The Sports Car Open squad went on the road for the last time in the 2020/2021 season. The common destination was the 6.515 km race track in Elkhart Lake in the USA, Rad America.
8 hours of hard concentration and duels lay ahead of our 3 cars. 3 cars? Yes, that's right! For the season finale, the organisers allowed our 2nd LMP2, which had narrowly failed to qualify at the beginning.
In GT3 itself, it was all about having fun and ending the season on a positive note. A lot of experience was gained that can and will be used for future Sports Car Open events!
Our Dallara prototype, on the other hand, still had a lot to do. In a neat end to the season, the aim was to maintain 5th place in the overall standings, or maybe even look towards P4. This top 5 position would mean an invitation for the future Endurance Series starting in autumn.
As usual during the season, the GTC class (according to GT3 regulations) started the qualifying. Anton Steiner had a tough time on the high speed track, which is regularly visited by IndyCar or IMSA. Shortly before the end of qualifying, he managed to set a good qualifying time, which was unfortunately only good enough for P11. In a small but, as usual, tight GTC field, this was a good result, but there is room for improvement.
With the second LMP2 in the field we had clear advantages, as we could pull each other in the slipstream. The 55 car piloted by Timo Heyden was the drafting horse for Peter Zuba's 56 car, which was fighting for the championship. Peter had the pace in the last fast lap to jump to pole position, but unfortunately he took too much grass in the exit of the carousel. So in the end it was only enough for 4th place on the grid. Timo, on the other hand, started the race from last place.
After the race, the #55 quickly made its way to the front. Already in the first corners, the #55 advanced to 12th position, before they lost out in a fair battle with CoRe SimRacing and crashed into the concrete wall at the Kink. After about 3 minutes of repairs, it was obvious to the three drivers that this was not going to work out today. So it was all down to the 56 car, which fought a long-distance battle with CoRe for the last Invite place (P5 championship).
A short jump to the GT3, which was driven by Michael Drechsler at the start. Here everything went well at the beginning. However, as soon as the LMP2s and the GTEs started to lap from behind, things got dicey. The GT3 of the lowest class in the field had to put up with some tight manoeuvres on the part of the faster classes. Right, left, parallel they flew past him. In the last sector, Michael lost the car due to lapping. Unfortunately, a following GTE made no effort to react and drove into the side of the Audi with full force! After a short repair, the race continued with a strong off-pace. Hendrik Augustin completed the drama in Turn 1 with about 5-6 hours to go. The heavy impact could not be repaired anymore and the three of them also parked the car.
The exciting battle in LMP2 was up and down. Peter and Peter drove a strong pace at the front in the top 5 ranks. After about 3 hours, #56 also had to take a hit in the tyre fork in Turn 1. However, both were really lucky here. In total, the action cost about 25 seconds or a little more. In the meantime, they lost ground to CoRe and important positions. But the race went on!
In a last hours of drama, in the meantime even only P6 in the championship, they had support from the drivers of CoRe themselves, who spun 1-2 times and therefore lost the advantage on #56 again.
After the 8 hours of racing, the team finished in 8th place, which means 5th place in the championship, ahead of CoRe SimRacing!
Absolutely strong performance over the season was thus paid off again!
Many thanks to the organisers of the Sports Car Open and congratulations to the championship winners of the respective classes (Mivano Simracing, Team Redline, Maniti Racing)!