First Ever 24 Hour Endurance Race A Massive Success
Considerations And Variables
Lowe was quite quick to recover from the initial catastrophe and managed to claw back to position P33 at one hour into the race and to P26 at two hours. However, they remained a whole lap behind with other stragglers.
While Cox and Lewis hung around to support Lowe, Patterson and Bucknell returned to the hotel to sleep. Once Cox had replaced Lowe, Lowe went to his hotel too and Lewis hunkered down on circuit with his alarm set for 01.00am.
Throughout the night, steady increments were being made. At 3 hours, P26. At 4 hours, P23. At 5 hours, P21. By the time Lowe was back in the car around 10 hours into the race, The Bastards had romped up to P19.
The Race Unfolded
Driver changes, planned tyre changes and fuel fills continued to be made under safety car deployment, of which there were numerous. While Patterson was out on circuit, he returned to the pit unexpectedly an hour early during his stint, due to another deflated tyre. Patterson was expecting Lewis to be ready, but as Patterson was early, Lewis was not available. The wheel was replaced, the car brimmed with fuel again and Patterson was sent on his way.
The time now was around 11.15am and it was noticed that the team had a problem. Not only will Lewis not finish the race as promised, the premature pitting under safety car had introduced an issue that could see an additional driver change. It was agreed therefore that when Lewis changed from Patterson, Lewis would have to complete a 2h30m stint from 12.00noon and a new nominated driver would take the car from 14.30pm to the race finish at 17.00pm.
Alas, there was no option than for Patterson to pit at 12.00noon and Lewis to drive until 2.30pm, followed by a nominated driver from Lowe, Cox or Bucknell to drive the last stint and finish the race.
Whether there was a safety car deployment or not, it was this new strategy or a possible loss of time with a third driver change within the last five hours?
Lewis’s stint was saw another driving standard infringement with car to car contact and it was plain to see that the amount of penalties to other cars were increasing in consistency. Some drivers were indeed too aggressive and employed bullying tactics. Indeed, the C1 Club penalties are quite harsh. Fair, but harsh. It is a credit and testament to The Bastards conservative driving approach that position gains were not only consistent lap times, but zero time penalties, car damage or mechanical failure.
Not for one driver, but luck was on the side of The Bastards. The safety car was deployed at 14.25pm due to an incident at the chicane exit and tyre wall. Lewis was originally told to return to the pit at 14.35 and not before, even if a safety car was deployed. Unless that is, because he was running out of fuel. But as he came to the pit entry, his initial thought was to end his stint. Not doing so, he passed the pit wall to see the #332 “IN” sign. Perfect timing!
All Bucknell had to do was keep consistent lap times and keep out of trouble while the rest of the team pray he does not suffer a puncture or run out of fuel.
With just 12 minutes of the race remaining, car #452 ‘The Oldmans’ were issued a one minute Stop/Go penalty. Bucknell had been consistently reducing the gap between #452 and #MissFire and with the served penalty completed, the time difference was some 6 seconds and some four laps remaining.
Race Conclusion And Strategy
The team has only competed in 3, 4 and 5 hours races within the C1 Challenge this year to date. All drivers are new to C1 racing. They believe a different pitting strategy needs to be considered for the much longer 24 hour races. This 2018 year is seen as a steep learning curve. They also believe that variable fuel weight is a significant factor, including body weight differential between the drivers. Some of this learning will be implemented for the Spa-Francorchamps race in October. In the interim, The Bastards will make an appearance at Croft a little later this month.
This is the first year of the Inglorious Bastards racing in the C1 Challenge and they will be back in 2019. As Spa will be a faster and more flowing circuit, they hope driving standards will be improved. They are thoroughly enjoying the C1 Challenge this year and hope driving standards will improve and penalties be car to car contact be enforced.
Ashley Davies was another recipient of punishment. Now his car is written off and cannot attend Spa, Ashley commented on Facebook: