It is often said that the big teams have a huge advantage, but do they? And can it be replicated?
The Kinetic team had a hugely successful weekend at Le Mans, taking podiums in multiple classes across all 3 regions and scoring heavily in the constructors championships in all regions. We asked Kinetic's team manager John King to share how the team prepared for the weekend to see if we can understand the secret(s) to the success.
Q: Kinetic is always strong but this weekend was really good for you. What was different?
A. I'm not sure to be honest - maybe just a bit of luck, or lack of bad luck. Maybe also the fact that the iRacing 24 was the weekend before rather than the other way around like it normally is meant that we were more prepared for the Majors races than we normally are.
Q: So you had completely standard and nailed setups then?
No, almost the reverse weirdly enough:
On the LMP1 (which we only ran in International), we basically used the toolkit set, with each driver making very minor adjustments on brake bias etc to suit their driving style.
On the HPD, half of the team used the Toolkit set, again with some adjustments to suit how they wanted the car to feel. The other half of the team used a setup shared by John Ulmer when he streamed an iLMS race 3 days before the iRacing 24.
For the GTEs, The BMW drivers used a set developed for the 24 hour race, The Porsche drivers used basically the same set I published as a toolkit set (apart from Christian, who went up a complete blind alley at the last moment and created a set that was fast on the straight but only he could have got around the corners as well as he did!) and the Ferrari setup was built during the last week by Marc Torres.
So, a bit of a mixed bag and nothing that small teams or even individuals couldn't have done themselves.
Q: Kinetic drivers often do a huge no of laps practice in Majors sessions but that wasn't the case this week. Did taking it easy help?
We didn't take it easy at all - we just didn't need to run in The Majors sessions as much because we'd already done so much for the 24. Most of Kinetic's drivers use VRS to analyse data, compare laps with each other etc and one piece of data you can get from VRS is how many laps drivers turn. Here's some from the last month:
Scott Corbin - 936
Marc Torres - 862
Dustin Beretson - 655
Vince l'Herbier - 607
The number include the laps done in the 24 and the Majors races. In total, the team turned over 9,000 laps at Le Mans this month. It's probably no coincidence that the 2 drivers that turned the most laps were our drivers that won their classes.
Q: Wow, that's a lot of laps. So, is the "unfair" advantage really just practice?
It's certainly a factor but I think everyone should decide for themselves.