Last weekend, iRacing invited once again to the legendary 24h of Spa. Also team Leipert eSports joined with 2 Audi R8 LMS GT3.
Team yellow #123 was driven by 7 drivers. 6 were already planned prior the race, Marian joined for the last 3 stints spontaneously.
So, Antares, Oscar, Niclas, Marlon, Markus and Marc drove the Audi for the main part of the race.
Niclas drove a solid quali lap, but due to high competitiveness in our split (it was the 8th), it was only P14 for the team.
Marc took the start at 1:45 PM GMT and did a good job, gained a few positions and saved some incidents point for the rest of the race
“It was the plan to avoid as much incident points as possible, keep the car clean and just to stay within the field. I guess we did this very well, especially in the early stages of the race.” reported Marc after the race.
Indeed, they did. It went very well for the team within the first hours. Very soon a Place in Top Ten was save for the team.
The first challenge came with the early night stints. After Markus, Oscar, Niclas and Marlon had very clean and fast laps, Marc jumped back into the car at half past midnight. He had really trouble to find his rhythm on this track at night and the other cars. So he lost control in a corner, lost some time and unfortunately, also had a car contact. But after that, he calmed down and drove a solid stint again.
But the quickest guy in the car was Niclas this weekend. With a 2:18:1 he drove the fastest lap of the whole field. Also Marlon showed an outstanding performance, have been only 1 tents slower than Niclas on his fastest lap.
Between race hour 12 and 15, the team climbed up to leading position. “This was the moment, which everyone hoped for. It was the confirmation our strategy was the right one.” told us Markus.
Due to different pit stop strategies from the following cars, nobody knew how it would look like in the end. And there was another issue coming up: Every driver has to do a minimum amount of laps, which is calculated via amount of drivers and driven race laps.
“we calculated that we will drive approx. 600laps, which would have meant that Oscar has one single lap missing. If we would have risk that, we could have been disqualified.” Marian explained the trouble.
So, we put in a 7th driver for the last three stints, so the minimum amount of laps decreased and we were on the target.
As finish came closer, the team realized, that they would need 3 stints on one tire set to have a change for the race victory which wasn’t ever tested but the team decided to do this. If there’s a chance, you need to go for it.
As can be expected: The last laps became a thriller! Marian did an outstanding job, supported by the worlds best spotter Oscar and it looked like it would pay off.
In the second last lap, Marian defended leading position for almost one lap more or less side by side against the car behind, he was really on a mission. But unfortunately 1min before the race would have found his end, he lost control of the Audi and went off to the gravel. Lost the race just one minute before chequered flag. That hurts of course.
So, nobody was really celebrating as Marian crossed the line on 2nd position. It was more a disillusionment.
Now, almost one week after the race the mood is already much better. The team is proud of this race, sometimes it just doesn’t pay off. But for 23hours and 59mins the team was on point and delivered one lap for the other.
“After an endurance race, there are always “Ifs” and “buts” – that’s part of the game. But the team did impressive work all over the weekend and they deserve P2 so much! Next time, we will stand on the top again – pretty sure!” Team manager Kai is cited.