Updated: Jan 26, 2020
After the fortnight of success that Kabort Motorsport had – at Bathurst, Petite Le Mans and the ELMS race at Barcelona, this past weekend (12 – 13 Nov.) was definitely one to forget, and a clear example of how bad my organisation can be. Jimmy Broadbent's "Race For Mental Health", Zolder 24 Hours
William came to my house on Friday and was present at my address as I came home from running a errand, it was absolutely hammering it down. We got all his equipment in the house, somehow without soaking it – we were both pleased to see each other and excited for what the weekend had in store. By this point, I should have just double checked with the team that everything was perfectly in order and we were ready to go, but instead I practiced at Zolder, as well as looking at other things.
The setup we had, was leaps and bounds over what I originally had, and fit for a 24-hour race. From the usual single screen, Will added another. This was roughly the same as my own. This gave us many opportunities – one screen for iRacing, another for Discord, Spotify (not sponsored) and other social media. In addition to this, we also had a webcam, so that we could stream or faces/reactions throughout the whole of the 24 hours. He also bought a very comfortable (and high quality) headset with an external microphone.
He finally bought a Logitech G29 wheels and pedals, yet did not bring a vital cable which allowed the force feedback to be functional.
When Will came over earlier week, he encouraged me to left-foot brake. After a couple of laps, I got used to this, and I must say, this did help my efficiency (hopefully speed too, but I didn’t check).
Having access to my (mother’s) car, I should already be able to do this – yet with a racing car, plastic pedals and the TCR’s interesting braking habits (being a front wheel drive) it took a little getting used to, but I managed.
Time rolls on, and at 10pm, after a delicious meal cooked by the Kabort Cook, I was ready to do some night practice. And then I received a call.
A close friend of mine needed serious help, and quickly, and with one phone in the kitchen charging, one phone by the PC (which was very low on charge) and Will already using the headset, I was dashing to and fro. Less than 10 minutes later, I left.
I sorted my friend, and after a very late night, I returned. Despite the severity of the situation I had to attend, I was still incredibly bummed that I had been such a bad host, welcoming someone in before dashing off for multiple hours. This time could have been spent practicing. I know it sounds incredibly bad (of me) to even consider a friend in desperate need and a 24 Hour iRacing race on the same caliber, but with the fact that Will had been putting hard hours into practice, and came a long way for this weekend, you can begin to see where I am coming from.
I had set up an (uncomfortable) camp-bed downstairs, so that we could jump from sleep to the car in a matter of seconds – and Will spent the night here, whilst I went upstairs and slept in my king-sized bed. This was the last moment I felt relaxed.
Morning arose, and after checking discord, I wondered downstairs, Will was already on the computer, messing around with setups or something. I had breakfast.
Since sorting out my friend the previous night, I had forgotten where I had placed my phone, and having already lost my wallet, (which had vital cards in) I started to get a little annoyed with myself. I checked the places where it could be, asked my dad, and looked everywhere. This was important as my do mobile banking, an in order to make a transaction, you need a OTP – One Time Passcode. I had another phone, yet the sim-card reader was ruined, and therefore couldn’t receive texts/calls.
With the race looming, and Will overhearing everything, and practice being needed, in addition to the worry about my friend, and the friend that I have lost (#BlueForDrew) stress was at an all time high. The devastating thing was that whilst I was hopelessly searching for my phone, I wasn’t on discord – I wasn’t making the final preparations.
The time came for the start of the race, and with a semi-finalised stint schedule printed out, the five of us – Me, Will, Joseph, Jaehan and Gas were all pumped and ready to go.
We were all in the server, and qualifying was coming up.
Qualifying went alright, and so did the start, not too messy and there was a decent gap to keep the cars clean.
Shortly into the race, it was found out that Jimmy (the host) had disallowed/not ticked driver swaps, which meant nobodies team could get into the race, only the current driver. Jimmy quickly realised this, slammed on the anchors (we saw his car) and went to sort this issue.
Eventually everybody left the server, finding out what had happened – leaving us in a glorious 6th place.
We too left the server, and rejoined Jimmy’s new server which allowed driver swaps. This session started 30 minutes later, yet was only 23 hours long to compensate for the time difference. We did qualifying and qualified 13th. Unlucky for some, disastrous for others. This totally screwed up our stint schedule – as half an hour to an hour had passed, yet the session was 23 hours. To make matters worse, Joseph couldn’t enter the new session, meaning we had a driver down. Joseph would end up in playing a key role in the outcome of this event.
