Over a month Ago, (37 Days to be exact), Season 13 for season 3, 2020 wrapped up, all the fun toy were put away, and it was time to get down to some serious racing.
Season 4, 2020 would mark Kabort's One Year Anniversary of entering the Endurance Le Mans Championship, so hopes were up - but prior to this, there were a few Special Events compete in! The first (of two) was the Intercontinental Sim Racing Challenge, a highly-competitive endurance racing league for those who have 1,500 iRating and above utilising the LMP1, (new) Dallara LMP2 car as well as the entire roster of IMSA GTE cars, testing even the most skilled of Racing Drivers. Below is the ten-race calendar that Kabort's finest would be up against
21/09/2020 - Robin Off To University
26/09/2020 - 8 Hours of Spa & Bathurst 1000km (Kabort Korea Finishing 14th)*^~
17/10/2020 - 6 Hours of Nurburgring
14/11/2020 - 6 Hours of Monza
05/12/2020 - 1500 miles of Sebring
16/01/2021 - 6 Hours of Road America
13/02/2021 - 6 Hours of Interlagos
13/03/2021 - 6 Hours of Twin Ring Motegi
10/04/2021 - 24 Hours of Le Mans
*Bathurst 1000km Kabort Bronze Team: Jay An | Kyle Jeong | Ho Chul Shin | Yun Min Choi | Dong Gyu Kim ^ Arron Brown would do this event with "24 Hour Racing" and get a DNF in one, and a 4th in the other. Kabort would do the endurance race(s) on this weekend
~ Did I mention The Kabort Truck was finished on this day?
ISRC 8hrs Spa
After a short and brief discussion, it was agreed that Ex-Driver Twan Van De Beld would drive for his own (ex-team, now) team, Sonic Racing.
Kabort would qualify their LMP2 car 16th in class, (18th total, with x2 LMP1's on overall pole) whilst the GTE entry would start from 20th - Sonic's Twan Van De Beld qualifying 0.301 seconds slower than us in 21st.
Other familiar faces on the grid included RSR Esport - Once Kabort's "father" team, where we stemmed from.
It was a race to forget for Kabort's GTE entry, as bent steering on lap one, followed by a T-Bone and rear-end shunt quickly put them out of all contention and the race... It was down to the LMP squad....
They were fortunate enough to bring the car home in more pieces than the GTE was in finishing in a respectable 14th in class after a tough day out.
After one race, the standings are as follows:
The next race is on the 17th October (this coming weekend) and with Kabort being slightly lower in the standings than they would've liked, it's all about playing catch-up for the rest of the season. Team Sonic (now "Keyboard Racing") is also on 0 Points - this should play out to be a very exciting rivalry!
Petite Le Mans - October 2nd - 4th 2020
WELCOME TO OCTOBER!!! THE SPOOKIEST MONTH OF ALL!!!
As I always say, a new month brings new opportunities and thus far in October, this couldn't be more true!
The last endurance race special event of 2020 was the Petite Le Mans on the 10th October.
The 10 hour race held at Road Atlanta was an absolute success for both of Kabort's entries - an LMP2 being planned too, but later scrapped due to prior commitments from one of the drivers.
Porsche 911 RSR GTE (K1)
Lars Bachmann (GER) | Tim Perry (GBR) | Max Thorne (GBR)
Q: 13th (32nd Overall) R: 7th (20th Overall)
Chevrolet Corvette (K2)
Berkley Cox (USA) | Daniel Weber (GER)
Q: 13th (32nd In Overall)
R: 12th (26th In Overall)
10 hours later and the Porsche 911 (K1) car finished in a remarkable P7 whilst K2 (Chevvy) finished in P12 even after an engine explosion tried to hamper their progress - it was a great day!
