This 1 off annual event hosted by sim-racing.org would prove to be the toughest race in Satellites sim racing history. The quality of talent and teams through out the field were unbelieveably strong. Luckily we’d really stepped up our game in the recent years and were welcoming the challenge that is La Sarthe. Going into qualifying we dropped Satellite hot shoe Ryan Walker into the car. Walker managed to put in a 3:19.498 which was good enough for 9th out of the 19 LMP1 machines and also less then 1 tenth out of 6th place! Considering that’s over 8.5 miles is unreal!! We were quite happy with the work we’d gotten done leading up to the race and felt confident going into it that we’d pick up a few spots through consistency and strategy as we always did.
What we didn’t account for was the pure ruthlessness of the 8.5 mile Lemans circuit. The race started out easy enough. Ryan had a small moment in the Porsche curves in the opening 45 minutes which required him to come in for minor repairs but we didn’t even lose a lap. Once we calmed Ryan back down he went out and ran a flawless stint from there on and got back to 14th overall by time he handed the car over. Next up would be Jeff Cable who continued the charge forward with a fairly uneventful stint. Jeff would work his way up to 9th by time he got out a couple hours later handing over to Davy Benham. Davy had an unfortunate mishap in his opening stint which threw the car way out of whack for a couple hours before there was a yellow and the crew could fix it. It wasn’t a massive issue as we only lost 2 laps from the whole ordeal so well within striking distance as the race goes on. Then the night came…
Our car was not ready for the frigidly cold temperatures moving through France in the middle of June. When the track temps started to go away, so did our handling. As Walker finished up his driving duties for the night and handed over it became a massive effort in just surviving. Fortunately for us we came with a cornucopia of spares but by time day break came up we were starting to run out of parts to replace with. The high speed shot of Matt Strand in the Porsche curves tearing the front end off became a common site for our car during the night
The entire field was struggling with the massively lower then predicted temperatures though and just and hour before day break we were still in 10th position. The struggles continued however even as light started to appear over the horizon. The problem wasn’t visibility itself through the dark. We just could not get any heat into the tires at all no matter what compound we ran. Eventually as the track temperatures started to come up as did our consistency and things started to settle down. There was still 9 hours remaining when we had our final on track incident with Strand having 1 last disagreement with the armco coming out of Arnage. Unfortunately by this point the car had slipped another spot to 11th with 12th going by as the repairs were being finished. Now that the team was out of spare noses to put on the car the drivers were instructed “if you crash, don’t bring it back we have no tools” which is exactly what the drivers needed to temper themselves finally.
In the end we somehow had the car in 13th position when the checkard flag flew about 20 laps back of the race winning Independence SimRacer team in their Creation CA06. Even though we had everything from flat tires, ripped the nose off (multiple times), engine issues, rebuilt computers driver swap mishaps etc and we still managed to finish in 13th position is a solid result considering what we went through to get there. It’s disappointing at the same time though and we’re definetly looking to improve upon it for the RDLMS 24 hour coming up in 2 weeks at the same circuit. We’ll have the Audi out again (the work horse that it is) and we’ll have the GT2 Porsche back running also.