American Endurance Racing was racing in the rain this past weekend at New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP). Torrential downpours combined with mud, cold and standing water on the track to make for an adventurous experience. Our #92 was prepped by the team over at RRT Racing to make her competitive at NJMP Thunderbolt 2018. Qualifying 10th overall in a class 3 car we felt was an excellent way to start the weekend.
After making some setup changes to make the chassis as compliant as possible in the wet conditions that NJMP Thunderbolt 2018 presented, Saturdays race was opened by Zack Moore who ran a great double stint in low visibility conditions and a very slick track full of hazards. Carla Lebentritt hoped in at the next drivers change and started clicking off one great run after another, laying down personal bests in less than ideal conditions. Sean Mckay, a new addition to our team was in third. His experience in BMW Club Racing driving an IP was helpful and we quickly learned to carry the momentum and a car with slightly less power.
Wrapping up the day was Anthony Magagnoli who went out and went one fast lap after another. Immediately realizing the clutch was failing, Anthony’s skill as at rev-matching quickly helped and he started closing the gap on P1. With the checkered flag waving at 6pm, we were only 29 seconds short of the win. Wishing we had three more laps of race team to gain that 1st place, we were still excited to earn that 2nd place in horrible racing conditions and getting the car, crew and drivers home safe.
Sundays race opened up with the sun in the sky, but water on the track at NJMP Thunderbolt. Deciding on the full dry setup after a long night working on repairs and setup, Andrew Wikstrom started cranking out fast lap times right off green. Running similar lap times to our sister car the #72, the wet road surface was a great equalizer. Radio troubles prevented proper communication between the crew and the driver, but luckily the team was able to pull off a near perfect pitstop. Next driver in was Zach Moore who himself was making a great run despite transmission issues having reared their ugly head again. Sean McKay was the next driver in and finally the mechanical problems had become too much with the transmission failing and the engine dropping a valve on cylinder 3, the #92 was done for the day.
Despite this, overall, we felt we had a great weekend. Discovering just how fast the 92 is in the rain, and watching the team and drivers really develop their skills was a great experience overall. We will get the car fixed up and be ready for NCM in July. Stay tuned for more exciting racing action.
Thank you to our drivers: Andrew Wikstrom, Zack Moore, Carla Lebentritt, Sean Mckay and Anthony Magagnoli