Team Cheese & Wine headed into the iRacing.com 12 hours of Sebring full of confidence after their excellent 2nd place in the GT3 car at the 24 hours of Daytona in the Mercedes AMG GT3.
For Sebring we would be using the BMW Z4 as we felt the most comftarble with this car and the drivers for the race would be Conrad Venter, Clive Lawrence, Tim Mawson, James Nash and John Broadmeadow and would managed to get into the 4th split which we were pretty happy with.
Issues in the early stages meant our race was pretty much over and no chance of a top 10 result due to being taken out in turn 1 by a impatient DP as you can see from the video below so from then on it was a case of just salvaging any result we could get.
The guys done a amazing job to get back from 37th place and get back up to 22nd place. I arrived home from work at 9pm and quickly went to make some food and get something to drink before my stint and make sure I was all prepared by checking stuff like making sure the wheel was plugged in and also make sure the pedals were working and calibrated correctly as I am not a fan of being unprepared which can bite you in the ass in endurance racing.
I took over from Conrad and the plan for my 1st stint was just to settle into a groove and push like crazy to try and catch the cars in front of us who were also on the same lap and were doing similar laptimes and at the end of my first stint I managed to climb from 22nd place up to 20th place and handed over to John for his stint and he done a awesome job and kept out of trouble for most of it.
I took over from John again for my 2nd stint and decided together with some of the guys to try and save some fuel so switched from fuel map 2 to fuel map 3 to try and save us some time as we knew we would maybe needed to make a splash and dash towards the end of the race. On fuel map 3 I was nearly a second a lap slower and this allowed 21st place to close on us by five seconds so i switched to fuel map 2 and managed to maintain the gap and was pushing every lap to try and stretch the gap as I knew there was a chance we could be jumped during the pit stops. Before the end of my 2nd stint we managed to jump up from 2oth place up to 18th or 19th place as a couple of cars in front of us had run into problems so I decided to push even more and see if we could catch 17th place before I finished my stint but ran out of time then pitted to hand over to Conrad who would take the car to the finish.
Conrad was doing a brilliant job and was sitting in 19th place but was quickly hunting down 18th place who were only six seconds in front of us and had not taken new tires after their last stop unlike us who took new tires and were on a charge but were having but luck when being lapped or lapping traffic which was hampering our chances at times but Conrad didn’t give up and on the last lap nearly caught 18th place in the last corner and just out at the line by 0.9 seconds and felt another lap we could of had the position but we were still with 19th place considering the issues we had in the early stages of the race.
I have to say a big thanks to Conrad, John, Tim, Clive and James for having me as part of the team and look forward to next iRacing endurance event which should be the 24 hours of Le Mans in June for me and also a big thanks to Ken for allowing me to post a blog post on the Band of Others website.
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