5hr Oulton Park
Sat 27 Jul
EnduroKA is a new endurance series for 2019 which offers a competitive, cost effective way to enjoy the thrill of team endurance racing.
Donington Park played host to the inaugural EnduroKA race, and what an event it was! Qualifying set the tone for the day with the top ten cars covered by only a second. All eyes were on the battle for the top spot, as early pacesetters Track-Club traded times with Three in a Pink Racing and M&D Racing. At the end of his stint George Wright had left the Three in a Pink car on pole, but it was to be short lived as just minutes later Adam Blair in the IP Racing KA put together a brilliant lap to claim the top spot. This was a position they would hold for the remainder of the session, despite a late charge by PistonHeads who had to settle for second place just one tenth of a second behind the leaders. Third place went to Octane Junkies, with Three in a Pink Racing having to settle for fourth despite their early pace.
The drama started right off the bat, as the Octane Junkies car stopped on track with an apparent fluid leak. This proved to be nothing major, and the 111 car was recovered to the pits to be a pit lane starter.
With the KA now clear the grid rolled to the line and the lights went out. EnduroKA was a go!
Unsurprisingly it was pole sitters IP racing who took the early lead, but with the top four cars separated by only half a second at times it was far from secure. Pistonheads, Burton Power, three in a Pink and Track Club were all fighting hard to be best of the rest. Ten laps in and under mounting pressure from the Pink KA, IP racing cracked and, as is often the case in close racing the flood gates were open. KA's managed to rush through and the IP car was fourth. The lead changed again just one lap later as Burton Power took the lead for the first time leaving the Pink KA and Track-Club fighting it out. Four laps the Burton car managed in the lead before the Pink KA and then IP racing took their turns at the top. This rapid change brought about the first lot of driver changes, with PistonHeads first of the lead pack to pit, Burton Power just one lap later.
Racing further down the field was just as fierce as at the top, with Kool AirRunnings and SuperKA Racing trading lap times for fifth and sixth, ahead of the battle for seventh which included four cars after the pit stops.
One hour in and the Safety car appeared for a 2 lap blast to recover a KA back to the pits. This brought a flurry of activity in the pits as ten teams, including the duelling pair of LDR Performance Tuning and CHR Motorsport with Motex, took to the pit lane to take advantage of a free driver change pit stop.
As the KA’s appeared from behind the safety car, it was the Kool Airunnings KA with a small lead from over Peak Performance Reviews and CHR Motorsport with Motex who made the most of the safety car period. This is how it stayed until the Kool KA pulled into the pits releasing Peak Performance for their stint at the top.
As the stops continued to rotate the field, SuperKA Racing found themselves in the top spot. Early front runners PistonHeads were again in second and the Pink KA was back in third. Unable to catch the SuperKA Racing team on the track, PistonHeads had to wait until a further stop promoted them to the lead. This was a lead they would hold on to for a large portion of the mid race as a long stint helped them outlast the Pink KA and a challenge from the IP racing team. Track Club however had been quietly closing the gap however and managed to take the lead just as the PistonHeads car pulled into the pit lane.
Another Safety Car period shuffled the pack again as a beached KA found itself being recovered back to the pit lane.
This time the leaders Track-Club decided to stay out as the cars around them headed to the pit lane, gifting the team a full lap advantage over second place G&B Finch who was now in second place, with Frost Racing in third holding off Burton Power.
With nine laps to go the Burton Power car was able to find a way past IP racing. It was clear that pit strategy would be pivotal and this was proven with a late stop for IP racing now in second. Second wasn’t a good place to be as just one lap later the Pink KA also had a late stop from second dropping it to sixth with five laps to go.
As they crossed the line, it was the Burton Power KA that took the inaugural win, ahead of a late charge by G&B Finch. PistonHeads capitalised on those late stops to take the last podium space ahead of IP Racing fourth and Track-Club in fifth.
