Monza 4 hr endurance, The Art of Racing in the Rain

Saturday the 6th of March marked the start of the 2021 SRHI Endurance series, in total 40 cars signed up for the 4 hour long race at Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Italy. The field was a mix of both experienced and less experienced drivers with both rain and dry track circumstances. All ingredients for an interesting race!

The Autodromo Nazionale di Monza is a historic race track near the city of Monza, north of Milan, in Italy. Built in 1922.

Monza track map.svg

We have asked the top 3 teams to provide us with a race report.

1st place – Odyssey Racing – Daniel Jose Georges & Klait Bani – Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020

Klait Bani’s report:
Monza in the rain, what a sight it was. It was the end of Daniel’s first stint and we had to make a decision what tyres to choose as rain was still falling. Should we go on the slicks or keep the wets until the track starts to dry. In the end we chose to go on the slicks as the forecast showed that it would be dry 10 minutes into my first stint. The choice turned out to be the right one as I immediately felt comfortable setting fastest laps 4 laps into my stint.

At this moment we were on p2 and I was able to get into a rhythm while saving my tyres in order to avoid graining. As I was 1 second per lap faster than the leader, it felt inevitable that I was going to lead the race during my first stint. That was the case as I overtook the 911 Porsche into turn 1. I then went in too deep into the second chicane, allowing the 911 Porsche to come side by side up to the second Lesmo where he made a mistake which enabled me to build a gap to the cars behind.

Unfortunately I had to make the race a bit more exciting by using too much kerb at the exit of Ascari which jolted me into the barriers and gave me 12 seconds of damage. This meant that we had to pit 3 laps earlier than planned and to make matters worse the pre-set strategy did not show up, so I had to make an estimate of the tyre pressures in the pits. All in all, I lost 25 seconds with the mess at the end of my stint. Luckily, I set up the tyre pressures correctly, which helped Daniel, along with his amazing pace, to go from p3 at the start of the stint to fighting for the lead at the end of his second stint.

This is where we decided to undercut the 911 Porsche, which gave me a couple of laps in clear air allowing me to clear the Porsche at pit exit. At that point I decide to take it a bit slower and take no risks to ensure the win. This turned out to be counterproductive, as I was making all sorts of small mistakes, which meant our lead to the 969 Bentley decreased to 3 seconds in the final laps. There I decided to pick up the pace, which helped me to pick up a rhythm and got Odyssey Racing our first victory in this endurance season.

All in all it was a fun race with some great racing and we’re looking forward to the next endurance race in Kyalami.

2nd place – Artworx – Marcel Vis & Dave Junior – Bentley Continental GT3 2018

Dave Junior & MarcelV
4hr endurance on monza, oh men what a pleasure we will have in the first corner..!!
Our qualify didn’t go as planned, we were first car to set a lap. But there was a driver on his outlap blocking us wich we hit. Damn another 5 minutes with no time on the clock.
Second attempt was better, we were third but like everyone the tyres were overheating so there had to be a final run. Talking to my team mate wat we would do. Finally but too late we opted for slicks.
But then you have to get clear track, guess what… again one driver on his outlap who where hindering us.
Oh wel p28 finally in the qual, then we must do it in the race.
Started p28, drive carefully for first chicane. Boom some dude bumped into me, spinnend but could proceed with only 9 seconds of damage. My whole first stint was trying to be fast and keep the car on track.
Made up a couple of good places before my teammate took over the controls. He drove with slicks on greasy track but we knew that the track would become dry. Also Dave made some great actions on track and made us go in the top 5.
My second stint was not that great by overtaking but more on closing the time gap with the people on the front. With my tyres burnt out, Dave took the last session for his account and drove the car like a real race driver. He overtook the one and other, and placed himself on a very good second place overal.
It was a bad qualifying, worse start but a very good race after all and that’s what matters.

Thanks for the race srhi, up to the next one.

3rd place – Team Hotairballoon Motorsport – Pascal Eckstein & Dominik Gmelin – Porsche 911 II GT3 R 2019

Team Hotairballoon Motorsport
After the rain, in the qualifying, our top driver Pascal Eckstein went out on slippery hot lap on slicks. So, he got very surprising pole position after the commentator switched to their track info picture.
Pascal Eckstein on the first hour:
“The start was great, good first laps, consistent and fast. The wet tires had in the end of the stint high temperature and made some issues.”
After one hour Dominik Gmelin took over the car on slicks for the first time in the Race.
Dominik Gmelin on the first few laps:
“The track was very slippery and the slick – “Arschkalt” – how we say in Germany.”
The other cars were faster in the end and took over 1st and 2nd .
Second stop, again Pascal Eckstein. He could claim 1st because of the pitstop from the other. In the 2nd FCY we lost 3 Seconds on the 2nd, and he came every lap closer.
The second car tried to undercut. After the 3rd stop, we came out 2nd because of a crash in the in lap, in T1. The next car was clearly on a quicker pace and in the end he caught us.

In the end we finished 3rd.

Currently the Race incidents are still under review, we will publish the final standings as soon as the SRHI.EU steward team have reviewed the reported incidents. All led by Head Endurance steward Klaas Wester, who cannot be bribed ;-).

Be sure to check the full race replay on YouTube, Steve Proudley & David Wressell commentate the qualifying and full race.

Furthermore be sure to join us the 24th of April for race 2 at Kyalami circuit in South Africa.

SRHI – Virtual cars, Real drivers

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