Endurance Le Mans Series (S4, 2020)
The Season 4, 2020 season kicked off on the 26th and 27th of September at Sebring. Despite the inaugural race of the ISRC as well as Bathurst was on this weekend, we still managed to have a pretty impressive three entries - two LMP2's and a singular GTE and the drivers of these cars were:
Robert Land Q: 7th R: 10th
LMP2 (K6) (Same Split As K4)
Tom Van Den Pol
Spencer Kemble Q: 14th R: 14th GTE (K4) (Same Split As K6)
Samuel Thurtell Berkley Cox
Q: DSQ R: 7th In Class (23rd Overall)
Back in Europe, Truswell annoyed some French residents by "hooning" a V8 Supercar around - even when he was the only competitor - giving him and Kabort a dominant - pole, fastest lap and race win.
The following race that followed this was Circuit Gilles Villeneuve - which as fun as a street track is, it's not quite the same peculiarity that Le Mans Offers. Melbourne, Adalaide, Circuit Gille Villnerve, Detroit At Belle Isle (27th Oct) and dare I say it a bit of Mount Panorama - offer a "different slice of the same cake" - tight, technical, sudden turns, no runs offs...tightly packed. I'm not saying these tracks are easy or anything, just that they offer the same type of racing, but with V8 Supercars which don't traditionally go to Le Mans (in sim on in Real Life) because it's 90% or so flat out - it's a unique challenge - and I think it being on the same weekend as Petite and me entering a late race (past 21:00) was the perfect combination of pure silence and not a soul wanting to race - it's like arriving at a hotel swimming pool to find yourself the only one there - a secret success...
Endurance Le Mans Series Round 2: Road America
The second race of the Endurance Le Mans Series really deserves its own blog, but, already with UniBlog, I don't want to create any more spin-offs. For us, Road America was absolutely massive - from the cars entered to the results we got, to what happend after - Road America could have been turned into it's own "KABORT: Drive To Survive" episode it was that wild.
The weekend started off with a massive road-trip carrying all the trucks and gear from Sebring to Road America - a road trip-crossing 4 states and taking over a day, passing sites such as Road Atlanta, Indianapolis, a town called "Gary", Lake Michigan and more!
Some may wonder why we didn't just load the cars on a plane and fly them over - and despite having access to a DHL plane or two, we would not have seen the beautiful country that is the United States - taking the slow lane really allows you to take it all in...plus trucks use up less fuel/money than planes do - saving us money, and the environment an extra plane in the sky - lecture over.
It's within this gap where I inform you that due to a certain sequence of events, which I shall not go into detail due to the circumstances which followed, which we ended up with a few more individuals than we did - the individuals involved we will simply refer to as "SRRS"
The 07:00 saw a hive of activity - not just from Kabort, but from quite a fair few other drivers too..
From Kabort, the first to hit the track was the dynamic duo of newbie Daniel Harris (hired from the Forum) and Andy Jones, both sharing the LMP2 car (T2), in addition to Lars Bachmann and rarely-seen Scandinavian Thomas Jensen who also were in an LMP2 Car (T1) For Andy, Qualifying would go average, qualifying 16th in class, yet for Lars, it seemed that he had consumed a rather large amount of Bottas-Certified-Porridge (BCP) only whacking it on pole for one of Kabort's first front-row starts in endurance racing, with an absolutely flying 1:50.674
Kabort T2 (Andy & Daniel)
however two hits at the same corner (Canada Corner) would result in an unfortunate retirement. As the Kabort car made its way back to the paddock on the flat-bed, Andy had the following to say in an interview:
"we're having a proper shocker - another 20mins repairs. Can't quite believe how badly it's going ! I hate to leave without at least one good stint but it could be time to pull down the garage door on this one"
he later added
"The (repairs) would've taken us to the back of the runners, There's been something up with the car for most of the race it seemed to me, I had a moderate contact on lap 1 and just couldn't find the groove at all"
however, we would get paid back for this...big time.
Kabort T1 (Lars & Thomas)
From inside the cockpit itself, here's Thomas Jensen's perspective of T1's Race -
"Lars just had a good start and pulled away. First stint he gained 15 or so seconds from P2, the next it was up to 45. I got in and lead got up to 1m and 15 sec, and kept going that way. we had good traffic management I guess, and had no "big" moment. we just had to hold it safe to win. we did that and won by a lap. could have been better, as we had some optionals. Pit Entry Bumb and a mount on a kerb..." Yes, you did just hear that correctly - KABORT MOTORSPORT JUST WON THEIR FIRST RACE!!!!!