1. Burton Power Racing – Andy Burton, Ashley Davies, Tom Valentine
2. G & B F Inch Ltd – James Baxter, Steve Finch, Ben Smith, Vince Turp
3. PistonHeads – Pete Dignan, Oliver Lewis, Ben Lowden, Sam Sheehan
Dagenham Dustbin (for best presented KA):
Shine Automotive Racing – Collin French, Kevin Hunton, Ian Danby, Wayne Clelland
Track-Club – Craig Denman & Joe Taylor - 1:37.729
As qualifying got underway for the “12 Heures Du Norfolk”, it was Donington Park pole sitters IP Racing who set the early pace, with a time in the first five laps that would prove to be unbeatable. This didn’t deter PistonHeads though, as they once again took second, this time ahead of the KA of track-club who improved on their sixth place at Donington, with a third on the grid at the Norfolk circuit. Donington Park race winners Burton Power had to settle for sixth on the grid, just 5 hundredths of a second ahead of newcomers Frugal Racing. In fact the whole field was so close that when the flag came out for the end of the session, only two seconds separated the first eleven cars on the grid.
When the lights went out, it was IP Racing’s Adam Blair who lead the pack into the first corner, leaving PistonHeads and Track-Club to fight off the KA of Kool Airunnings. As the hour progressed, Pete Dignan of PistonHeads managed to catch and pass the leading KA, dropping them to third as Burton Power also seized the advantage, squeezing through into second. This sparked a three KA fight for second place as the Burton Power, IP Racing and Kool Runnings cars all traded places to be best of the rest behind PistonHeads. The battle raged on until a stranded car at Wilson corner brought out the safety car.
Once clear, it was PistonHeads who lead the group, having had a strong restart with lapped cars between them and the rest of the front running pack. Kool Runnings were now in second, just ahead of Burton Power with Peak Performance Reviews and SuperKA Racing in fourth and fifth following an early stop under the safety car by the IP Racing team. Further down the field the tack-club KA was forced to retire with technical gremlins.
As the race pressed on, new comers to the Series Frugal Racing were pushing hard to catch the leading pack, setting the fastest lap of the race in this portion of the race. This was rewarded as they climbed to fourth, closing the gap to Burton Power KA in third. Their progress was halted however with another appearance by the safety car, this time to aid the recovery of the Octane Junkies KA from Brundle. This time though there was a flurry of pit lane activity as all of the lead lap KA’s took to the pit lane, with the exception of the Burton Power car. When the safety car peeled back into the pit lane the Burton Power car, albeit a pit stop down, had a two minute lead over the Kool Airunnings KA, who was now the only car on the lead lap.
Then the rain came. Burton Power, now back in the lead following a round of driver and fuel stops were holding a marginal lead PistonHeads, who in turn had a comfortable lead over the Kool Airunnings and Frugal Racing cars. But with the rain coming down the times tumbled. PistonHeads clearly not as comfortable in the wet conditions dropped back into the clutches of Kool Airunnings, who had been able to dispatch the Frugal Racing KA to catch the second place car. Kool Runnings made short work of the PistonHeads KA to take second, something the Frugal Racing KA was also able to do a few laps later.
With a drying circuit and a round of driver changes, the PistonHeads KA found it’s form again and started its push back to the top. The leading pair were now Frugal Racing and Kool Airunnings, but an extended stop for the former and a string of slower laps for the latter brought Burton Power back into the fight.
As the chequered flag neared, the top three cars were separated by just under a minute. The fight for the top sport was fierce, with less than a second separating the top two cars of Kool Airunnings and Burton Power at times, but PistonHeads was the KA on the move – and at pace! As the leaders slowed each other down through the lapped cars PistonHeads were closing at three to four seconds a lap. Through the traffic it seemed like the leading car of Kool Airunnings was going to be caught, but following a string of good laps the leader managed to break the tow and gap the Burton KA, but PistonHeads had halved the gap to the second place car. The top three were now only twenty seconds apart after twelve hours of racing, and PistonHeads in third were the fasters KA on the circuit. It wasn’t to be however, as despite having the Burton KA in its sights the PistonHeads KA ran out of laps, and when the flag came down had to settle for third place, Burton Power held onto second with Kool Airunnings left to take the first ever “12 Heures Du Norfolk” win. The Dagenham Dustbin award, issued by the Snetterton Marshals, went to the 107 Racing KA.
1. Kool Airunnings - Matthew Eldridge, Nick Naylor, Justin Roberts, Ralph Fernihough
2. Burton Power Racing – Andy Burton, Ashley Davies, Tom Valentine
3. PistonHeads – Pete Dignan, Oliver Lewis, Ben Lowden, Sam Sheehan, Matthew Bird
Dagenham Dustbin (for best presented KA):
107 Racing – Neale Hurren, Benjamin Monday, Philip O'Halloran, Harry Scott
Frugal Racing – Jim McDougall, Mike Marais, Matthew Waymouth - 1:37.729