During the gap between the two sessions, I decided to inform my dad about the situation with the delay, and he understood – but all he wanted to talk about was my phone, where I last left it/used it the timeline of events leading up to me losing it – and I have the memory of a goldfish – I remember NOTHING, and with a 24 Hour race also to think about, this was unneeded stress. I know I lost it, I can’t remember about the events leading up to it, and quite frankly, at this very moment in time, I couldn’t give a sh*t. (Sorry dad). But I think it was the constant talking – from when I first started looking, to the moment I found it in my kitchen, that would be all he would talk about. I understand that he was trying very hard to help me, and all were valuable questions, but please, within 12 hours of a 24 hour endurance race starting, I don’t need the stress. I would also like to point out the fact that I was given the “this is what you look like” treatment. Yes I know – I am stressed because one of my friends died last month, I lost my wallet last month, college is hard, I am currently finding availability for a job, I manage a racing team that (half) like me and I am about to do a 24 hour endurance race. Please, give me some space and time. I am working on it.
All I have to add to this is that I am so glad that I submitted two large pieces of work previously, otherwise something very bad would happen.
The first couple of laps were a little bit messy for everybody, but that’s common for a race with 60 cars.
As the race wore on, we realised that it was not just first-lap-nerves or racing in a tight pack, these guys couldn’t actually drive. From punts to dive-bombs to questionable overtakes, the GT1 field wasn’t to be messed with – or raced with – or in fact driven with. The two cars Jimmy chose were an “interesting” choice. Both had the “new tyre model” which was recently implemented into the game – making the cars handle differently, yet more realistically. The TCR has been one of the newest implemented cars, and being a front wheel drive, it can sometimes be a little bit “much”. The GT1’s were incredibly fast and easy to drive, so with this combination of incredibly slow and fast, incidents do happen – but this was more incident, after incident, after incident – we were getting pummeled, but the TCR held on strong. Also in the session were some incredibly big names – Jimmy Broadbent (the host), Tyson Meir (Twitch Streamer), Rory Alexander (YouTuber), Emily Jones (Twitch Streamer), as well as Steen Ledger, a guy I have known for a while.
It may be because of this much publicity, or the fact there was no entry requirements other than owning a car and the track, that people started to mess about. The bad luck continued when Jaehan, (our Bathurst 1000KM, South Korean superhero) got into the car. The stint started very well and healthy, but suddenly turned very ugly, very quickly. Jaehan was putting pressure on the driver ahead, but then his force feedback stopped working. Instead of pitting, he kept on driving – potentially doing more damage to the wheel – and eventually, his wheel base died – with no steering, he ploughed into the wall, bounced off it and came back onto the race track, into the path of a streamer. He was very sincere with his apology, which I give him huge credit for.
This was only a few to several hours into the race, so a comeback story was very possible. A good 15 or so hours passed with relatively little drama – bad driving standards? Yes. Deaths? No
Gas had to leave me and will at 03:00 – 05:00AM as he wanted to be awake for the ELMS which was later on the Sunday. At 07.00 or so I had breakfast. Come 5 hours left, I realised that I ran into a massive problem. It was nearing the afternoon, and Will had to head off within the next couple of hours as he had to get home, and didn’t want to get back too late, or too tired – or both.
With 4 hours remaining, and Will getting ready to leave, lunch being prepared and not very much motivation (Bar Getu, but I need more than that) I finally made the worst decision I could have made. I quit. We did not finish. 20 hours of solid, hard racing against some of the dirties racers I have played against (sorry but it’s the truth, I have only stuck to official) and we survived to the 20th hour and I just quit. The turning point was when Bailey (Jimmy’s team-mate) cleared our penalties/disqualification for the second time.
The first time we didn’t pit for repairs when we just did and the car was fully repaired, and the second we ran out of incident points. And not only ours, others too. I get that it’s a charity race, and just a bit of fun (sort of like a week 13 race) but I just take everything so gosh darn seriously, and if we get DSQ, then there’s a reason for that – if you clear penalties and incident points, then you are telling people “Hi, you now have 500 incident points. Knock yourself out!”
I am not saying that we SHOULD have been disqualified, or that the race should have been more serious, I’m just expressing my opinion on certain aspects, and why I feel certain ways.
