The most prestigious Daytona event of the year
May Bank Holiday Weekend saw the biggest field ever compete in the Daytona 24 Hours – now in its 12th year.
Testing practice conditions
Practice began after the pit lane briefing was held under an overcast sky, promising rain to come. No sooner than the green light had signalled the start of practice, high winds caused one of the team awnings to get onto the track causing a red flag in the opening minutes. The marshals quickly sorted the issue and the 2 hour practice was underway.
Weather conditions were very changeable and clouds would quickly form and dump rain and hail in a matter of seconds on to the drivers who battled through from start to finish.
Qualifying started with no dramas and both SODI and DMAX classes were closely fought. Racing Sharks taking pole followed by HP Racing in the DMAX class, and, Brentwood Banta taking pole followed by TGS Racing in the SODI class.
The highs and lows of endurance racing
The race started behind the pace car (Team BRIT’s 220bhp Race Academy VW Polo) as planned and as it pulled away in to the pit lane both grids seemed to get away with no major incident.
However, the pole sitters in the DMAX class, Racing Sharks, had spun on the parade laps and re-took their position on the front of the grid contrary to the regulations, meaning they subsequently had to be black flagged and penalised putting them at a major disadvantage and chasing the rest of the pack from 45th place.
Bobby Trundley (5 times DMAX Champion) was the starting driver for Team Applewood. Starting in P8 (and shaking his head) he muscled his way forward and took the lead from Six Helmets Racing on lap 17.
In the SODI class, Brentwood Banta and TGS Racing had a fantastic start and through the opening 20 minutes of the race, were split by no more than 5 tenths of a second.
Incredibly testing weather throughout Saturday afternoon and overnight – with several hailstorms and lows of 3 degrees – kept conditions difficult throughout and it was surprising that only two incidents required red flags. The latter being a fairly substantial collision at Turn 1 between March Racing and Haas my Driving? After all drivers were checked, racing was ready to resume shortly before 1am.
Team Applewood continued to pull away throughout Sunday morning in the DMAX class, only relinquishing the lead temporarily during the second round of maintenance stops.
Brentwood Banta continued to pull ahead in the SODI class. The most notable challengers from the rest of the pack came by way of ‘Where’s the Weighbridge?’ and ‘Algorithmic Ascendancy’ who managed by get in to second and third place respectively by Sunday morning.
Early Sunday saw a number of short showers, spinning drivers off which spiced things up and helped reshuffle the order periodically. Towards the latter part of Sunday morning, a flurry of Full Course Yellows and karts needing to be recovered and refuelled, kept the race exciting until the chequered flag.
Even after the reshuffling in the chasing pack, there was one standout team in the DMAX class, finishing a clear 6 laps ahead of the field and getting the chequered flag, having held onto P1 for 443 consecutive laps. It was the same story in the SODI class with the winners also finishing 6 laps ahead of the field and taking the spoils.
All karts were weighed without incident and the podium places were revealed.
Worthy winners and notable improvements
Team Applewood win at the fourth attempt after recording 2x 2nd places and 1x 3rd in the last three editions. Also driver Bobby Trundley takes the DMAX Fastest Lap recording 1.05.409.
The Bandits in Front take 2nd in their first ever 24hr race as a team.
HP Racing, (previously Young Guns Racing and former Daytona International 24 Hours race winners) complete the podium just under 3 seconds ahead of Six Helmets Racing who had finished on the podium in the 2017 and 2018 Daytona International 24 Hours races.
Winners of the SODI Class, Brentwood Banta are the first SODI team to finish in the Top 10 overall since 2015. They have now won 2x Daytona 24 Hours races and 1x Daytona International 24 Hours race in the SODI class – which are their only appearances in the events. Perfect record.
Where’s the Weighbridge? improved on their 3rd place finish of 2018 to take 2nd place in the SODI class.
TGS Racing 2 completed the top 3, with TGS Racing taking fastest SODI lap recording a 1.08.890.
