The RDLMS series came into Satellites backyard once more bringing lots of hope and optimism leading into the event. Satellite has already been succesful here for 12 hours earlier in the year with a win in LMP2 and overall at VLMS-ERL. Drastically different series and car though with an Audi R10 entered in LMP1 and the debut of our GT2 Porsche for the new season. Also making a debut was Davy Benham. Davy is a long time TPG racer who we’ve had our eye on for sometime. He was to make his Endurance racing debut earlier in the year in the GT3 car but plans unfortunately fell threw. Now that he’s finally here he’s ready to go and excited for the chance.
“This is unreal” Benham said laughing. “It’s so intense on track especially being in the slowest class. Having never done a true endurance race before I’m just trying to focus on hitting my marks for a complete double stint. As I get more comfortable I’ll work on more speed. Easier said then done with the silent LMP cars flying up sometimes 30mph faster then us into a corner though. Should be exciting!”
And exciting it was as Benham jumped into the Porsche during the 2nd stint after an opening run from Nichols. The pair would share the car with the always entertaining Brandon Warren for the 12 hour affair. It was a steep learning curve coming to grips with the new equipment and both our pace and consistency showed it. All 3 struggled to find the pace of cars like long time Porsche Enudro teams of Sim Racing for Holland. Benham, Nichols, and Warren though eventually found a groove in each of their stints and started clicking off solid laps before the car would hiccup again. It was a struggle but any car will have problems around the motorcross track that is Sebring. The plan is to sort the car here and be ready to attack with it in Wisconsin so all in all everything went to plan for the most part.
The LMP guys however had a much more “interesting” race compared to the GT squad. For starters, leading driver in the car Matt Strand was sick with the flu all week and finally became healthy enough to put his first laps in during qualifying. It was no surprise when he qualified 8th in class 2.7 seconds off pole really. The main problem being the flu was going around in that car. Mike Smulcheski also came down with it and he was to share the 1st half of the race with Strand. Kevin Brents would be flying in from another race but with a plane delay he didn’t show up until about 7 hours into the race. With Smulcheski out sick Strand was left alone for the 1st 8 hours of the event on his own.
When he finally handed the car back over to Brents he had this to say “Yeah I feel pretty good really. Might just be adrenalin I’m not sure haha I’d get back into the car if the series would let me. It’s in Kevins hands now til the end so we should be able to pick up a couple more spots. I had a couple of lazy spins early on but otherwise I got into a great rythm and the Audi ran like clockwork.” Kevin had a fairly uneventful 4 hours in the car. He did run into a small visibility problem during a restart in which he was positioned at the back of the entire grid, just the way everybody crossed the line when the yellow came out. At the drop of the green for the restart a few cars up front checked up to avoid slower cars and smoke covered the now dark front straight.
In the end both cars managed to come home, mostly in 1 piece. The bonnet of the Porsche went missing at 1 point from a P2 car that put Benham around and gently into the tire wall about 8 hours in. The Audi guys brought the car home 4th in class and overall while the debut for the Porsche saw it net an 8th place result. Next up for the RDLMS is 10 hours from Road America June 17th.