Following the 8th edition DiSCA Le Mans 24 hours, Roadkings captain Kim Maslak (formerly Racing for Denmark) compiled this report.
After last years dissapointment on loosing out at the very end I managed to persuade a group of absolutely amazing Dutchmen to come an participate with Carsten and I in the worlds biggest and most desired digital slotcar event. I have said it before and would like to repeat, this race is beyond comparing to anything out there to this present day. Suzuka and Rock Bull Ring comes close but the tension and myths around them does not compare.
So thanks to Gary, Alex, Lyn, Eric and all others that keeps making this event what it is.
John Licher, Sebastiaan van Altena, Hans Licher, Eddy Laamers, Caresten Vestergaard and I met Friday at 10:00 on the parking lot of the Henley Sports Centre and discussed how things should come down for the next 3 days. I had developed a stronger base frame for the chassis for the impacts the Le Mans track gives but with Seb on the team, the chassis can always get a liiiiiittle more. – AND BOY IT COULD! – We will get back to that.
Free Practice 1&2: Seb and I stayed at the table, figuring out a couple of details about the chassis and prepared the new parts and I had brought a decent chassis and the Dutch had brought the Suzuka chassis for practicing because Eddy and Carsten were either rookie or not that firmiliar with NINCO and Oxigen.
We did a couple of laps and back to the table. The practice car could at best run a 14.8 time with me on the trigger.
Qualifying 1 and 2: First setup worked well. Seb doing test runs with the race chassis. Setting pole laptime. Back to practice runs.
In Q2 I believe that Stefan Kievit beat our time in the dark, where it was really difficult to put in a good lap, so we were 2nd on the grid.
Qualifying 3: Seb managed to hit the setup, new wheels on.. Boom! Pole position was ours. We were all just spectators for that setup, that car was flying!!. Tire ran of the rim and got ruined in the gear and what happened from there was a mystery. The car just didn’t handle like it had done previously. Maybe it was just me, but it wasn’t as forgiving as it had been.
We made the call to stay on the ruined tyres and run them down.
John Underwood quickly set the pace for Rockingham and he was unbeateble. Seb ran middle 14s to low 15s. And John was just clocking the 13.8, 14,1, 14,2 lap times. A new track record for sure!!! Really impressive.
Me in after an hour. changing tyres. Car was very easy to handle. keeping track. Didn’t push it, no need as it was a long race still.
Carsten up after an hour. And what happened from here is also a mystery. All hell broke loose. We had 3 lights in the back, all of a sudden 2 were gone, due to some italian speaking on his walkie before marshalling I believe – which I have to say was really disrespectful to the entire grid as it was more a rule of thumb than a coincidence.
As it turns out, the right rear end was gone as well. Tyre ran of the rim due to some agressive driving. So all in all a really shitty hour of slotcar racing. We were behind. Far behind.
John in, tyre of the rim again. What’s happening?? Did we have enough tyres for the entire race now? Eddy in. Putting in a solid stint as the first one of us actually.(as far as I can remember). All of us taking turns once again.
Carsten in. Bodymount fell of the body. Switching to the spare body 6 – 7 hours in.. Not a good signal. But we were on pace and only a couple of GT teams having the same amount of trouble.
The leaders overall and in GT ran the exact same times on track as we and Rockingham did, so we could maybe gain 1 lap in 20 minutes. Night came, and we finally came on 4th overall 50 – 60 laps to Rockingham. Pretty decent with our amount of issues. Night was pretty undramatic except for Eddy loosing it when he felt a car was running him of on purpose a couple of times or more.
At 4 I went to sleep for some hours a quite place. No reason to loose the tag of being a “chicken” or “the sleepy Dane”. It was very nice to sleep. I came back at 8 and we were still on 4th and 2nd in class but with some issues with the lights during the night. John and I started to count hours and comparing them to the amount of tyres we had left. We should be able to just make it, but only just.
All of us taking turns again. Things were looking safe. Plenty of laps to 4th and 5th overall, a LMP2 battle between Sports Carazing and Demon Slot and even further down Alibaba slot and Olifer racing, our competition from LMP1.
Carsten up around midday. And at the end of his stint for the 3rd time, he was rammed due to a mistake and the lights went out again. I lost it there and was really pissed and here came the proof on why this team is so awesome. John came to me and totally calmed me down, just like his brother, our missed and loved teammate Brain Licher, who tragically isn’t amongst us anymore had done in 2018 at Suzuka, just before I temporarily pulled the plug on slotcar racing. What a skill to possess. I envy that! I truly do.
Race went on and John came up with 2 hours to go. All of a sudden the car was still on the Mulsanne straight. What was wrong? I was marshalling at the time. First we thought it was the motor, no….. Then the chip… Yes.. Holy moly!! 20 minutes spent in the pits and falling from 4th to 6th overall. Looking back at it, maybe we should have used the spare chassis. Anyway. Resolved.
Seb running until 15 minutes left and the tyres were gone and the car on the belly. I took over the car to run it to the flag and it was the worst car I had ever driven. It was just surviving on its belly. I was run off at the end of Prospeed and Posillippo and Worthing because the car was undrivable at that position. But we needed to keep it running for the 2nd place in LMP1.
Flag. 24 hours and race over. Looking back this is the hardest fought place I had ever done. But personally it was a bit hard for me to see 4th overall slip, but a blown chip we can blame no one for.
Thanks to Seb for really putting on my emotions while dremeling my pretty Peugeot. And oviously for being a great friend, driver and mechanic.
Thanks to Eddy for putting in the best laughs of the entire weekend and solid driving. Thanks to Carsten for always being my teammate, even when I loose it. Thanks to Hans for some great support throughout the weekend, we all apprecitate this – I know. Enjoy your Maslak Automobile and treasure it as my respect to your loss and your son. Thank you! And lastly thanks to John. You keept us together, you were fast and you have an impressive way of dealing with people.What a team! Wow! Looking forward to racing with you all again.
I have come to the conclusion that it takes two years to develop a car. So maybe next year I will be off the Le Mans spotlight.
The car was a Peugeot 908 which ran Le Mans at 2011 placing 3rd and 4th. Body was laminated by me with some small lessons from Tamar Nelwan and Claus Henriksen and the chassis was my own develped wishbone chassis for the Peugeot which held well together as opposite to the rest of the car. Even though it being a completely different car in total, all of this started with Nick de Wachters chassis and body which inspired me to do this. Thanks.
Look out for KMaslak developed stuff. They are out there or on their way.
The Peugeot is, as you can see on the DiSCA raceworn shelf with the Toyota, Peugeot Hybrid4, BYKOLLES CLM and the Porsche Pink Pig.
RoadKings – in memory of Brian Licher.
Thanks for reading