Round 3 of the Racedepartment RDLMS series proved to be a turning point for us. This race marked the halfway point and final test in the lead up to the big 24 hour in France in just 1 months time. Both cars were coming into the event with new driver line ups and new bits we’d found from testing after the 12 hours in Sebring. The added testing and preperation going into Road America was evident as the Audi R10 was now under a second off pole and qualified in 4th position with Alex Sturm, Satellite new comer, behind the wheel. The GT2 Porsche with another new Satellite pilot at the helm was Luke Walsh, qualified in the 5th position in the ultra competitive GT2 category. Jeff Cable would also be returning after a brief absence to partner with Luke and Davy in the GT2 while the Strand/Smulcheski duo will partner up with Alex in the LMP.
Both cars ran a relatively clean race with no major issues. The race as a whole was much cleaner then the traffic jams in Silverstone and Sebring. The biggest task even still with the bigger more spread ot nature of Road America was timing your runs through pockets of traffic. If the LMP car caught a pack of GTs going into the carousel it could ruin the lap by up to 6 seconds depending on the density of them. The new lineup in GT was having to deal with overly ambitious LMP2 cars as well which were all struggling on the long straights here but still had plenty of corner speed. This meant a lot of dive bomb moves but Luke, a seasoned endurance multi class veteran, Jeff the same, and Davy now with a hectic Sebring race under his belt all coped with it accordingly.
There was a minor hiccup on the Audi about 4 hours into the race with a faulty alternator. The team quickly came in and swapped out the errant part but did lose 3 laps in the process. The GT guys had a radio situation while Luke was driving which left his mic stuck wide open. It became difficult for the team to communicate with him regarding strategy unless the radio button jiggled into just the right position for a change to shut Lukes mic off. The raw pace in the Porsche was not there but with nothing more then a couple of small spins from either driver error or errant LMP drivers the GT2 guys had a clean and consistent run. The next step for them is getting the speed of the front running cars and combining it with the consistent and clean run they had in Wisconsin. The Audi guys had a similar type of race with no major issues other then the faulty alternator which was swapped out immediately. Still with the rest of the field running clean all race long both the R10 and GT2 came home in 4th position. Disappointed to have podiums that close for both cars but definite improvements on both sides as well. Next up for the Endurance guys is the sim-racing.org 24 hours of Lemans on June 29-30. We were only cleared to run the R10 which will prove to be vital testing for the final round of the Racedepartment RDLMS series July 13-14. There are some slight rule difference so the car will not be identical for each race but it should still help. Plus, who doesnt like running Lemans for 24 hours within 2 weeks of each other? Ahh the joys of sim racing and quick turn around. stay tuned!