The fourth running of the Classic 24 Hour race came to a close Sunday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway after 24 hours of exciting racing. The Kelly-Moss team came well-prepared which paid big dividends for both cars and drivers in the race.
With new aero additions to Whyman’s RSR 001, qualifying was not only meant to land a clean run, but dial in the aerodynamic balance of the car. The overall goal being to optimize straight line speed without sacrificing slow speed performance in the infield section. The team at Kelly-Moss found large gains with small changes, allowing 001 to carry a good overall pace throughout qualifying, finishing 12th overall and 3rd in GT Class heading into the race. Asplundh, piloting his perfectly in-tune 991.1 GT3 Cup Car, was able to use qualifying to focus on course details and finding speed around the track. This netted Asplundh an impressive P3 in his class going into the race.
Asplundh , with his 991.1 GT3 Cup Car, had a simply amazing and drama-free weekend. Not only did he win one of the sprint races leading up to the Classic 24, he was the second best finishing 991 GT3 Cup Car at the event. Asplundh even turned his personal best lap time of a 1.54.675, and was able to manage personal energy levels, and pace, for a strong overall finish. A very impressive feat knowing Asplundh reached tops speeds of 177.8 MPH and finished 200 laps around Daytona.
For Whyman, shortly after race start a full-course caution forced Kelly-Moss to make a split-second decision; use their mandatory 3-minute pit stop now, or wait until later in the race and potentially lose their position in the field. With most of the field opting to not pit, Kelly-Moss brought 001 in, allowing a very minimal loss in track position and keeping them on the lead lap. This decision paid big giving 001 a one-lap advantage over the other GT cars. As the laps started to climb, the tremendous force of decelerating a car from 180 mph to 50 mph in 300 meters was causing abnormal wear and heat build up in the front brake system. The front calipers were rebuilt and off 001 went. The car survived hour 3, but brake life was still very, very low. After another pad swap and some creative ingenuity with cooling and heat distribution, brake issues had faded allowing Whyman to hold a strong pace and keep the 1-lap lead, ultimately landing him on the podium.
The only expectation not met for the Classic 24 was sleep time. With race sessions scheduled for 5PM, 11PM, 5AM, and 11AM, the Kelly-Moss team had hopes of alternate nap schedules between car prep. But with so much excitement, sleep wasn’t an option. The team stayed awake throughout the event, arriving at the track at 6:30 AM on Saturday, awake and working hard until the truck was loaded out around 3PM the following day. Endurance racing requires just that – endurance. Not just from the cars, or the racers, but from everyone and everything in between. This is what makes these races so special and unique, especially when you walk away with podium winning results.