Updated: May 10, 2020
Suzuka, Japan, the land of the Rising Sun. But for this weekend it’s the land of the setting sun as the iRacing Endurance Le Mans Series rolls into town with a day-night transition setting for the 6 hour multi-class race for LMP prototypes and GTE Sports Cars. Suzuka didn't set off to a good start - Robin sleeping too late to register the team into the 07:00 Session, forcing Andy to quickly create a new team prior to the session. In addition to this, technical problems for the other Ferrari (wrong team signed up as) meant that the duo of Justinas Ribelis and Andy Jones had to go at it alone... Due to being early morning for Europeans, Saturday evening for Australians and silly o’clock for anyone in North America, the 07:00 GMT session usually tends to draw a smaller field than the alternative race times. Only 22 teams would take to the track in the Japanese evening.
Andy Jones took qualifying for KABORT and with a modest 1:56.3 lap-time lined up 12th of the 17 GTE entries. The start was clean and the first stint of 33 laps was relatively incident free.
The field settled down in the natural order - Aliens to the front, Mortals to the rear and the position varied little initially. Gradually, the raced turned on to a slowly improving trajectory as Justinas took the second stint and Andy the third leaving Justinas to head out in 13th place for the 4th stint.
Patience is a virtue and it was at this point that KABORT's patience started to pay off, as Justinas’ superior pace reeled in the teams up the road to see KABORT climb to 10th and even 9th. As the light began to dim, it began to become evident that there are no track-side lights at Suzuka, which made the track notoriously dangerous place. Turn in points became harder to spot and the race became a mission to bring the car home, largely using muscle memory to find the corner apexes.
Andy took a shortened 5th stint to allow Justinas a tank full of fuel to sprint for the line in the search for more places, but in the end, the car came home in more or less showroom condition in a secure 10th position.
Overall, a good race for KABORT - free from error but still with plenty of areas for improvement. It was clear from the way race strategies played out that our tyre management was not as good as other teams and yet we still lacked the half second of pace that would have turned 10th into 6th. Sunday
Sunday's ELMS race would also prove to be a good one, with the duo of Maxim Badidi and Benjamyn Foxcroft racing together. Cheng Zhong and Chandler Rubeck as well as Carter Hutcherson and Samuel Swallow would also be present, albeit racing under with no affiliation with Kabort Motorsport - Cheng and Chandler racing up the name of "Bad Camber" and Carter and Sam racing under the name "Cyclone Racing". Maxim would qualify the car in 16th place and incredibly solid performance. Off the strart, Max would make some incredible progress, launching the car up to 5th place by the 30th lap. After pitting for his double-stint, Max was able to hold is ground, and slip into 3rd place for a short while, before the pressure got to him, and began to drop positions as the tyres went off, dropping to 7th by the end of his stint. From here, Ben got into the car, and returned to 7th. It was presumed at this point that the car picked up little bit of damage, as the car wasn't as high as it was, and Ben losing positions every couple of laps. The car would be quickly repaired, Ben would get in for the second of his double stint would then jump in to begin the slow climb back upwards, helped by Maxim, who was also on pace. Together they were able to pull through and finish a respectable 9th place, a double Top 15 for the weekend is highly commendable.
Endurance Le Mans Series, Le Mans, Week 4, Season 1, 2020- Suzuka (Sat)
Q: 16th (12th In Class)
R: 14th (10th In Class)
Q: 16th (12th In Class)
Written By Andy Jones Edited By Robin Truswell