NEO 24 Hrs of LeMans - Race Report

NEO 24 Hrs of LeMans - Race Report

A recent championship in the DGFX LMP1 class led to an invite to drive in NEO's premier event and season ending race against the top endurance teams...the Racespot 24 Hrs of LeMans.  Instead of sticking with their winning car, the Porsche 919 LMP1, the trio of Mattias Magnusson, Gabriel Roos, and Marc Torres chose to drive the Honda powered HPD in the LMP2 class.  With only 2 weeks to prepare, the impressive P4 qualy pace that Roos displayed was an immediate statement about their intentions....they were here to fight.  After qualy Roos had this to say, "I knew we'd be fast so I can't say I'm surprised but it was definitely nice to let our competition see what we're capable of."


The race started out with a minor hiccup when the #38 HPD dropped to 13th on lap 1 due to a slowdown, but with a few other cars having incidents or slowdowns themselves they were back into the top 10 quickly looking for more.  Roos would go on to make quick work of a few other HPD's who were not able to keep up with his raw speed.  He drove the first 2 stints and then handed the car over to Torres for a triple after getting back up into 8th position. 


Taking some time to settle into a rhythm Torres held a good pace and pitted in 7th after his first stint.  But during that second stint disaster would strike when exiting the first chicane of the Mulsanne Straight.  Taking too much curb on exit the rear traction was lost and within a flash Torres would find himself in the wall.  Limping back to pits to find 10 min of repairs was an immediate slap of reality....a fight for the podium was gone.  "It was frustrating to know I had thrown away our chances so early in the race but my teammates were there to pick me up.  That's what I love about Kinetic Racing, we don't know how to quit."


After finally getting their car put back together with new parts they were back out but 2 laps down and running in 14th.  With over 20 hours to go the goal was to try and get back into the top 10.  "Of course we always want to perform our best but racing is racing and sometimes things don't go your way," said Magnusson when asked about his feelings on the race before he was able to even run a lap.  Magnusson wouldn't get into the car until 12 hours of the race had already been run but to his delight they had already worked themselves into 9th position.  "My stints were mostly uneventful but I was running similar lap times to the leaders so I knew we were giving ourselves the best chance we had."


The #38 team would sadly go on to finish in 9th after no other HPD made any big mistakes.  We caught up with Magnusson after he drove 10 stints in 12 hours and was clearly exhausted.  "It was a good lesson we learned today.  Even the smallest mistake can have a huge consequence.  But we also learned where we stand against some of the top endurance teams and we are looking forward to getting ourselves into NEO for a full season later this year."  


The team noted a special thanks to their owner John King for being up at all hours to help spotting and strategy planning.  King said, "These guys gave it their all and it just didn't work out today.  I'm still proud of their hard work this year and I think after they get some rest they'll be able to hold their heads high."