The Reynard 2KQ Sportscar debuted in its first sports car race with Johansson Matthews Racing competing with the brand new car at the famed Daytona 24 Hour Race. The talented driver line-up, dedicated race crew and strong car which endured a...
The Reynard 2KQ Sportscar debuted in its first sports car race with Johansson Matthews Racing competing with the brand new car at the famed Daytona 24 Hour Race. The talented driver line-up, dedicated race crew and strong car which endured a number of racing incidents gelled together over the gruelling 24 hour event to bring the car home 4th in class, 23rd overall.
The team qualified the car in fourth position for its first USA endurance race. Stefan Johansson started the race and quickly moved into third place, which he retained for over 50 laps before the car became a victim of flying debris, with a piece of splitter crashing into the left sidepod of the 2KQ causing major suspension and bodywork damage. The Johansson Matthews crew quickly got to work repairing the car and 25 minutes later it was back on track. A difficult start to the race for the new car and very bad luck. Undaunted, Stefan Johansson, Jim Matthews, Guy Smith and Memo Gidley took their turns piloting the 2KQ, with each one making progress through the field. The car had returned to the track in 72nd position at the 3 hour mark after repairs, but by midnight the team were in 30th place overall and 4th in class. Along the way there had been a gearbox failure (a quick 6 minute change) and a number of mechanical issues to contend with. As the car raced on through the night another gearbox problem meant another change - 6 minutes again. As dawn broke ,the car moved into the mid-twenties on the leaderboard, a position which they were able to maintain through the morning. As the race drew to a close, the team were running comfortably to finish in 4th place in the Sports Racer class, 23rd overall.
Mark Smithson, Sales and Marketing Director, Reynard Motorsport summed up the debut of the 2KQ, "Johannson Matthews Racing have done a fantastic job to keep the car on track for the race distance. They have had a number of teething problems with the car and everyone worked extremely hard to keep running - and running fast. They turned the second quickest lap just over half way through the race - no mean feat at around two in the morning. I know that everyone at Reynard is very proud of their efforts and full of admiration for such an outstanding performance. It's an excellent start for the 2KQ, but I think we are only at the beginning. We're working very closely with the team to develop the car - improving reliability, aerodynamic potential and overall performance. I think we have a winning car in the 2KQ and we'll be working hard to take the chequered flag. We're looking forward to our other customers joining the programme over the coming weeks."
Stefan Johansson enjoyed his Daytona 24 Hours race, commenting, "I'm very happy we finished the race of course. It was worth persevering and sticking it out for 24 hours because I think everyone learnt a lot from running gearbox, engine, chassis, tyres, everything. Nothing compares to testing a car during race conditions, so I think it was invaluable for everyone. The car was very, very good. We got the car working better and better during the race and we're getting quite confident now that we have a very quick car. "
Jim Matthews, adds, "It's great to finish our first race with the new team and the new car. It was strong. We had some gearbox problems, but we had a lot of support from Reynard and our lads did a great job. I really enjoyed driving the car too. At first I was a little tentative, but over the miles I became familiar."
Guy Smith, the young British driver with the team, enjoyed his first 24 hour race saying, "It's been a real experience. Obviously to have got through it in one piece is good. For me personally it's been quite an eye opener. I've never done a driving stint over an hour and I did a three hour stint this morning which was new to me. I'd never driven a car this quick before as well, so that was good, so I've done all kinds of stuff this weekend. In fact I've done the equivalent of half a season of Indy Lights in two days. It's been good fun."
Memo Gidley, young Californian fourth driver, is equally enthusiastic, "For me this was really good. Every time I was out in the car and every lap was a lot different as I'm used to Sprint racing format, but I really learnt a lot. It was great driving the car. Just about all the time we were driving flat out and the car was literally screaming. I reckon it was about one of the fastest cars out there when we were on it. It's just a shame that we had a few mechanicals that are related to the new programme and not having a lot of time testing it, but the car was great to drive. It was awesome."
John Wickham, Team Manager, endorses the driver's: "We had a very eventful first Daytona, the first racing event for the 2KQ. We knew it was going to be difficult, there were a lot of parts on the car which we only tested to a certain degree, but really a very good experience for us, and I'm sure for Reynard as well. An awful lot has been learnt and we can move forward to Sebring with a lot of hope. All the drivers did very, very well. Exactly as we asked and they all proved they could drive quickly and consistently which is really good for the future. The engine was perfect right from the start to the finish. And the Yokohama tyres were a bit surprising. They went really well at night. We were doing quicker lap times when it was dark and cool than during the day."