Bathurst 24: Ryan Hooker race report

Ryan Hooker Experiences the Highs and Lows At Bathurst 24hr Ryan Hooker's journey to the other side of the world has proved a fruitful experience and confirmed to the young Essex talent that his quest to compete in Sportscar and eventually Le...

Ryan Hooker Experiences the Highs and Lows At Bathurst 24hr

Ryan Hooker's journey to the other side of the world has proved a fruitful experience and confirmed to the young Essex talent that his quest to compete in Sportscar and eventually Le Mans remains on track. Competing in the prestigious Bathurst 24hr race in Australia with the Pilkington Team in their Nissan 350Z, Ryan experienced first hand the rigours, highs and lows of endurance racing.

Over three sessions of qualifying Ryan impressed and had his first taste of high speeding circuit driving in the dark during the night qualifying session. "It's magic driving at night" says Ryan, "I'd seen it before when I'd been to Le Mans but being part of it, in the pits, driving, it's a dream come true, everything comes alive."

The undulating 6.213km circuit in New South Wales proved to be one of the most challenging Ryan has ever encountered, and with the weather taking a turn for the worst, torrential rain ensured the drivers would be tested to their very limits. Driving in a four man team, Ryan took the wheel for the second hour stint in atrocious conditions as the rain lashed the circuit, "Mud was sliding off the banks around the mountain with huge puddles collecting at the bottom of each down hill section" Ryan explains. Whilst the safety car was brought out on several occasions as many a competitor spun off the track and out of contention, Ryan thoroughly enjoyed the hazardous conditions!

Sadly, the Nissan 350Z started to show serious over heating problems and after frantic attempts by the team to rectify the problem it proved terminal and the team were forced to retire on lap 65 when it was found the head gasket had gone.

"I had a funny empty feeling inside of me when the car retired" says Ryan, "I suppose it's because I have had about a 98% finishing record in my races, unfortunately with a race as long and as hard as a 24hr you do what you can but anything can happen to the car at any time. But, I've learnt so much especially with regard to the structure and procedures of endurance racing and feel I am coming away a more rounded driver and looking forward to the future and the 2004 season."

-rh-

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About this article
Series Road racing
Drivers Ryan Hooker