2:05.231
5th – 2nd 2:06.066
6th – Coomers Cars 2:09.265
7th – Team Awesome 2:23.744
Our race start was an amazing sight to witness, seven Formula Renaults lined up on the grid with a Renault Megane safety car parked at the front of the grid, after a 20 second countdown the cars had to follow in single file around for a rolling start, this is a trickier procedure to complete than it sounds; you must heat your tyres to their optimal temperature prior to starting the race or you will be at a severe disadvantage, however you must ensure not to burn out your tyres in the process!
A couple of spins meant a few teams lost some much needed tyre grip prior to the first lap of the race, this included second place team Michael Racing Team, however a swift recovery meant all teams fed into the final sector squashed together wing to wing perfectly.
Unimaginative picked up to race pace three corners from the end of the lap and pulled a slight lead prior to crossing the start finish line as the race countdown begun, most teams spread out well at the start and mainly avoided contact, however being that low to the deck with minimal visibility colliding with other cars seems inevitable, as some found out.
Unimaginative continued to pull a progressive lead initially from the rest of the field within the first stint to a staggering 40second gap between them and second place teamMichael Racing Team and The Amateurs another 20 seconds back by the first round of pitstops.
Up until around lap 41 the race order remained fairly consistent with minimal swapping throughout the running order, 2nd and 1stoptimistically being named consistently battled for fourth position with similar laptimes (mainly due to the fact they were the same drivers!), Coomers Cars managed to maintain and progressively increase the gap to Team Awesome who win the infamous award for laughing the most whilst driving.
As we approached the latter part of the race the leaders had to negotiate the back running cars and occasionally came off worse after making a move, Unimaginative got taken off the track allowing Michael Racing Team to close the gap; Unimaginative made a pit stop and Michael Racing Team managed to take the lead and maintain a gap of 32seconds for a fair amount of time.
10minutes from the end Unimaginative had their fastest driver behind the wheel determined to nab first place,Michael Racing Team on the other hand determined to keep the ever-deteriorating tyres from causing them to spin off maintained a pace that should see them to the end, the gap plummeted from 30seconds to 25, 20, 12, 10 and suddenly we headed into the final two minutes. The gap down to 7.1seconds. Everybody on the edge of their seats.
Michael Racing Team having a battle with 3rd place team The Amateurs tried to minimize time lost fighting and held back from making a move. As the cars pulled round to cross the start finish as the timer read 1minute remaining we could see the top three all together, although 3rd before 1st then 2nd.
Times up. Michael Racing Team probably not having felt relief like this since receiving their GCSE results celebrated and took top step on our podium, very, very closely followed by Unimaginative and taking the bottom step was The Amateurs.
Best Race Lap:
Michael Racing Team
Entries are now open for Round 2.