Words and photos by Michael Chendler
It comes once a year, and everyone looks forward to it. It’s a night full of excitement and fun that lasts into the wee hours of the morning. Usually some bad things happen throughout the course of the evening, but everyone looks back on the night through rose colored glasses.
Halloween? New Years Eve? That one guy Bill’s birthday rager?
Hell no! It’s the Western Endurance Racing Championship six hour endurance race! A rare chance to see racing under the serene and black Tooele night sky. And also pit stops, something you don’t normally run across at your usual NASA weekend. All very exciting stuff!
Since starting in the middle of the night and running til sunrise is a generally bad idea (how ready to go are you at midnight?), this started at 6PM and ran until midnight. The fading golden hour light allowed those gathered to spectate a chance to see the cars in some dramatic light.
DRAMA! Anyway, on to some sweet, sweet pit lane action!
Things were the same, no matter who was coming into the pits: one person hops the wall, and adds fuel while someone stands a few feet away and points a fire extinguisher at them. A fresh driver and another crew member hop the wall to get the old driver out and the new one in. Someone might clean the windshield, and there was usually one photographer hanging around. However, not all pit boxes are created equal.
There were small teams, with only the bare minimum crew.
Then you had the GMG pit box, which was a full on, pro level pit stall. A lot of crew members, an engineer, racks of tires, fuel hoses and lens flare!
But most teams were like Paul Mitchell and Team Unfair Advantage: crewed almost entirely by the drivers.
The QMD/034 Motorsport even had Gavin Pouquette with them! Say hi Gavin!
*sigh* moving on…
The action shifted back to the track after the teams cycled through their pit stops.
Where some people were not adjusting to the creeping darkness!
Not everybody was having brake issues though. Heading into Black Rock, almost everyone was lighting up their brake rotors!
With the light practically gone it was time to break out the tripod, open up the shutter for longer and longer periods, and take a stab at who was flying past you in the blackness.
Some cars were easy to identify. That blue streak was from the LED strip one the B-pillar of the QMD/034 Motorsport A4. However, most cars were just noise points of light.
LED light bars are cheap, and readily available. That means most everyone was running them so they could cut through the nearly impenetrable night. This also meant that anyone, or anything, looking into the oncoming traffic was treated to brief periods of blindness. The trails that the hyper white LEDs cut into the darkness were impressive, but looking away from traffic provided and even more impressive display. I didn’t stick around to see the checkered flag, but I do know who won!
In EO, the #61 BMW completed 153 laps, which put them one lap up on the #44 Inverter Technology/Achilles M3 and secured the win.
The #65 BMW, representing Bullet Perofrmance took home the win in E1.
The QMD/034 Motorsports A4 was the sole E2 competitor, and therefore took home first AND last. Impressive.
E3 was the deepest class with eight competitors, it was also extremely diverse. In a field that included several Miatas, an Audi 90, and even a E90 BMW M3, it… Well, to be honest it came as no surprise that the HPD Race Club Fit took the win. It completed 140 laps, and probably had to stop for fuel once.
The GMG R8 LMS Ultra completed 169 laps in the six hours of the race, and recorded a 1:54.514 lap during the race. Suffice it to say, they won their class, and the race overall.
AND FINALLY, we come to ESR. ESR, like E2, only had one competitor. However, the Competitive Edge car managed to record the 5th quickest lap of the race!
And there you have it folks, six hours of racing condensed into less than 1000 words. This might be easier to digest, and more convenient to read while at work, but this does not compare to actually being there. As soon as we have the schedule for next year, we’ll let you know, and we’ll all have a little party while out there! It’ll be fun!
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