Round 4 of the Racedepartment RDLMS series saw the debut of the SR Ferrari 430 GT. Coming into the race we felt confident in our line up with 2 LMP1 Audi R10s driven by Mike Smulcheski, David Nichols, Dave Jordan, and Ryan von Steinen. We had a brand new Ferrari f430 entered in the GT category now as well with Matt Strand and Mike Edwards behind the wheel. The Audis sat 3rd and 6th on the grid while the Ferrari did not complete a Q lap and would roll off 15th in class and 38th overall.
Once the race started we instantly went into survival mode. The traffic was about as expected and our plan was to just get the cars within a couple hours of the finish before making a big push. We were hoping some of the field will have dropped out by then and there’d be a bit more open track. About 4 hours in however Strand was punted off in turn 5 by an LMP1 Peugeot and had to come in for repairs. Shortly after he had rejoined, Mike Smulcheski caught some grass in the braking zone for turn 1 which sent him straight off and hard into the wall. Stuck in the gravel trap it was looking like our lead Audis race was over with. The sister car of von Steinen and Jordan had just pulled to a stop with electric problems in turn 7 as well. In just a matter of a few laps our race was unraveling rapidly. A couple laps later though Strand pulled off in turn 1 to “dig out” the last Audi.
“Our race was already screwed since I’d just come back from the garage. We aren’t running for points in it only wins so I figured if we could dig the Audi out and salvage that car atleast it’d be a good day.” – Matt Strand
“When Matt came over the radio and told me what he was going to do I wasn’t sure if he was joking or not haha I kept trying to get out of the gravel but my engine was overheating real bad in doing so. I’m surprised that little ferrari had enough grunt to push us both up the hill and out but I’ll be damned it worked!” – Mike Smulcheski
After 20 minutes of pushing the cars around, Smulcheski finally got the Audi back to the pits. Once repaired the car was lapping on pace with the leaders and due to other P1s dropping out we managed to grab a 5th place in LMP1.
Next for the RDLMS is the 5th and final round from the coveted Circuit de La Sarthe for the 12 hours of Lemans.