VLMS-ERL Daytona 8 hours ends early

Satellite returned home for round 5 of the VLMS-ERL series with the 8 hours of Daytona. We’d been struggling since coming off the trailer all week with our Simcraft Acura HPD 02-A LMP1 car. In the waining minutes of final practice we managed to strike on a set we felt comfortable with come race time and the strategy should work towards us in the later hours of the race.

Qualifying reflected the abysmal handling we were experiencing early in the week. Mike Smulcheski managed to wring everything we had in the car at the time and put us in 6th overall for the start of the race. “It was a real handful” said Smulcheski. “I was struggling real hard to get the rears to hook up when putting the power down which is so important with the long runs around the banking here. We’ve got all the data and a new direction we want to go though so we should work it out come race time. Anything can happen in 8 hours!”

fighting with F!E into turn 1 for 3rd overall

The start of the race saw Matt Strand take the wheel with his prowess on cold tires and making up positions early in races. After a couple hours Strand had sliced his way through traffic and driven his way up to 3rd place in a dog fight of a battle with the F1 Elites Peugeot 908 before receiving a pit speeding penalty and dropping back down to 5th overall. After his opening 3 hour stint Mike Smulcheski took over to continue the charge forward. The new setup direction was working really well with the constant race traffic and Smulcheski was soon chasing down Jan Larsen in the 05 Motorsports Audi R10 for 2nd place overall.

pushed behind the wall after electric issues 6 hours in

Unfortunatley after having just passed pit road the electrics went out on Smulcheski in turn 1 and eventually rolled to a stop just before the kink in the infield, never to resume. We made it 201 laps into what was a 309 lap race in the end.

“Result is disappointing but hugely proud of the team for the work they’ve put in this week. We went faster in race trim then we did in qualifying the other day and still had the best fuel mileage out of any the P1 cars. I think we’ve finally got this LMP1 car figured out like we did the P2 last season so we’re looking forward to some strong results the rest of the year.” – Matt Strand

“It was a real let down when the car died on me but I was having a blast up to that point. The car was working really well, too well actually as both Matt and myself picked up pit speed penalties haha It was encouraging to have speed back again though and the confidence was building every lap out. Looking forward to 12 hours in Sebring!” – Mike Smulcheski

We will be missing the next VLMS-ERL round in Sepang with a team conflict but next in the series is the 12 hours of Sebring April 7th.