|Pos||Competitor||Class||Laps||Diff||Best Lap||In Lap|
|1||Team Applewood||D24 DMAX||1183||-||01:05.4||35|
|2||The Bandits in Front||D24 DMAX||1179||-||01:06.2||963|
|3||HP Racing||D24 DMAX||1174||-||01:05.8||36|
|4||Six Helmets Racing||D24 DMAX||1174||2.89||01:06.1||13|
|5||D&D Wildcard Racing||D24 DMAX||1168||-||01:06.0||34|
|7||Bill & Ben||D24 DMAX||1160||-||01:05.9||34|
|8||Clive Emson Auctioneers||D24 DMAX||1156||-||01:06.2||1069|
|9||March Racing||D24 DMAX||1153||-||01:05.8||1143|
|10||Brentwood Banta||D24 SODI||1151||-||01:09.0||32|
|11||Raven Motorsport Alpha||D24 DMAX||1149||-||01:06.1||45|
|13||Where's the Weighbridge?||D24 SODI||1145||-||01:09.7||266|
|14||TGS Racing 2||D24 SODI||1140||-||01:09.7||686|
|15||Raven Motorsport Bravo||D24 DMAX||1140||16.8||01:06.4||94|
|16||MRT - Manchester Racing Team||D24 DMAX||1140||52.375||01:06.0||31|
|17||Algorithmic Ascendancy||D24 SODI||1138||-||01:10.0||524|
|18||Pure Racing||D24 SODI||1138||6.437||01:09.8||479|
|19||Team Camo||D24 SODI||1138||19.177||01:09.2||824|
|20||The Fat and the Furious 5 - Takeaway Midriff||D24 DMAX||1138||54.321||01:06.9||59|
|21||Racing Sharks||D24 DMAX||1132||-||01:05.6||38|
|22||The Five Dollar Heads||D24 DMAX||1130||-||01:06.3||39|
|23||Scuderia WLF||D24 DMAX||1129||-||01:06.2||16|
|24||Going Going Gone||D24 SODI||1128||-||01:09.6||755|
|25||CQR Club||D24 SODI||1127||-||01:10.0||1120|
|26||Force Windia||D24 SODI||1127||41.638||01:10.0||981|
|27||TGS Racing 3||D24 SODI||1122||-||01:10.3||318|
|28||Pist 'n' Broke||D24 DMAX||1122||39.4||01:07.0||106|
|30||SMY Racing||D24 SODI||1119||-||01:10.0||647|
|31||Grindr Motorsport||D24 SODI||1119||18.159||01:10.2||41|
|32||Naponos SKR||D24 DMAX||1117||-||01:06.9||13|
|34||Purple Helmets||D24 SODI||1107||-||01:10.5||342|
|35||Apex Racing Team||D24 SODI||1106||-||01:10.1||1072|
|36||Mates on a Mission||D24 DMAX||1102||-||01:06.8||34|
|37||JTU Racing||D24 SODI||1101||-||01:10.7||610|
|38||Team MAD||D24 SODI||1096||-||01:10.9||1024|
|39||TGS Racing||D24 SODI||1095||-||01:08.9||43|
|40||Maple Motorsport||D24 SODI||1095||11.578||01:10.1||1091|
|41||Haas My Driving?||D24 DMAX||1082||-||01:06.5||11|
|42||Eagle Racing||D24 SODI||1080||-||01:11.4||258|
|43||Team MAD & CQR||D24 SODI||1070||-||01:10.6||811|
|44||Beta Romeo Racing||D24 SODI||1063||-||01:10.3||774|
|45||FEC Karting Manchester||D24 DMAX||790||-||01:07.0||406|
|46||N138 Racing||D24 DMAX||781||-||01:07.5||98|
Each year, at about this time, post the Daytona 24 Hours, a number of competitors, guests and colleagues say to me “that was the best 24 Hrs yet” and they are right. Team Daytona continue to raise the bar every time out, in delivery of this premium event. I saw a social media post from a European Team about their result in “the most important arrive and drive event in the calendar”.
A lot of work goes into the delivery of the event and I must commend and thank my colleagues who deliver the event, the management team at MK, the Engineers, the Operations Team, Front of House/Hospitality, Media, Sales and everyone else on our side who dig deep, plan well and deliver operational excellence with great customer service. Many people pulled stoopid hours and worked so hard to deliver the event. You know who you are, I salute you and am very grateful. I hope you take pride in being part of what must be a showcase in how to deliver a 24 Hour race.
A really sincere thank you must go to the competitors and Teams that took part in the event. Some years ago Alex Brundle, son of Martin and now a seasoned and successful endurance racer in his own right entered a team of top drivers in the event. I think Alex thought -“its a go kart race, and a bit of fun” and I know he expected a podium. The team didn’t make the podium and Alex told me that the Daytona 24 Hours is “tougher than Le Mans”! He put out an Instagram listing at the weekend describing the race as “savage”. He wasn’t being flippant, he and his team mates were absolutely wiped out by the race.
I mention this because I want to draw attention to the competitors and teams conduct in the race. Everyone races hard in the Daytona 24 Hours however every time we put out a yellow flag caution the drivers all reduce to a respectful and safe speed. The two classes respect each other and don’t have pointless fights over 3 square inches of tarmac which makes for a very hard fought race but one that is a joy and a pleasure to watch and manage. So, a big thank you from me and all of Team Daytona to all of our competitors and team personnel that took part in the race and supported the event in every way.
Looking forward to next time.