Updated: Mar 27
Prologue - The Past It's mid-October, 2019 - Kabort is up and running and has a steadily growing community.
Before this point, I hadn't really bought up the questions of "Special Events".
In the year we were founded, we only managed to compete in the The Glen 6hrs (one car - 21st), The Spa 24 Hours (3 cars, 1 folded, 2 finished - My car 12th, Kabort Gold: 23rd), finishing up with the Bathurst 1000km with our fellow Koreans finishing 4th, and us an absolutely crazy 7th!
We'd also have a couple of runners in the Petite Le Mans, but at the time, this didn't interest me so much - these were:
GTE: Gold: 6th | Extra: 14th My post in October had quite some varied interest - but two shone out from the rest - the Spa 24 Hours with 5 votes, and The Daytona 24 Hours with 7.
Daytona has always been a "Go To" event - after the Petite Le Mans in October, it's the first (road) endurance race of the year - and very much a "it's a new year and a new start to this year's specials" type of event.
In 2020 (our debut year at the event), we had four entries - only one of whom made it to the end.
In my (team's) case, a driver joined the wrong team, and without being able to join him - or remove him from the team he was in - we were out before even starting the ignition. There were only three of us (who hadn't registered to a team) - it was myself and two Americans - meaning many stints and many grave-yard stints had we chosen to drive.
In a statement that year, the fault was down to myself.
"This was down to my naming of the teams. All the teams ... running are either abbreviations of initials or abbreviations of the nationalities of the drivers..."
These are very easy to forget and muddle up. "LITCANUSUK", "BRUKUS," "CAC" and "CANUKUS" are not real words and don't mean anything, and with some drivers having a language barrier to contend with, this is just a recipe for disaster. and (driver) accidentally joined the wrong one."
Another of our teams was subjected to an engine blow-up in the pit-lane (mid-race) - the final team (an escapee) finished 19th.
12 Months later and one major virus outbreak later, and we returned to Daytona.
With a complete re-brand, new team principal and new teams, things were looking on the up.
Come race day, we had four teams ready and raring to go.
With a brand spanking new Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo added to the service just a month prior - I too was VERY excited to drive this BEAST of a machine for 24 hours....
"Kabort Green" as my team was called, managed to get all of our drivers registered and hopped into the session - usually these are about half an hour to an hour before the race session opens....
iRacing had totally misjudged how much the ongoing situation/pandemic affected their service - so many had registered that the scheduler had run out of splits and had a complete meltdown.
For context, driver swaps were introduced in 2014, and special events came along in 2016. Daytona was the first, and in their first iteration had 13 splits in the 1pm session (13x42 teams). For 2017, they had the same amount of splits, but now had no more than 60 teams in each split.
In 2018, this only marginally grew to 17 splits - 2019 seeing a growth of two more splits, and 2020 seeing a little more growth (8 more splits)...2021 however (and after a year of being in lockdown and a year of being in a pandemic...47. 47 Splits. 47 Splits of 60 Teams - that's MONUMENTAL growth - and growth the scheduler couldn't handle.
As we waited, the iRacing developers kept in touch oover the forums and twitter - constantly updating us - Eventually they got everything sorted at 5pm and we were ready to go racing!
Brayden qualified us a miraculous P2 (front row!) and (during the race) we would stay here (or in the top 3)
After Brayden's double stint (2hrs),
Dominic (Ryser) would jump in and do his double stint. He came out in 3rd place, but would keep up the pace.
Eventually (after a successful double stint), our third driver would come in and take over from Brayden. During his stint he'd pick up a stop-go penalty.
Upon serving this, he'd miss the pit-box and reverse up the pit-lane. The team would subsequently be disqualified. My team made it 122 laps further than it did in 2020. Me though? I once again did 0.
I don't know if our quali/pace was simply down to Brayden being an insane LEGEND, because of our low iRating (us all - except Brayden being under 1.1K - me and Lorenzo being under 1K) or if it was because of the scheduler "doing it's thing" - but I guarentee - had we kept going, we would have been in a very good place - or well, I was about to miss my stint due to some "personal difficulty" - but we were still ON for a good result.
During our entire Daytona 24 Hours, we'd fight for the lead of the GT3 class before our competitors eventually slipped away.
At this point, I had a DNS and a DSQ and was REALLY looking forward to a finish at the Daytona 24 Hours.
A new year presented itself, and as we were only disqualified (in 2021) for a foolish mistake last year, I decided to round up the same drivers as last year - hopefully this year us NOT reversing and keeping it on the track....well, we managed ONE of those things.
I asked Dominic if he wanted to come race with us in 2022 (18th December) and I got the response that he didn't know when he was available on said weekend, but it should work. We didn't discuss it in PM's since.
Nearer to the race, he appeared on "drivers without a Team" and since Will & The Charitable Gamers were desperately searching for a driver or two, I suggested Dominic went with Will.
Where Dominic dissapeared, we gained a new face - Tom Wallace - a good friend of mine and a rising name in the land of Kabort.
The prior weekend to the race, was the ROAR Before the 24 - a "lead-up" event to the Daytona 24 Hours in Mazda's, GT4's and TCR's - and since it hadn't been held since 2019 or earlier - it was certainly an event to behold.
I finished the 2hr and 25 minute race in 4th place after quite an amazing strategy featuring Tom and a cone stuck underneath my car...
Unbeknownst to me, this was about as much luck as I'd be getting.
Onto the race weekend (Finally) and we'd have a record-breaking 7 entries! These were:
Kabort Blue - LMP2 (12:00pm) - (Split: 22/43)
Lars Bachmann (GER)
Emmanuel Ijere (USA)
Spencer Kemble (USA)
Kabort Green - LMP2 (12:00pm) - (Split: 28/43)