Petit Le Mans 2020
Even though the autumn is filled with league racing, we still take time to compete in the iRacing special events. Last weekend, it was the 10 hour race of Petit Le Mans, which in spite of its name is run on the Road Atlanta track in the US. Its real-life counterpart is run under the Weathertech SportsCar Championship organized by IMSA, and the iRacing version also uses the cars normally seen in the IMSA Sportscar Championship on iRacing. That means, except for the GT3 and GTE classes, also the brand new LMP2 car, which was the weapon of choice for Hellracers this time around.
Hampus, Marcus, Stellan and Niklas divided themselves into two cars to maximize the driving time per driver and headed out onto the twisty and tight track where traffic management is key. A lap in the LMP2 car takes only around 1 minute and 10 seconds, meaning that over 10 hours you get to see the same curve quite a few times. It also means that there is a lot of traffic since so many cars are driving on such a short track at the same time.
After the first nail biting hours where, to be honest, it is mainly about keeping the car in one piece and avoiding mistakes, both cars saw themselves in P2 in their respective split. This, being a massively popular event with roughly 1300 teams competing, means that the field of cars is divided into many separate races simultaneously. Our two cars ended up in split 5 and 6 out of a total of roughly 30.
Just some time after passing the half-time mark, a horrendous rejoin by an Audi GT3 saw our split 5 car being forced into the barrier at high speed, damaging the car enough to force the team to retire. The car in split 6 powered on and even though it was not much to hope when it came to position changes unless something critical happened, the car was going for a solid P2 finish. With about an hour to go, the leading car put themselves in a hairy situation and spun on the main straight. However, with some luck and some skill the car didn’t catch any real damage and the leaders ended up with a comfortable win in the end. Hampus and Marcus had to settle for yet another second place, a finishing position we are getting a bit too comfortable with.
Being the first endurance race with the new LMP2 car, the most important take-away was that we have several drivers with a really good pace in the car. That gives us high hopes of an endurance season with some better results than a P2 finish!