It's a feeling that no gif or image can do any justice - just all the hard work myself (and now Andy) has put in over the past year, making all the hard work, hardship and pain, effort, late nights, money spent all totally worth it! A win will always be special - but the first - the first always has a special place in my heart - especially as I got to witness it with my very own eyes, and here is that very moment.
Just a quick shout-out to absolutely everyone who made this possible - including Lars Bachmann who did the deed and crossed the line a lap ahead of the field on the final lap of the race in first position - I knew Kabort had it in us to win, we just needed to find the right person, and the right time and the right team to win - and after a year of scratching heads and a fair few disappointments and controversy and even a whole re-branding, the time came for Kabort to stand on the podium, loud and proud. The celebrations did certainly go long into Saturday and touched Sunday Morning, much to the displeasure of the other hotel guests.
Saturday evening saw the most action out of the three days for Kabort - on this occasion, we had three entries: K2 - (GTE)
Daniel Weber Tim Perry Q: 13th (36th Overall) R: 1st (15th Overall)
Berkley Cox Sam Thurtell
Q: 7th (29th Overall) R: DNF/18th
Spencer Kemble Tom Van De Pol
Q: 41st R: 9th The Race
Room 414 at The Shore Club Wisconsin was occupied Daniel Weber and Tim Perry who had been spending the day hanging out at the track, (and celebrating with the team too) and they too had Bottas-Certified Porridge - but this time for dinner!
Despite a poor qualifying, all hope was not lost. Daniel and Tim may've known they were strong...but had no idea how strong they were - here's Kabort K2 Driver Tim Perry on how he bought home Kabort's Second win in a single weekend.
"On a sunny autumnal day, Kabort drivers Dan Weber and Tim Perry took the Corvette C8.R GTE for a 6 hour race around Road America in the prestigious EMLS Series.
Hopes were high with Tim Perry setting some blistering laps in practice but as with most things involving Kabort, not everything went to plan.
Perry took the car for qualifying but a spin on his first "banker" lap meant his second lap was not as fast as it could be which left Karbort P14 in the mid pack. This should not of proved a problem however with the ever reliable Dan Weber taking the first double stint. Things again would take a turn for the worst though. 2 mistakes, a high speed off at the kink, followed by a spin at Canada corner left the now trademark luminous 'Vette in last place and only 20 seconds from being lapped...Kabort fans around the track were starting to give up hope, especially after the morning's stellar LMP2 Performance. Kabort would now receive their first piece of luck, the damage from the high speed off was only minor and with the pace of the car being good, the team proceeded with a fuel only stop and raced on without taking the optional repairs. Weber had finally found his groove and a much improved second stint saw the car handed over to Perry in P12, still on the lead lap.
Things did not start well for Perry with an LMP2 car forcing him wide on his outlap at turn 15 but luckily only cost a few seconds.
Kabort drivers never give up though and as Perry turned up the heat, the other teams started to wilt.
Bad traffic management saw several teams taken out by lapping LMP2 cars and a few more by simple mistakes.
At the end of his first stint Perry was now in P5, another fuel only stop saw the still damaged Kabort car leap up to 4th place. An overtake on track for 3rd place and further searing lap times from Perry, left the Kabort pair eyeing an unlikely podium. As Perry closed in on P2, setting the fastest lap of the race which would stand till the end, they spun and left Kabort in P2 and looking good on strategy. With his stints done Perry handed the car over to Weber with the hopes of a possible podium finish. The drama was not over though.
P1 were struck with technical difficulties, dropping them a lap behind. The Kabort pairing had also planned their strategy perfectly so when P2 had to make an extra stop for fuel it suddenly left the team with a possible win.
All Dan Weber had to do was bring the car home. Always much easier said than done.
The pressure was immense but Weber nursed the car home perfectly, allowing the LMP2 cars plenty of room and keeping the car on track with zero mistakes. A truly great drive under pressure.
As news spread of the victory, congratulations poured in from across the whole team and the drivers shared a well earned beer with team founder Robin and an incredibly sweaty principal Andy.
