12h: Amro Al Hamad completes toughest endurance challenge at Zandvoort 12hr
Doha, May 11th 2016 – Amro Al Hamad travelled to the Dutch coastal race track of Zandvoort last weekend but he had no time for sightseeing. In his toughest endurance race yet the Vortex V8 Team overcame several difficult technical issues with the car to finally finish the 12hr race.
The 12hr race for this event was conducted in two parts over two days, due to excessive the noise in the sleepy coastal town. With 43 cars on the grid on Friday, Lionel Amrouche put the car on P18, 3rd fastest in the competitive SP2 class. Amrouche took the start of the race on Friday and after his stint changed drivers with Amro who took the wheel for a short time before a race ending crash caused by a throttle problem, 6 laps into his stint. The car is based on a BMW 1 series M Coupe, the original turbo engine has been replaced with a Chevrolet V8, giving around 550hp and weighs just over 1000kg, but with no ABS and no Traction control the car remains a challenge.
“I was coming into turn 7 when the throttle stuck wide open at 100% then I tried to brake but couldn’t stop and hit the barrier hard on the side, it was really strange situation with the electronics and it was such a hard hit that we spent the rest of the race stuck in the pit box for an hour and a half repairing the damage, up until then everything was going well with the car,” said Amro.
In the second part of the race on Saturday, team mate Cyril Calmon took the start, after the crew had made the repairs, the team were anxious to make up time and catch the SP2 class leaders to chase a dream podium position. On the next driver changeover with Lionel Amrouche, he had heavy contact with another car which damaged the bodywork on the rear and the front, compromising the aerodynamics of the car.
With the bodywork held together by tape and crossed fingers, Amro took his final stint in the car at 5pm and took the finish flag at 6:20pm completing the race and bringing the car home 5th in class.
“It was a very difficult race but the whole team pulled through with repairs and then a fuel pump problem in my second stint today but the teamwork paid off and at least we finished the race which makes it all worthwhile.”
“Once again I’d like to thank our Qatar Motorsport Federation for being so co-operative facilitating all the documentation and licensing to enable me to race internationally and special thanks our President of the Federation Abdulrahman Al-Mannai, for making the whole process easy for me.”
“I will continue to look for sponsor partners to support me in the next phase of endurance races and I am looking to make the next step into prototype racing in the new LMP3 car as there is a lot of potential for more international exposure for Qatar.”