The first big special event of this season in iRacing is the 12 Hours of Sebring, in Florida USA. We decided to compete with two cars, one with official drivers -Hellenic Racing- and the second one with both official and academy members – Hellenic Academy-.
Η Hellenic Racing qualified P12 from the 19 LMP2 entries in our split. When the green flag finds you in the middle of the grid it is rather difficult to aim for a fast starting pace. Our initial plan was to race without errors and steadily exploit our chances. Unfortunately the situation was far from this and there was a lot of tension an unnecessary aggression from many of the cars in our split. A small contact and a car spin in just front of us made Andy Perrs slow down to avoid the crash but we were hit by following cars. Small aero damage for the rest of the stint.
Lost positions of the first stint were taken back in the following two. Spiros Derekis was ready to take the wheel in the forth stint with main focus the incident free start with no big risks. He started relatively cold in a very hot track but he managed it very well. The first mishap happened during the inlap where after an offtrack, a GTE got by our side while an LMP2 car came at full speed trying to pass both of us. As we were trying to better position our car for the following corner GTE had reacted leaving no room for the LMP2 that could not see our movement.. Contact for all three cars and two minute repairs in the pitstop for us.
The next two stints from Spiros passed without any major issues and Andy took back the wheel and we got up to 6th position. At this stage the second mishap and something that we haven’t lived for along time. Andy’s internet connection dropped and car was towed back to the pits with a delay of 1 minute 45 seconds. Spiros got in the car having lost 4 places. After 3 stints at full speed Christos Panoulas got for the first time begind the wheel with a very good and steady pace. We took the chequered flag from the seventh position and with the bittersweet feeling since that we could be in the top three in this strong field of cars without the disconnection.
The second car, the Hellenic Academy LMP2 started with a strong morale due to the good practice of the previous week. The first driver was Andreas Arvanitantonis and his quick pace helped us to gain a lot of positions after a very bad qualification result. During the inlap of the second stint a big crash ruined the race. We decided to retire the car and to start at the next time slot.
Qual by Nikos Efstathiou with his best ever lap and p10 on the grid. Our decision in the strategy involved longer stints, lower fuel consumption and tyre change at the forth pitstop. That was something brand new for some of the academy members and the 4th stint was dangerous at the limit of the tyre life.
From the tenth position we reached the second with our good strategy and the errors of the opposition. 4 more stints from Andreas and then our car went to the hands of Stathis Bodiotis along Christos Kalamidas. Stathis went well except a small contact in the last corner without any damage to the car. Chris was fast and dealt well with the traffic and the late hour of this slot. The academy car finished 2nd and it was a great result that came after the bad luck of the first race.