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Russian Endurance Challenge: a race in which the winner is not the fastest

24th August at the autodrome Moscow Raceway passed the 4-hour endurance race.“Behind the wheel”

“Winning tactics, reliability engineering and craftsmanship” — such inscription is decorated with the premium podium Russian Endurance Challenge. Rather not say — this motto characterizes the essence of endurance racing. Lost with tactics and settings to win can not count. The ability of a race car to drive long distance without a break here is more valuable than the best lap time. Well, the skill of the rider is sometimes not expressed in the fact to squeeze out of the car all the available horsepower, but the ability to intelligently bring the car to the finish without risking wasting and not giving in on provocation of opponents. All three of these components fully manifested during the 4-hour race REC, which was held last weekend on the Moscow Raceway track. This year started out crews in two classes: GT and sportpitanie CN. The race started cars like Mercedes AMG GT3 (Team Capital Racing Team, starting number 13), Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport (team “Three heroes”, starting number 4), Chevrolet Corvette C6 (GNP team Genesis Team, starting number 63), TCR Seat Leon (team VRC-Team, start number 16), cars of the Russian project Shortcut, apparently repeating the legendary Lotus Seven, and also the sport prototype Fenix (team FDR Moscow, starting number 52). All the cars started on the Michelin tires.

The peloton started in the evening and finished after sunset in the headlights. The weather that day was in favor of riders in spite of hanging over the track in the second half of the race, the clouds, the heavens held back. Literally a few drops fell on the racing surface after the finish. But the dark, according to many participants the contest has become, if not a problem, then an additional factor, requiring the pilots attention. Because for the most part in like a long race — almost the only opportunity to pilot a race car in the headlights. With a small amount of the starting cars (ten crews), endurance last Saturday had a special star pilots. Team Capital Racing Team in the race was attended by Vitaly Petrov, former Formula 1 driver and a member of the legendary marathon “24 hours of Le Mans.” Fenix sports prototype at the Moscow Polytechnic Institute launched the young drivers at international level Alexander Smolyar (Fomula Renault Eurocup) and Konstantin Tereschenko (participant of the marathon “24 hours of Le Mans” 2019). Also in the promotional program of the competition was attended by the champion of the European series “Le-man” (ELMS) and the winner of the world championship on races on endurance Roman Rusinov, showed on the track the sport prototype class LMP 2.

Qualification predictable crew won “Mercedes” in Remenyaka Denis and Vitaly Petrov with a time of 1 minute 41,445 seconds. Second place on the grid, quite unexpectedly went to the crew team VRC Team that competed at Seate. Yevgeny Leonov and Spaniard Miguel Ascona ahead of much more powerful cars Porsche Cayman team “Three heroes” and Chevrolet Corvette of the Genesis team Team GNP. Rivals at Capital Racing Team was not in the race. As early as the fifth circle of the Mercedes AMG GT3 leader walked outside the circle, and further increased the gap. Despite the fact that the crew of the “Three heroes” Porsche GT No. 4 took advantage of a unique feature of the rules REC and changed during the race not only pilots in the crew, but team car: No. 4 the track turns left two Porsche Cayman this crew. The first wave of pit stops the advantage of mercedesbenzes over competitors was so great that they lost the lead, despite long — by the standards of other racing series pit-stops in endurance. “The car behaved well — said after the finish Vitaly Petrov, the winner of the race and the overall classification. Rivals for us. In the end, in this race we tried different options”.

A similar situation exists in the “Junior” class, CN. Here, the “first violin” played the crew of “Shortcut” No. 7 team Crazy Idea Motorsport crew in the person of Tatyana Dobrynin and Mikhail Loboda. And let their skill advantage over my classmates was not so overwhelming as Capital Racing Team, the race for the leaders of both the classes took place in a similar scenario: a confident, outwardly relaxed and, most valuable, without pilot errors and technical problems. “We got very good at setting: and on the motor and suspension and tire pressure. The weight of the machine is very small, and it is very economize on rubber. We all spend four hours on the same tyres, so it’s important to get into the pressure so she does not overheat and the race was stable”, — said Mikhail Loboda. And second in overall and in the GT class for a long time kept the crew of the “Seat” No. 16, which was solidly ahead of “Three heroes” Porsche Cayman No. 4. But closer to the middle of the race the Spanish car has problems with electronics. In fairness, we note that the boys did not give up. Over and over again Yevgeny Leonov has stopped in the pit lane, where the mechanics tried to fix the problem and again released the car to the track. The reward for such persistence was the third place in the class. Usually “long” races do not indulge fans with head-to-head fight for position. But on Saturday this rule found exception. For several laps the spectators breathlessly watched the duel for fourth place in the absolute classification between the Chevrolet Corvette team Genesis Team GNP and the “Shortcut” under the number 7 team Crazy Idea Motorsport. Despite the fact that they were in different classes, and the enormous difference in power, they attacked each other in almost every turn, repeatedly changing positions.

Alas, despite this episode, the team Genesis Team GNP became the main loser of the current endurance. But before you start everyone in the paddock was looking forward to the battle between the two “monsters GT3” — Mercedes and Corvette. But in the end of the battle, as we have said above, did not work, because of problems with the clutch from the American car that started still in training. “The car rides awesome! Very fast. If not for these problems, would fight for first two places” — sorry pilot Genesis GNP Team Dennis Daub. So here is a striking confirmation of the fact that reliability in endurance is valued above speed. With the need to decide during the race technical problems instead of focusing on tactics and speed, collided and the team Vintic&Shpuntic whose Shortcut No. 95 beginning of “fever” shortly after the start. And the pilot Shortcut No. 3 Sergey Baratov after the finish admitted that the last laps of driving with virtually no brakes, so worn were the brake pads. Unfortunately, technical difficulties (failed engine) actually “buried” the race for a very ambitious and promising Russian sport prototype Fenix. In qualifying, Alexander Smolar and Konstantin Tereshchenko had passed no one fast lap. And in the race elegant prototype appeared on the track for a few laps.

“Difficulties arose from the very beginning, we have not been able to start two hours could not find the problem. In the end, the plan was just to travel to find this problem and solve it, — said Alexander Smolar. — Actually, I’m very surprised by this car. The engine is powerful, I admit, I wasn’t expecting it. Of course, I wasn’t going at full capacity, because the first-in, dark, I have no experience riding at night. Overall, I liked the car”. According to the chief designer and mastermind of the project Fenix Igor Ermilina, in the offseason, the car was a serious upgrade. “The concept of Fenix preserved, but the components become more competitive and more modern. In comparison with the first version of Phoenix has changed the engine instead of Alfa Romeo 150 HP now here is the VAZ turbo 1,6, (200-250 HP). We put another transmission, big carbon brakes. Practically today was the second departure of this machine, and now manifested “childhood diseases”. I think that technically we can solve these problems to race in Kazan on 22 September”. Note that the command FDR Moscow, which brought to the track this car is a unique project. Its backbone is formed by students of the Moscow Polytechnic. Working in teams, young people who were in love with Motorsport, to get practical experience and comprehend difficult profession race engineer. “The team perspective, the development potential is a very worthy, they learn quickly”, — said Igor Ermilin. So, see you in Kazan on September 22!Russian Endurance Challenge: a race in which the winner is not the fastestRussian Endurance Challenge: a race in which the winner is not the fastest

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