Sebring Not the Start That Duncan Ende Was
Team car suffers race-ending damage in seventh hour collision during 60th Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring
March 19, 2012 (Los Angeles, Calif.) - It was the start he wanted, but not the finish, when Duncan Ende's no. 025 Silicon Tech / Dempsey Racing Oreca FLM09 led it's class during the opening hours of the 60th Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring, but was retired after a heavy impact with the wall in turn 10 of Sebring International Raceway.
With the sun shining on the huge crowd and the sixty-three starters in the endurance classic, the red, white, blue and circuit board Prototype Challenge car that was shared by Dane Cameron, Henri Richard, and Ende started the 12 Hours of Sebring in 23rd position overall, and third in the competitive Prototype Challenge class.
Ende would not get in the car until just past the four-hour mark, after Cameron - who started - had moved the car into the lead. As the teams in the Prototype Challenge class opted for differing pit strategies, Richard also maintained the lead until the team pitted under green-flag conditions to put Ende in the car. While running third, Ende touched the curb on the inside of turn three, sending his Prototype Challenge car into a spin. While the spin was harmless and caused no damage, the car would not restart, causing a full course yellow and sending the car behind the wall for repairs.
"It was simply a mistake on my part," said Ende. "I just touched the curb and instantly the car was in a spin, which was not a big problem because it got pointed in the right direction and the car suffered no damage. But when the car wouldn't start again, we had a much more serious issue."
The team quickly fixed the electrical problem and sent Ende back on track after losing numerous laps, but the issue would come back during a subsequent pit stop, sending the car back behind the wall for further repairs. With the car effectively out of contention for class victory, the team's focus shifted to completing the required 70% of race distance in order to ensure points for Ende and Richard. However, it was during a restart with Richard at the wheel that he was caught out by traffic while approaching turn ten, launching the car into the outside wall. While Richard was fine, the team assessed the damage as too much to repair in time to complete the 70% race distance, and the car was retired from the race.
"Well, of course, this wasn't the way that Dane, Henri, the team, or I wanted to finish at Sebring," said Ende. "We had a fast car throughout the week and we were in contention for the win from the beginning. Dane and Henri did a great job throughout the beginning of the race, and our car was great during my stint. Even after the spin and the time behind the wall, the car was pretty good despite the changing conditions and all the traffic. It was unfortunate that Henri was caught out in traffic on the restart, but we will just keep focused on Long Beach."
However, Ende took away many positives from the debut of the Silicon Tech / Dempsey Racing organization in the ALMS and Prototype Challenge classes. It was a busy weekend for the team, as not only did the organization contest its first ALMS race, but also announced a new LMP2 program for team principals Joe Foster and Patrick Dempsey.
"It's been great adjusting to the new team," said Ende. "It's a very professional team with a really great atmosphere. Everyone has been great to work with, and I'm really happy that I will be racing with the team this year. It will be great to have Joe and Patrick joining us later in the year when they begin racing in the P2 class."
The no. 025 Silicon Tech / Dempsey Racing Oreca FLM09 was officially classified in 58th position overall, seventh in the Prototype Challenge class.
The next round of the American Le Mans Series, the Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series at Long Beach, will be held on April 13-14. The two-hour race will be broadcast live on Saturday, April 14 at 7:30 PM ET on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com.