The end of a hot sunny weekend in France saw the OCC Lasik Racing with Newbridge team and their 4 drivers happy to have taken the finish line in the 24H of Paul Ricard despite a series of trying events that tested the resolve of the team at times during the endurance event.
Car owner Dr. Fareed Ali crossed the finish line having covered 355 laps of the 5.84 km circuit in 5th position in the SP3 class in the team’s brand new Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport, which looked a little less than brand new after the weekend’s battles had taken their toll.
Earlier in the race things looked promising as a competitive start by American Kevin Gleason was backed up by excellent drives from Englishmen Nick Holden and Ricky Coomber, taking the team into the podium positions.
Throughout the early stages of the race the Porsche had struggled to come to terms with the Hankook tyres, with the high temperatures not suiting the balance between car and tyre well and preventing the drivers from pushing beyond a certain pace without compromising the grip levels. But these issues were insignificant relative to the mechanical failures that plagued the team through a long and trying night phase of the race.
Around 4am, Holden was stranded on track when the car’s right rear hub failed, the wheel detaching from the car and Nick doing well to keep the car out of the scenery. An excellent work from the OCC/Newbridge mechanics just at the point when tiredness was at its maximum saw the car return to the track after an hour lost in the pits.
Gleason then set the car’s fastest lap of the race pushing to recover time, and for 2 hours things were looking good until after handing the car to Ali, a recurrence of the hub issues, but this time on the left side rear, saw the car once more return to the pits on a flatbed truck.
Undeterred another lengthy repair ensued and he Cayman once again returned to the fray to take the flag.
Team manager Richard Tovey: ”Initial thoughts for me, I’ve been really impressed by the friendliness and organization from CREVENTIC . As a team we have had ups and downs during the event, however we have learnt a lot about the car and its endurance capabilities. It’s being great working with a fantastic team of drivers and the pit crew have, once again, delivered above and beyond.”
Fareed Ali: “Overall the weekend was a success, the goal of the weekend was to get experience on a 24H endurance race for myself and the team, we also wanted to find out more about the set up of the car and how to utilize it on endurance racing, we had several issues that eventually prevented us from competing for a podium but that’s part of the learning process and I am sure we will have a very competitive car next race. It was a very enjoyable and valuable experience for me, I improved my skills a lot on track and and enjoyed the support and camaraderie of my fellow drivers and the entire team.”
Nick Holden said “It was definitely a character building weekend. Hugely valuable night racing experience.for me to have gained”
Ricky Coomber: “I enjoyed the Creventic Paul Ricard very much, a nice experience with the team, nice people to go racing with and the car has a lot of potential”
Kevin Gleason: “I really enjoyed my first 24h series event with OCC Lasik Racing with Newbridge Motorsport. It’s unfortunate that we were delayed by problems but it’s a good experience for everyone involved, with the car and especially the championship, the tyres… We all leave France with valuable experience that will be a great help for future endurance racing outings”.