All the time Will put in, all the time he spent, all the money he spent on equipment as well as fuel and food. All made pointless by some selfish, self-appointed “Team Principal”. I will be honest though, at that moment neither I nor will were prepared to race, Will accidentally took someone out by hopping over a kerb, and I had never done a 2 hour stint, let alone 4. Now, after a night’s sleep, I look back and despise myself for it – I just needed the motivation that I COULD do it, that I COULD get it to the end – the amount of money, time, energy and more all spent on this one event. I think I could have resumed; I mean for an hour at least
The final point I’d like to make is that we were off the pace. Yes, we qualified 13th, but that is a single lap – Usain Bolt is, sorry, was blisteringly quick in short distances – tell him to race Mo Farah in a marathon and Mo would absolutely demolish him, we were far off the pace in the race, it was nobody’s fault, we just couldn’t catch anyone – maybe the opposition was too good, or the AI Level was too high – or I took iRacing’s race “splits” system for granted and never realised how hard it could be. I think the word of the race was “aggressive” – from lap 1 the GT1’s (and possibly the TCR’s, but we didn’t see too much of them) were very aggressive, fighting each other very hard, shoving the back-markers out of the way like no tomorrow, and flashing so much I contracted epilepsy. My drivers too, I hate to say it, but there were times during that race, where they were pushing way too hard. Nobody likes to admit it, especially when the incidents are rolling in, but there’s a fine line between being “fast” and being “aggressive”. Being fast means you can pump out fastest lap after fastest lap, and begin to catch the guy in front, aggressive is anger you are putting a strain on the car, you are focusing your mind on anger, and though some think that aggressive is fast – which it can be, it can more often lead to more trouble than good.
I will not name those who I think were aggressive, as that is not the point of this post, I am not writing to point fingers and find blame, I just want to sort of go through everything, give a possible explanation why it could be. I’ve just had a rather tough weekend, and I just want to “explode into words” “get it all out”, just breath and release some stress, tension and general uncomfortableness.
After I and will announced the retirement, I did a mini version of this, just explain some of the things that could have been better, which didn’t EXACTLY go down very well, but I understood the comments and points they were making – and I purely think I was writing out of guilt, frustration (With myself) and a bit of sadness too (that we made it this far)
I didn’t get the best sleep on the camp-bed, it was decently comfortable (not super, but it did the job) but I just kept getting nightmares that I would miss my stint, or fall fast asleep and not hear Will. But I did get a couple of hours, though I was still tired.
We said goodbye to Will, and my dad returned to talk to me about my phone. I gave him the answers I could
But the weekend wasn’t sh*t enough.
Endurance Le Mans Series, Week 3, Spa Francorchamps
It was roughly 1pm or 2pm in the afternoon, and I wasn’t feeling overly bad about quitting the race – yes it was a difficult thing to do, but the full impact hadn’t quite struck me.
I sat down to do ELMS, dad laughed as I had just done an endurance race. Getu (Aitor) wanted to drive a GTE due to the lack of participation as Nicholas didn’t like Spa that much, Tim hadn’t been seen since the school term started. With Jaehan’s wheel broken, and Yu Sung Yoon available from the next race, LMP1 participation was at a minimum.
Then I fuck up again, I register into the session for Kabort Motorsport Gold (the slightly “faster” team), so I unregistered myself, yet the team was still in, then I tried to register Kabort Motorsport, but then I remembered that everyone is on “Kabort Motorsport Extra!”, which I am unable to remember if I registered. Whilst all of this is going on, I am analysing data from the previous season (when we did VRS Endurance). I see that we entered cars “Gold” and “Extra” – and with the Kabort Motorsport team also entered into an event, I get very confused. At this point it’s 16.45 – 15 minutes to the race start and we are still figuring out who’s in which car where doing which stint.
In the end Dave South is left in a car that is not running, left unable to quit. I like starting a session from half-past, so when I had the option of registering for Kabort Motorsport (with Extra and Gold already registered) at quarter past, I was in two minds, but I decided against it, because I didn’t want to be entered into the wrong team/session. During the race, one team had a moment when they had to ASK for a driver to drive – and ask me to produce a stint schedule. I had enough and pasted a screenshot of a schedule I made earlier.
Also in this period I found my phone, which was in the kitchen, hiding among pots of wooden utensils.
Eventually, without my interruption we finished P24 and P27. Nicholas stated I need to race more – which I have participated in the Spa 24 Hours, Bathurst 1000KM, Broadbent’s Race for mental health, Barcelona, and will be racing at Le Mans. The problem is – I am way off my teams pace, and therefore am very slow in comparison to them, which doesn’t make me feel super great. But as long as I am improving – weather that’s as a racing driver (braking points/racing line/techniques for racing), safety, lap-times, a businessman (shop, hiring drivers etc.), or person in general, that’s all that matters With these events over, my online banking fixed, my friend/s all alright after the incident, I can finally focus on what’s most important – college and smashing my Maths GCSE as well as my mental health, which has been strained through these stressful couple of days. But right now, as I am typing, I am not doing half bad.
So, on that note, I am going to wrap this up here. For those who have read, thank you so much. For those who have read this far down, it really means so much to me that someone cares for me as a person, and not just as a Virtual Team Principal over the internet. Stay well, look after yourself both mentally and physically,
And I will catch you in the next article
- Robin Truswell
P: No Laps Completed