View Full Version : Report from a VLN race

Dave Malings
29-09-2005, 01:17 PM
I thought this was pretty interesting so thought i'd share it.

So - my first race report ...

Thursday 22nd

01:30 Left London with Gary in GT3-MR
03:30 Tunnel to Calais.
Really severe fog from Calais to well past Lille, lost
quite a bit of time.
09:15 Nurburg - swap to Carrera GT.
10:30 Frankfurt to meet someone.
13:30 Lunch at Ed station in Nurburg.
14:30 Pick up The Noise - always a pleasure.
15:30 Check in at Am Tiergarten.
16:00 Quick nap.
17:45 TF - felt a little 'lost' - been six weeks since
my last session - by the end it was starting to
come together - I guess I was probably tired too
having only slept one hour in the last 36!
20:00 Dinner in PK - more friends arrive - still on my
week of alcohol abstinence.
23:00 Bed! A little too excited, but managed to get to
sleep before too long.

Friday 23rd

09:30 Breakfast
10:30 Manthey's - check race car (as if Manthey don't do
that) and give them the video camera to fit, etc.
11:00 Road drive to Bitburg and back in the CGT - it really
is just the most perfect thing to drive on those
lovely German roads.
14:00 Sign in for practise/race.
16:00 Official practise starts - Gary does 2 laps, I do 3
and then Gary 1 more - then notice the car is only on
5 cylinders, problem found with ignition for no. 4
cylinder and fixed, but the crash causes no time for
further practise.
19:30 Drive out to Cochem for dinner in the CGT, top down -
the car feels so much more like a compact roadster with
the top down (and it's easier to get in and out of) -
but it was a little cold!

Saturday 24th

06:00 Wake
06:40 Light breakfast. Had a chat with Timo Bernhard, he's
a really nice chap - very happy to offer advise - he
drives the big Manthey car (often with Lucas Luhr).
07:15 Get changed at the circuit.
07:25 Briefing (in German) - no idea what they said!
08:00 Qualifying starts - the car is up on the air jacks with
tyre warmers on - before we could get out there was a
three car accident at the left kink up Kesselchen caused
by damp (and an excess of speed) - one of the Manthey
prepared GT3-Cup's was trashed.
08:30 Qualifying reopened - I take the first session - originally
to be 3 laps but now just 2 - initially the tyres were in
the blankets but due to delay now mostly cold and very
slippery on the GP circuit - I did three laps, best 9:43 -
and spun in the Mercedes arena after the last lap - Gary
did two laps (best 9:32) - he came in for qualifying tyres
(i.e. new ones) and did one more lap - 9:30.
We were down in the field compared to the normal starting
position as Dan, the usual driver who is unavailable for a
few races, is the fastest of the crew.
09:45 Qualifying finishes - we start 41st.
11:00 Back to the pit and prepare for start - Gary taking the
start for the first time as Dan normally does it.
11:45 Race start - Gary lost a few places, but did some steady
clean laps:
1 9:57.518 - first lap - rolling start
2 9:36.773
3 9:44.947
4 9:36.531
5 9:32.889
6 9:30.398
7 9:37.618
8 9:53.171 - in lap
13:00 Driver change and fuel stop - my turn!
9 11:48.416 - out lap, includes pit stop time
10 9:49.081
11 9:44.953
12 9:44.016
13 10:01.149 - was a big incident with the Viper before
the Kesselchen left-kink - ambulance!
14 9:49.760
15 9:48.661
16 9:50.594
17 10:05.825 - in lap
14:30 Final stint - Gary:
18 11:46.741 - out lap, includes pit stop time
19 9:32.521
20 9:27.974
21 9:27.590
22 9:22.992 - fastest lap
It seems that Gary had a 4 lap dice for position
with the 651 car, a 993 RSR - Gary held him at bay
and did a personal best too - I guess it pays to
be pushed.
15:15 Race finish
While hanging around in the pit leaning against the
big Manthey car (that does 8:13 laps in the hands of
works Porsche drivers) - and this little German boy
(flanked by Mummy), bless, comes up to us with a pen
and paper looking for an autograph!
Of course we felt like charlatans and quickly pointed
him in the direction of actual skillful drivers -
Herr Manthey and Timo Bernhard.
I later got asked to pose for a photo in front of the
Manthey car - maybe the used-once race suit make me
looks like a works driver 8-)
19:00 Met up with Jochen to look at the photos and have dinner
in the PK - finally, a beer! Lovely.

Sunday 25th

Naturally we stayed for mad-Sunday. I drove the Noise all
day - excluding the usual stoppages.

Monday 26th

Spent some time down at Manthey - looking at the data
logging with Olaf.
Saw some fancy motors on the (closed) circuit and after
a bit of snooping found AutoBild doing their "Golden
Steering Wheel" (best car of the year) thing with some
no hope aging drivers - Rohrl, Ludwig, Christensen and
another chap. The cars were: CGT, Merc DTM thing,
Bentley, M6 and Gallardo.
Dropped off the Noise at Ring Racing - and finally headed
home in the evening - in bed by midnight!

So, we finished 22nd overall, from 166 starters and
114 finishers, and we finished 4th in class of 9 starters
and 6 finishers!

While it was physically quite demanding I'd done quite
a lot of training and lost some weight so while I was
tired (and very hot/damp) at the end, I did feel OK.
To concentrate on the circuit for 85 minutes straight
is not easy, the mind does begin to wander - I guess
you get used to it.

Overall we have three hours of video - one hour from
practise, one hour of Gary in the race, and one hour
of me.

Dave Malings
29-09-2005, 01:17 PM
So I asked:

Can you give an impression of what the car was like in relation to a road car?

Was it nervous? Did it take sections of the track easier than your own car? Did you feel you own car was better in any sections?

Kind of stupid questions, but interesting never the less.

Dave Malings
29-09-2005, 01:18 PM
and he replied............

Can you give an impression of what the car was like in relation to a road car?

Well - in many ways it's not that big a leap from a
regular GT3 (particularly an MR with extra power).
The road GT3 is more refined, naturally, in some ways
the 964RS is nearer the race car.

The car is quite light and has loads of power, it also
has fantastic brakes, awesome handling (really sharp
turn in) and slicks so it grips really well. The clutch
is perfect on the move - but crap for shuffling around
the pits - it needs plenty of revs to avoid stalling.
It has a regular gearbox - although 6-speed rather than
the 5 in the RS.

The race car is a hot place to be working in for up
to 90 minutes - you get out feeling OK, but tired - then
when you take your suit off you realise how much fluids
you sweated out!

Was it nervous? Did it take sections of the track easier than your own car? Did you feel you own car was better in any sections?

It wasn't nervous, very stable in fact - but there are
points on the track where the race car might get a
reaction (maybe due to the extra speed) that seemed
perfectly smooth in a road car.

Also, there tends to be quite a lot of debris on the
circuit - if you go offline into a blind section,
like the right at Flugplatz, there are all sorts of
marbles and body parts lying around. I very nearly
hit quite a large piece of bumper while overtaking
into that right at Flugplatz!

The GP section is really quite slippery - hence the spin
in the Mercedes arena in qualifying (or maybe that was
due to an excess of power and lack of common sense).
I found myself not braking enough for the right hairpin
at the end of the pit straight - I did this quite
consistently - eventually survival instincts did kick in
and I learnt to keep on the middle pedal.

I guess another big difference is the ability to pass
other traffic where-ever you can and on either side - I
was very cautious and let people by way too easily - next
time I guess I'll be a little bolder.