N24: We are the underdogs

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It’s my second ever lap in the car, and this time it feels better. A lot better. My first lap was to bed in the brand new brakes, but a terrible resonance during cornering nearly scared me into exiting the track early at Pflanzgarten….

The discovery of a rotated exhaust bracket rubbing the rear antiroll-bar thankfully quelled both the awful noise and the fear in my belly. We head back to the track.

The temptation to ask “What the f*ck are we doing?” is strong, but instead I concentrate on the lap.

Time is limited, three of the four drivers are here for the Skylimits/Getspeed trackday, and anybody who wasn’t already in Nürburg the night before was late because of the Autobahn chaos gripping Germany this week (thanks, Deutsche Bahn).

I know that these two laps will be my last before the end of the day, and I want to do several things:

  • Satisfy myself that Hipercars.de have built a good car that will last the race
  • Get a quick-ish lap to prove the car is capable
  • Drive a lap how I want to drive the race: smooth, kerb-free and easy on the gears and engine.

It’s feeling good, the budget AST 4100 suspension might not have been my first choice but it’s just about doing the job of keeping the tyres on the ground. Drive from the slower corners seems compromised due to inside wheel lift, but the rear ARB is set to full stiff with no chance of changing it.

Understeer is mild, oversteer is there if you’re cack-handed with the lift-off and turn-in technique.

But mostly the car can be described as mild-mannered.

Chasing down some ill-driven exotica is always fun, and on lap 3 I get a mostly clear run:

While I make a point of avoiding kerbs, the entry to the Karussell is a little too hard for the N24 and the revving of the motor up Kesselchen, Hohe Acht and through Bellof might help a laptime, but it won’t help the car last 24-hours.

Stephan and Bradley get out for more laps, before Bradders has to head for home and Stephan departs for an important meeting.

For my last laps of the day, I try to find a smoother style with less input, less jumping and less bumping. It’s slower, but not too slow.

With only 6 days left ’til the first day of the event, this is what we know:

  • We have less power and more weight than ALL of our competitors
  • Our team are almost wholly N24 rookies, only Bradley has competed in this event before. And then he had a factory contract which included help for everything, included a man to hold it and shake it*
  • The guys have still got a catch tank and a radio to fit this weekend

BUT…

I am seriously, dangerously, over-excited about this crazy-ass plan. I don’t care about the overall result, only that we do our best to finish.

Go back up and look at the video. We’re doing 24-hours of the Nürburgring. From dusk ’til dawn and back to dusk again. It’ll be a miracle if we can make it through all that.

We’re in it together, a whole weird bunch of mixed-up nationalities and people, powered by the mutinational mess of ring-inspired nonsense that is BridgeToGantry.com. Drivers, mechanics, helpers, all from the BTG massive.

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N24

*Bradley having a man servant is  probably not true, but that’s what I imagine factory racing to be like

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