After nearly 2 hrs in the car in 70 degree temps I was pretty tired and warm. No power steering or abs on a track like Road Atlanta with the elevation changes in a seat that is made to accept a wide range of drivers - all adds up to being sore! I grabbed some fluids and some granola bars and checked out the standings and the rest of the team. The other 2 cars (red #00 and white #88) had been running w/o issue for awhile now.
I touched base with Andrew from Drive-Gear as by this time I was really curious if I was going to get another stint or not. He said I was up again in the #87 after the fuel load which would be around 2:30-2:45. I was excited and headed for more fluids and went to rest a bit. The other teams cars were pitting, swapping out drivers and heading back out w/o issues. Of the 3 cars; the blue #87 I was in was by far doing the best. Other than the electrical issues that I diagnosed that caused a few unplanned pitstops, the car had no offs and no lost laps. We were hanging around the top 5 in class and just needed to keep banging out laps.
As planned, the blue #87 came in for fuel and I hopped back in again. Nothing had changed with the car and the brakes and steering all felt just as good as before. I was skeptical about the brakes but they were always there throughout the entire day - however the RA1's were def a lot more slide happy in this 2nd session and perhaps the track temps had a hand in that as it'd been mostly sunny and right at 70 degrees all day. I changed up some shiftpoints and tried a few different lines and just had a lot of fun banging out laps. The radio setup sorta worked for me to receive this time with the electrical issues fixed.
Not knowing the time but knowing I did not have enough fuel to end the race, I heard what I thought were instruction to bring the car in the next lap. Turns out; they were meant for another car as we all shared the same team frequency. There was about 45 min left in the race and I quickly decided to split it with another driver (Andrew said he wanted to give another guy a bit more seattime). They dumped in the needed fuel and I went back out for some more laps. I decided to push for some hot laps and my very last lap was a 1:49.1 which included a pretty major drift through T1 and I decided to bring it in - which ended my stint just after 4:30pm. I hopped out, shedded the race suit and my shirt - I was pretty exhausted and def hot and thirsty. I quickly checked our standings and we were holding in 4th a few laps off the podium as the team started to pack up the pitbox as everyone had enough fuel to end on.
In the end our blue #87 finished 4th in class - just a few laps off the podium in E3. Of the 8hrs, I figured I had driven at least 3.5 of them and was pretty happy with that as I love seattime and Road Atlanta is so much fun! As crazy as the first hour was and not knowing if I'd even have a car to drive, I was pretty damn happy with the Drive-Gear crew afterwards! Our car did the entire 8hr on the same set of Toyo RA1's.
Saturday I'd still be in the white #88 for the sprint race!