ChumpCar 2015: 14hr RoadAtlanta
February 6-7, our TWOth Autosport ChumpCar team made its annual trip to Georgia for the popular 14hour race at Road Atlanta.
Being one of my personal favourite tracks, I’m always excited break up the winter and tour down with a few of our best customers to take on some tough competition and huge car counts. The Road Atlanta event also offers a rare practice day before the race, which allows us to test new developments on the car and get drivers comfortable with setup, track, and field size.
In 2012, we saw an intimidating 90+ cars take the green flag at 8am, followed by a whopping 109 in 2014. This year was no different, with 104 starting the race, and even stronger competition than previous years as teams continue to improve. Because of the incredible field size and racing in a different region than we’re used to, we like to use the Road Atlanta race as a benchmark to gauge our competitiveness against some of the best teams, drivers, and cars in North America. Although I strongly believe the Canadian region has tougher teams than anywhere else, there’s something special about racing against 100+ cars and managing heavy traffic throughout the entire 14 hour race.
As all of our customers will attest, competing in a packed ChumpCar endurance race will often give drivers more racing, passing, traffic, and strategy experience than an entire season of club racing. Why wouldn’t we want to leave -20*C back home to do this?!
Gaining more experience every race weekend we enter, our strategy for the 14hr was to race conservatively throughout the first half, and mount a charge in the remaining 6-7 hours of the race. We had seen the level of aggression from the larger fields before, and really focused on keeping the car out of trouble. After avoiding mayhem for the first 4 hours, we set into a rhythm and began picking up spots, placing the car as high as 7th overall and 2nd in class. Our drivers did a tremendous job managing traffic and running their own race, without a single contact during the entire 14 hour race.
Unfortunately, 8 hours into the race while inside the top 10, a couple mechanical over-revs forced us to pit. A quick and unexpected valve adjustment only cost us 25 minutes in pit lane, but took us out of contention for a podium finish. Throughout the remaining 4 hours, we pushed on, trying to regain as many spots as possible.
By the time the checkered flag flew at 10pm, our TWOth Autosport Honda Civic was still running some of the fastest times on track, setting our personal best time on lap 340 of 342. Thanks to some strong driving and clever pit strategy by the team, we managed to salvage a 17th overall finish, and 4th in class.
Back home now, time to go through the car, properly rebuild the motor, and focus on finishing the 5 new customer Chump builds.
Next stop is Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (Mosport) in mid April!
Below is a gallery of photos from our race at Road Atlanta. Huge thanks again to AWOL Photo, who always takes the best shots whenever we’re racing down south! www.awolphoto.com/
Leave a Reply