Early on in the weekend our team devised a rotation system. In hindsight, trying to “rest” after driving was very difficult. It’s pretty hard to get to sleep after immediately coming off the track since adrenaline is still running so high, but we made it work. The “crew chief” was in charge of the radio and calling the driver in for changes. During kart changes, teams were responsible for moving their number plate and transponder (attached to the airbox cover) from the old kart to the new kart. The “assistant crew chief” was responsible for helping change weights and change karts. Helper turned to extra rest as the night wore on, and that bled into assistant crew chief time, too. We were lucky if we got over an hour of sleep between duties. My wife was only able to manage 20 minutes of sleep for the entire 24-hour race. I managed around two hours.
Some teams used fancy spreadsheets on their computers to keep track of in/out times and other information. We went old school and wrote on the lid of a pizza box. It worked, though, and over 24 hours we only made one slight miscalculation due to a “typo”. It meant that the final driving session would be longer than 45 minutes, so it was broken into two stints, driven by yours truly.
Here I am being counted down for my last stints. Driver changes were given a “free” 20 second window which was also mandatory. If you finished your change faster than 20 seconds, you waited. If it took longer than 20 seconds, you were losing time on your stint. If you were doing a stop-and-go to separate stints, you waited the 20 seconds. 2 seconds to go!
Off I go for the final two stints in the last minutes of the race. At this point I had had about 2 hours of sleep in 24. Adrenaline definitely kept me going, but fatigue and pain were both front of mind. The configuration for this event was predominantly right-hand turns, which meant my left hip and shoulder got very sore as the race wore on. The inside of my right leg was also sore from hitting the fuel tank. And, of course, my forearms and hands were screaming for a break. But there’s no rest for the weary. I tried my best to stretch and relax my hands and forearms on the straights, but so many laps takes its toll.
Everyone came to compete with a hope of a win. With the exception of one particular team, all the drivers were true sportsmen (or sportswomen!). Even after 24 hours of wheel-to-wheel combat, drivers in different classes maintained respect and admiration for one another.
An official gets the checker ready for both the finish and for the obligatory victory laps for the different classes.