It’s hard to believe that a whole week has gone by since the 2016 DiSCA Le Mans 24hr race – speaking on behalf of my multinational TA71S Works team-mates Tamar, Gregor, Björn and Ben, I’d like to extend our thanks to Alex Jones and Gary Skipp of DiSCA, plus their families, for working so hard to put on such a wonderful event. For those that are yet to witness the scale of this race, you’d be amazed to see how such a small crew of organisers can put such a huge event together, so my team and I are very grateful for all your efforts before, during, and after!
That said, I doubt our The Area71 Slotcars Corvette C7.R GTLM would be quite so appreciative!
Being our first digital endurance race, it was incredible to witness just how much more brutal a track like this is on a slot car compared to the smaller analogue club tracks I’m accustomed to. It really is unique! I’ve compiled a gallery with some of the photos taken before, during, and after the event that I feel best illustrate this point.
One week later, the car has been back in the workshop for some TLC. I’m pleased to be able to share these pictures of a spirited surprise effort from our race engineer Tamar Nelwan – not only restoring the C7.R to her former glory, but also adding many of the finishing final touches that he was unable to squeeze in before the big race. Concours show’n’shine is all very well and good, but I particularly like this ‘weathered, post-race’ look that Tamar has achieved – it shows character!
Obvious fixes include repairing the temperamental lighting system and filling that gaping hole in the nose – but, after touching up the chipped paint, Tamar added strips of grey decal simulate the duct tape we would have used if she’d been a 1:1 racer. Together with the weathering, all the restoration contributes to the well earned ‘patina’ a race car should have after running for 24hrs – and, our TA71S C7.R certainly earned it!
So, the C7.R GTLM and the TA71S Works Team survived the gruelling 2016 DiSCA LeMans 24hr race at Henley-in-Arden, something I’m very proud of… go, team!
Ok, so it wasn’t a debut with the final result we were hoping for, but I’m still very positive about the experience – we qualified 2nd in class, then went on to beat that time repeatedly under race conditions, cracking the 15-second barrier on a few occasions, too. Six hours into the race, we were often one of the faster cars on-track during the race, running 8th overall and 2nd in class… something that I’m confident has established the performance potential of The Area71 Slotcars, and hopefully got us noticed by a few of our competitor brands and onlookers.
After that, though, we were dogged by persistent lighting glitches and gear problems, plus damage from the kind of high-speed racing incidents that we quickly learned you have to expect when racing digitally on a circuit of this size. On the whole, the 3D-printed components of the car performed admirably, standing up to what is likely a lot more punishment than the average racer would throw ever at them. As a team, we learned a lot about how to make these 3DP parts (plus the other components we ‘buy in’!) even more resilient for next year, and we hope that some post-race analysis will give us some useful insight into how to wring even more performance out of the car setup for next year.
On a personal note, I would also like to thank not only my own team-mates, but also the Stryker and S-Slot guys for their help and support during the race. The banter in the pits and the camaraderie between our teams was fantastic – and, when we needed their help to make some urgent mid-race repairs, it was really only the colour of our team shirts that made it obvious we weren’t all in it together!
Great event, great organisation, great fun!
LoL… do we HAVE to wait ’til next year to do it again?