This summer is one of the hottest for our team and the creation of the academy program has given a new vibe and freshness to our on track involvement. We have more focused and steady race plan every week with 6hour events or annual special events such as the glorious 24 hours of Spa-Francorchamps with GT3 cars.
We have decided to run 2 Ferraris 488 GT3 and with enough drivers for each one, we tried to connect to the same server split in order to have together the same experience. Unfortunately, even thou we manage to do that, we had to split, not only running in different servers but also in different time slots. Hellenic Academy Red had a tad better qualify time than Hellenic Academy Blue finishing the procedure in p13 and p19. The start was good but before the conclusion of the first stint an unavoidable accident made us retire the car. We quickly decided to join the next time slot that started with 2 hours delay than the normal one using Hellenic Academy Green and the same roster.
The other car in the same split had its problems even before the Green flag. Andy’s shifter paddles had malfunction and the quick fix cost us the grid position. Started from pitlane, 30 seconds behind the last car we had a struggle from the first moments of the race. Our pace was good and we could gain positions lap by lap. During the forth stint a bad accident cost us 22 pitstop to fix damage sending us back to 47th position.
Coming back on track we tried to change our strategy for L. Tzivelekis, S. Derekis, D. Vourlegas that run along Andy Perrs. They all had a steady run and after 24 hours they run 575 time the long track of spa to end up P25.
For the Hellenic Academy Green in the new server slot, and having in mind the chaos of the previous server we chose to go safe with no qual time at all. We started p48 and we tried to follow the leading cars with heroics and overtakes for highlights. It was hard to have a steady pace with the constant traffic and we received a lot of incident points, the DT penalty was near.
Even in this difficult situation we went in the 4th hour in P25 and a car stuck behind for a long time. In Stravelot corver they missed their braking point and pushed us out the track into the sidewall. Thankfully the damage was not that bad and we only lost a couple of place, only the car was not at its best condition.
We believed that the unfortunate events were in the past but after 25 laps, two lapping cars wrongly exceuted a 3wide move on Kemmel straight. They touched and one of them hit us really bad. The pitcrew worked hard for 25 minutes and we came back p37. The damage we had left affected our top speed by 8 km/h.
The following 19 hours went smooth and the only notable thing was the DT penalty we eventually got after passing the incident limit. C. Panoulas, P. Dimakakos, P. Themelis, A. Arvanintantonis, S. Sotitiou and with the aid of Alex Siniosoglou that drove for the first time an endurance race took the chequered flag in 21st position after completing 578 laps.
Surely none of the two cars had a planned race and the results were below our driving abilities but this is the magic of endurance racing where for 24 Hours men and machines are fighting to find and surpass their limits.