On Saturday night we finished 2nd in class and 5th overall out best performance to date and easily the best race we have run in a number of areas. We are starting to get our race strategy in order, we qualified well and our stops were quick and mistake free. Tony qualified the car 7th out of about 30. The race started a little early at 6:15 so it was still plenty warm making the fuelers in their three layer Nomex pretty miserable. We gave up a couple of places at the start but got them back within the first few laps.
After the second stop we had moved up to third behind a car that had only made one stop so we were looking good. ...and here is where we learned a lesson about car classing. There are dozens of different sprint series and classes that all feed into just 6 endurance classes ESR, ES, E0, E1, E2 and E3. In our class, E0 most of the cars are from either BMW Club Racing's I Prepared class or NASA's GTS-3 class. The Club's I Prepared class has been around for over a decade so there are many fast, well developed cars available to endurance racers. NASA GTS-3 is newer and attracts smaller fields, but offers a better power to weight ratio than IP so some dedicated endurance racers have converted their cars to that spec. This year NASA's Super Touring 2 class was added to E0 and offers and even better specification.
Super Touring is pretty much wide open regarding rules, anything goes including tube-frame chasis and slicks. Super Touring 2 is limited to a power to weight ratio of 8.75:1. To reach that level we could remove 400 lbs of weight or add 47 wheel horsepower. It's going to be increasing difficult to remain competitive if we continue to race is IP specification. Some drivers are suggesting that the WERC leadership may reclassify the ST2 cars from E0 to ES -- maybe even before the 25 Hour in December. We shall see.
Anyway, back to the race. The lesson we learned here was the lesson of the fuel cell.
The M3 can run about 75 minutes when the stock fuel tank is full. The ST2 car that won was able to go over 90 minutes. That is a critical number in a 3 hour race. Half-way. They were able to complete the race with just a single stop while we had to make two. The fact that we finished only 45 seconds behind them shows that with a fuel-cell we may have done even better.
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