Well the past month has been a very eventful one! In my previous blog I announced that I would be racing in the prestigious Nurburgring 24hour race in a Jaguar XF.
The Nurburgring 24 hour is commonly regarded as the toughest 24hour race in the world. Having done the event once before I knew what I was letting myself in for apart from the fact that it was a team of 3 drivers as opposed to 4 the last time I did it and in a far quicker car so I knew that it’d be a grueling task.
The last time I drove the 15.7 mile circuit was in 2008 so I felt a little rusty, despite the copious amount of laps I did on the XBox!!
With the lap time being around 10 minutes and sharing a car with 3 drivers it was difficult to get more than 2 laps in at a time in practice or qualifying without having to do a driver change as the sessions were quite short.
Qualifying was held over a daytime session and a night time session. All drivers had to do a stint in each. We were fairly steady in qualifying coming in 140th out of 200 cars. Not getting a clear lap in the day and the lights on the car for the evening session needed some tweaking (to say the least!) which stopped us from posting a quicker time.
After a decent night’s sleep we lined up on the grid for the start of the race. This was something to behold in it self. With a public grid walk the track was absolutely heaving with an approximated 200,000 people cramming on there! The car was re prepped and extra headlights added and we were all raring to go…
On the lead up to the race I made sure I was fully hydrated with the High5 sports supplements and also made sure that my 2 team mates were too. We needed to remain alert for the entire race as sleep would be difficult, grabbing an hour here or there at best.
The race started well and before we knew it we were running 95th. I took my first stint at around 8pm. We worked it in 2 hour stints so I was on track every 4 hours. The first stint went really well and when I brought it in we were running 78th. Everything was running smoothly and according to plan until the end of my second stint. As soon as I took over the car at 2am I could feel that there was something ‘knocking’ in the front of the car. I reported it back to pits but the team thought it was an inconspicuous problem and as it wasn’t hampering performance we carried on with it. Driving this track in the pitch black required absolute concentration to keep the pace up and to manage with the traffic – we were plum in the middle, so far quicker than some cars but far slower than others so that made our lives that little bit harder!
Around 1 mile from the end of my stint the car stuttered to a halt. Luckily, I got towed to the old pits where the team came out with a can of diesel and refueled the car… Somehow I had managed to stay out for 1 lap too long! Doh!! Although an inconvenience this turned out to be a blessing in disguise: when bleeding the fuel system, the team noticed a couple of broken engine mounts and other damage due to the engine moving around too much.
Within 20 minutes I was back into the garage where the team did a sterling job of fixing the issues, only losing around 2 hours in the process.
This hold up dropped us back to 120th overall but the good news was that the car felt like new and was on top form.
For the rest of the race the car ran faultlessly (apart from another running out of fuel issue … ooo00ps!!) and we were on a mission, dragging ourselves up the order and eventually finishing 92nd overall. We took a class victory with me crossing the and taking the chequered flag.
What a great feeling of achievement!!!!!
I could not fault the team or my teammates. We all pulled together and had a fantastic result off the back of it.
It was a race of high attrition and being alert and consistent was key. The training I have been putting in on the Felt F4 and the help from the High5 supplements helped me keep the focus and stamina required to get the car to the finish and also come home with the quickest lap of our team (I’m not competitive at all, honest!!)
To come away with a victory in class just put the icing on the cake for us all and has left me hungry for more endurance stuff…
Next up is the Silverstone 24hours where I’m currently looking for a drive and I have high hopes of making the grid.
If I do, it would be nice to be aiming for an overall win and not just a class win… Watch this space!
P.S. I did take the Felt with me to ride around the circuit but it was mayhem all the time we were there so didn’t get the chance to ride. Although I did see that they hold cycle races there so I am looking to see when these events are, with a view to entering and seeing the track from a totally different perspective!