RMA Track Days Secure 3rd in the Silverstone 24 Hour Race
After a very hard fought battle for the top step of the podium, the RMA Track Days 24 Hour team finished 3rd in their BMW M235i Cup Car. With a very strong driver line up consisting of Leyton Clarke, Jason Baker, Tony Rodriguez and James Little, and the extremely experienced Belgian endurance team JJ Motorpsort running the car, it looked as if they were in a prime position to pinch the win.
With a very quick qualifying lap just 0.28 seconds off pole and a night practice session 2 seconds quicker than the field they knew they had the pace to stay out front!
With a very strong few opening laps of the race Leyton made his way into the lead and started to pull away. Around 45 minutes into his stint a Swedish TCR car lost control behind him after out braking himself, which caused him to smash into the back left corner of our car! Fortunately no damage was done and it was just the places lost after being spun out, or so we thought as we found out 22 hours later!
James Little then took the car from Leyton and did a stunning stint to move his way up the field, he took the car from 23rd position and carved his way up to 11th! It was great to watch the timing screens as every lap it was inevitable that James would have likely overtaken someone else! Throughout the duration of the race James’s pace would only increase even more and he would pose an even more worrying threat to the opposition.
James then handed the reigns over to the 2016 Lotus Champion, Jason Baker. Jason was immediately on the pace, despite not quite knowing how the car would handle after taking quite a substantial hit earlier. Jason’s pace was equally as impressive and he was taking seconds a lap out of the leaders and continued to make his was through the field. Not only was Jason’s pace incredible, but his tyre management was impeccable! His ultra fast but smooth driving style played a fundamental part of our strategy allowing us to make sure the cars brakes would make it past the 12 hour point, a huge factor that we can probably owe to Jason.
It was then Tony Rodriguez’s time to jump in the hot seat, Tony arguably had the most difficult stint of the lot, the first night stint! Tony would head off into the darkness with no idea what the car was like or what the aggression levels of the competitors on track would be, he answered to it amazingly. His pace over the early laps was increasing at a startling rate and soon he was lapping faster than the leading cup car which meant Tony was eating into their lead lap by lap! We decided that Tony’s pace was so good against theirs, we would double stint him and push his driving time all the way to two hours!
Through the night the drivers worked tirelessly to make up the time lost from the early hit and come 8am in the morning team RMA took the lead of the race with James Little at the wheel. They pitted the car for tyres and to put Leyton back in the car, which meant we lost the lead momentarily. Leyton got straight on the pace and chased down the leader, with P1 phisically in sight Leyton quickly caught an amateur driver in a Mini Cup Car who was 100 laps down on us, unfortunately Leyton once again fell foul to the careless driving and was turned in on very aggressively which broke the steering arm, the team fixed it within 15 minutes but we has lost our shot at the lead. All the drivers worked extremely hard to make up lost ground and then the final strike hit us! Whilst James was in the car he reported over the radio a huge vibration from the rear and that the car had become un-drivable, we pitted him immediately and the team discovered that the wheel bearing on the left rear had failed completely! This was undoubtedly caused by the accident we had sustained 22 hours earlier and taking repeated kerb hits whilst pushing hard to make up lost ground! This caused us to lose second place!
Sadly at this point it was bring the car home and get her to the finish. We had a very safe buffer to 4th place and we were going to have to settle for our final finishing position of 3rd.
It was an emotional ending, we were so close to the win but lady luck didn’t let us have it this time.
We would all like to say a massive thank you to the drivers again, Leyton, Tony, James & Jason for their brilliant driving and fantastic attitude throughout the whole race. JJ Motorpsort for supplying us with an incredible battle tank of a car and a crew who nobody else in the pit lane could match when disaster struck.
Vital Metabolism for supplying us with the supplements to keep our bodies going round the clock and to our photographer Sean Mulcahy, please visit and like our Facebook page by clicking here to view the full album of all of his photos.
We will be back for the win in the future!