Updated: Jun 1, 2020
The final race of the season, we have been waiting anxiously for 12 weeks for this moment...and it's now finally here. And what a weekend we were about to have.. GTE Saturday Marco the madman qualifies for us. He, other than Felix Nicol (who was taking a break due to a trip abroad), is the only one left remaining in "Kabort Gold" - the usually faster of the two GTE's. The LMP1 would be running on Sunday.
Miraculous Marco qualified us on 5th place - Row 3! This was a new record position for Kabort Motorsport, even beating the LMP1 that qualified 6th in Le Mans!
The safety (pace) car pulls into the pits, the rolling convoy prepares themselves.... the lights go green, and the race is underway, Marco knows he can't try anything stupid into turn one, especially as there's 6 hours of racing to go...so he sits tight...
remarkably the driver in second place (originally 3rd) out-brakes himself, and hits the 1st placed driver, sending both himself, and the the (then) pole-sitter spearing off wide - the BMW in second having a nasty dose of over-steer before snapping into a spin.
Though the pole-sitter survived by only going wide, the momentum was lost, and the position was given.
From this point Marco led the race, and due to the proximity to the driver behind, who was keeping us honest, we asked him to do a double stint. 2 hours and 30 minutes of leading later, Marco came into to swap with Tim. A further 24 minutes later the unthinkable happened.... being in darkness, it could have been due to fatigue or other cause, Tim or missed his braking point, and went wide at the final corner, over the cold (26°C), bumpy, slippery concrete the rear stepped out...and all Tim could do was await the impact...and sure it came...thud. All of the hard work escaping from the damaged car... Fortunately he was only a few hundred meters away from the pit-entry, so could just limp it in...but the car was in a sorry state. We pushed her into the garage and spent 10 minutes fixing her up as best as we could.
Robin emerged from the pits in 36th place - rock bottom last....it was about to be a long old race.
but we slowly picked them off one by one and managed a 28th place...we packed the truck and left for the UK in the early hours of Monday morning.
Endurance Le Mans Series, Sebring, Week 6
Q: GTE: 5TH! (Marco Marrozi)
R: GTE: 28th
F: 32 (Including LMP1)
LMP1 - Sunday
For the first time in Kabort's history, we ran 3 LMP1's....I'm still trying to process the fact that we ran multiple cars on multiple days. Hopefully this will be a more common occurrence in the future.
Our Sunday heroes were:
Kabort LMP1 Gold
Yu Sung Yune (S. Kor)
Yoonho Jung (S. Kor)
Jaehan An (S. Kor)
Kabort LMP1 Bronze Chang Mun Ryu (S. Kor)
Jae Heon Bang (S. Kor) Kabort Motorsport LMP1 (Black)
John Taylor (USA)
Aitor Sintes-Galindo (ESP)
It was a poor qualifying, as all three finished 7th, 8th and 9th - last in class (Gold being the fastest, and Black being the slowest). Qualifying can never tell the result of the race, especially in one as long 6 hours...
All three unfortunately lost positions off the line, Gold only dropping one place, Bronze dropping 2 and Black also losing 2. Despite this, they were all very close to each other's vicinity...at first this was good, as the leading driver (Gold) could split the sea of GTE's for the other two following...until lap 6....
they were all within 5 seconds of each-other, Yu Sung Yoon was hunting down Jae Heon Bang...down the back straight they went, into the final corner they go, Yu Sung uses boost to close the gap between the cars, Jae keeps his car in the middle of the track, Yu Sung goes right, Jae Heon drifts ever so slighly to the right, Yu Sung is on the inside of Jae as the barrier closes in....he's in between a rock and a hard place...they make contact. Yu Sung's Left front and Jae's right rear...Jae is spun into the wall whilst Yu Sung is left with major damage, and hobbles to the other side of the circuit gently kissing the barrier. Jae somehow got away with next to no drama...whereas Gold was forced to retire.
Black didn't escape drama either...after regaining the positions lost of the first 5 or 6 laps, Black entered the Top 10... all was looking ok...until John's brake pedal stopped working. He was able to get it into the pits however. Wit Joao away and John's brake pedal severely broken, Getu was all on his own, and had nobody to continue the race with. An incident with a GTE was the final blow, and was forced to retire.
The one remaining Kabort LMP1 car in the race was the Gold, and after struggling the whole race, the team somehow managed to get her home in 28th.
Despite the obvious negatives, there were also positives to bring out of this....that our car was fine - we HAVE a race winning car, and good enough drivers, just a little bit more practice is required, the teams too - of 16 drivers (15 with a "B" licence) 11 of them competed at some point during the weekend - leaving only 4 not competing due to certain reasons. For a team in their second season of racing, that is truly not half bad.
It also showed us what team-work could do, Monday.com (not sponsored) significantly helped us during that weekend in planning and knowing what we had to do. After the Kabort Kafuffle a month ago, we lost some very good, significant drivers, but I truly believe that we have bounced back - and in some ways - are better than before (experience, knowledge etc.).
Endurance Le Mans Series, Sebring, Week 6
ET: 44 (Not including "Team Yu Sung Yune") P: NLC
Q: Gold: 7th (Yu Sung Yune)| Bronze: 8th (Jae Heon Bang)| Black: 9th John Taylor
R: Gold: 28th (5th in Class) | Bronze: DNF | Black: DNF
On a final note, I must thank every single one of my iRacing friends - either those within or Ex-Kabort, or those I met whilst practicing , thank you for making my first whole year on iRacing and absolutely unforgettable one.
To say I had a blast on this service would truly be an understatement -
Thank you all for everything, and sorry if I ever have upset you whilst racing, Robin.