From last to first, Kabort always seem to have to do things the hard way. Quite frankly......we wouldn't have it any other way.
From their dominant performance in the 07:00 race to one of the most unlikely underdog stories in the 6pm race - Saturday 10th October was Kabort's day as they stole the show in style and it truly does highlight that no matter how bad things get - if you try hard enough - you can make your own luck.
With Weber, Perry, Bachmann and 14 Year Old Jensen all consuming masses amount of alcohol, they all stumbled into the motorhome and partied on.... Also on track was Kabort K4 and K6 - both with incredibly different stories - from 7th, Kabort K4 faced incredibly tough luck and a few minor/major crashes before being brake-checked into Canada Corner, the amount of damage ultimately ending their race....
Meanwhile, For K6 - They were drinking as much booze as the winners were - climbing 32 positions over 6 hours to claim a well-earnt Top 10 finish!
The Sun rose for the last day of what seemed to be an (almost) perfect weekend for Kabort Motorsport - the last of the beers had been been finished, some random Finnish men were slumped over the motorhome floor, and even the DJ had headed home in a rather questionable state.
Finishing up Kabort's Dream Weekend was the fearsome trio of Dutchman Tijmen Berends alongside brits Max Thorne and Adam Pearce - all three with plenty of endurance experience previously - and ready to put up a fight.
This race however, was special. An old frenemy Eleven9 Motorsport was in the same split. Could Kabort make it a hat-trick of wins or had Kabort used up all its luck? Qualifying P14 left the trio in high spirits for the race....jand with Eleven9's South down in 21st - it was certainly going to be an interesting race.
Tijmen made an incredible start - launching up to 6th by the end of his double stint from 14th on the Grid.
A swift change with Max Thorne retained Kabort's position and keeping up with Tijmen's pace - even making a brief apperance in the top three...but disaster was about to strike....
Max pushed too hard. Overcooking it, the car needed 2 minutes (120 secs) of repairs, a quick repair job the mechanics thought, they'd release the car out back in 15th, it was going to be a long old struggle back up through the field - but Kabort are used to Long Old Struggles, and that's exactly where they flourished - With Max voluntarily withdrawing from the rest of the race, it was up to Tijmen and Adam to haul the LMP2 through the field.
After somehow dragging the car all the way up to 4th place from 15th, the worst possible luck struck them like a lightning bolt - their V8 Dallara Engine blew - and with it the chance of a podium or good result, Kabort had Eleven9 "under control" up until this point, before all their hard work that they'd put in went - quite literally up in smoke.
The car was already on its way into the pit-lane, but the atmosphere was of an incredibly sombre one as Adam trudged down the pit-lane towards a devastated and distraught crew - a Dallara representative approached me not long after and asked if the engine could be remove for a full investigation using analytics and diagnostics to find the route cause.
It's safe to say that the flight back to the UK was a quiet one at that, either the GTE Mechanics and crew were sleeping 2-Races-worth of hangovers, or they had just witnessed the LMP2 Pull to a stop. What I did know was that in this light, the trophies shone a little less than they previously did. I wasn't upset at Dallara, the team or the drivers - I was just gutted that the engine couldn't hold out for another 20 or so laps and we couldn't end it on a high.
But I'm also POSITIVE that this is the start of something new - never before has Kabort had a win - let alone TWO in one weekend, and with a drop week or two, all hope of a good championship finish - and finishing closely (either behind or ahead) to Eleven9 is still not off the cards!
Tune into Kabort on the 17th October for Round 2 of the ISRC at The Nurburgring. With home-town hero Daniel Weber behind the wheel alongside fellow winner Tim Perry in the GTE and some big names including Jones, Thorne, Bachmann and Pearce in the LMP2 - Can Kabort make a comeback at The Ring....or will The Green Hell claim another victim? Find out in the next one!
Non-Race Related News
Some of our other cars have been getting some love! - Tim Perry requested new Porsche 911 Cup Livery From Painter
- Adam Pearce finished & uploaded LMP1. This will hopefully be used by our Koreans
- Robert's been enjoying taking scenic shots of the V8 Holden
- Sam's been helping us get famous across the pond