“It was as much racing against your enemy but wanting your fellow competitor to finish the race together. That feeling of pushing yourself, the team and your competitive fellows was amazing!”
Amazing journey in the 100 hours endurance race, which held in Guangdong International Circuit over 5 day and 4 nights (16-20th Dec, 2017). It was one of the most difficult race I have ever been in, the physical and mental exertion, and having to trust your team and team mates 100%, so you can try to get some rest was an entirely different experience.
Full credit to the driver team; Murphy Chu, Eric Ho, Andrew Wong and Tommy Chan and the team for pulling the “impossible”, “unbelievable” campaign! Thank you also for the people who doubted, making us ever determined to make sure we enjoyed every moment and finish the race! Here is the story.
This GT100 race objective was to truly test and put to maximum scrutiny for the car of today available for the China market, a real test of durability, pace and along with the teams and drivers. First thing first, I feel there was no loser in the race, that was not the spirit of this race, in a sprint race you can be as selfish as you like bumping and rubbing each other is the norm. In this GT100 the aim was to survive the gurgling race, it was a “family race” no body wants to see another car needing to stop and not being able to finish.
It was amazing to see 20 cars start and 19 cars finished the race, not many people expected this result, nor us who was participating in the race, it proves cars in this century, is much stronger then we all thought (apparently).
It was also amazing for the organiser to pull together 20 cars all from different brands from an array for European (Audi, BMW, Mercedes), Japan (Honda, Toyota, Mazda), US (Ford, Buick) and China (BYD, ChangAn, SAIC, BAIC, FAW, BAC, Zotye, Geely, Chery and more).
We do get asked the similar question often; how are race cars able to race for 100 hours non-stop? The key to answer this is not to be stupid. Car built this century are more then reliable to be driven at pace for more then 100,000km. The calculated race distance in 100 hours at Guangdong International Circuit was give or take 8,000km. How you plan to run this 8,000km is put it simply a work of engineered calculation.
The key to the strategy was to balance out the pit stop with the max 2 hour driver stint, 100 hours 50 pit stops to split up the fuel fill up, brake pad (and/or disc) changes, tire change, oil and fluid check, and most importantly driver feed back for the state change of the car ongoing in his driving stint. Pace and Consumables management by the drivers were also key to the strategy.
Did we run into problems, sure bet we did! We had very bad brake system deterioration, on day 3 (around 75-80 race hours) as the track temperature got hotter in the late afternoon and insufficient brake cooling. A brake schedule brake fluid change on 80th racing hour helped with the problem. And a lot more issue throughout the race just too much details to fill the feature.
The most amazing thing in the race was all 80 drivers, 20 team managers and 100 plus mechanics were all in it for finishing the race, it was as much racing against your enemy but wanting your fellow competitor to finish the race together. That feeling of pushing yourself, the team and your competitive fellows was amazing! This seems to be a rare case not that racing has rocketed in budgets and wanting to see your competitor dead. Hard words, but it was amazing to be in an atmosphere where racing was a fellowship affair! Bless, hope we see this race back in 2018!
More info: www.grid-motorsport.com