SOLID POTENTIAL FOR 24 HOURS RACE AFTER MECHANICAL TROUBLES
No sooner than Ben Tuck’s race debut in the Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 was over last week, his next appearance was underway. This weekend Ben contested a 6 Hour race at the legendary Nurburgring Nordschleife together with his fellow teammate, David Pittard. However, the race weekend was again affected by mechanical issues which put them out of the running for a result. But the race still provided a valuable opportunity for Tuck to test the car and gain valuable experience ahead of the challenging 24 Hours of Nurburgring in June.
The duo took to the track in the ‘ADAC Nurburgring 24 Hour Qualification Race’, an effective dress rehearsal for the Nurburgring 24 Hours itself next month, one of the most famous and challenging endurance races in the world. As the final practice before one of motorsports ultimate challenges, the 6-hour race attracted the best endurance drivers and factory outfits in the world determined to hone their preparations.
The packed weekend offered a sense of the challenge of the ‘24’ to teams, drivers and machinery alike and featured no less than 3 separate qualifying sessions. The first was staged in the early evening twilight of the Eifel mountains, the second in the early morning of race day followed immediately before the race by an intense 1 lap qualifying shootout for the top 30 positions.
Practice on Saturday before the evening qualifying session netted precious practice laps and data on tyres. With around 80 cars on track in multiple classes it was difficult to find a clear lap unaffected by slower traffic or incidents, but the British pairing posted 6th fastest in Q1 as the light faded. Early the following morning disaster struck for BRDC SuperStar Ben on his first lap in Q2 when the car suffered a wheel hub failure and had to stop on track. Despite the problem, the combined result put the pairing in the top 10 for the pre-race Q3 single lap shootout. After the solo lap by Ben’s experienced teammate Pittard, they had secured 22nd on the grid for the race.
After barely a pause the cars we’re lined up on the grid to start the 6-hour epic. As the race got underway with Pittard at the wheel, the number 101 BMW began to make steady progress through the order. However, after barely an hour of running, the gearbox developed a fault resulting in the car being brought back to the pits for repair. The Walkenhorst pit crew worked all out to fix the ailing car and after around 30 minutes the car was back on track, but several laps down.
Without the prospect of a result, the focus turned to using the remainder of the race as an extended test session. Ben was able to complete over 2 hours of track time, posting competitive times and gaining all important experience in the car.
Tuck was positive about the event. “Obviously not the result we were wanting but a really useful day for the team for data and testing and, for me, practice. I’m starting to get more comfortable with the car and the aero. We’ve not had as much time as we wanted [in the car] so far [this year] but I’m happy with progress and hopefully we’ll have a better opportunity to show what we can do for the 24”.
Ben next races in the ADAC 24 Hours of Nurburgring on 5th / 6th June 2021.