With the car finally back in the pits, Topcats could finally get there hands on it. The core plug had blown out and all the water along with it. They didn’t have one for that engine and there wasn’t one in the paddock. It looked bad. Just then an official told us we were black flagged for outside assistance anyway and we were out. Bummer.
We thought that was it but Warren had other ideas. Did anyone but you touch the car? He asked. No.
Did anyone give you anything for the car? No.
The Marshals gave me some water (small bottle as I was fncking hot) and I put some in the header to see where it was leaking from. That’ll be it, he said legging it off to race control…you guys fix the car.
We were all scratching our heads on how we were to make a core plug that would seal at 15psi, when Tom sussed it. He made one from a washer, a bolt and a length if bar. I kid you not.
20 mins later and the car was holding water. Unfortunately it ran like a bag if spanners. The head gasket had gone. Again! Not surprising since it had got fncking hot! The gasket was changed and Warren returned with the news that he had pointed out the error of the clerk of the course ( not easy at the biggest sports car classic of the year) and we were back in.
Rob Wilson was up next. His stint had been lost by the breakdown so owner Neil shared his. Rob would do the twilight into darkness run.
We saw him off the sat down for a cup of tea. 3 minutes later he turned up again. No water temp which was quickly diagnosed as a duff gauge broken by the earlier high temps. Off again.
Twenty minutes later and back in again. This time the alternator had gone, probably killed by the water that blew out of the block earlier on. We had a spare so in it went and off he went again. 15 minutes out there and no more probs. rob ran well and made back some slots we’d lost.
Finally Neil Huggins go. All that prep, all that agro, all that money! And finally Neil was getting his drive. 45 minutes to the flag. Could it make it?
Well in a word…yes! From there on in the car ran beautifully and was quick enough to pull back a few more places. Neil kept his pace solid and just kept banging the laps in. We had gone from literally last place to 92nd out of 123, not back for a 50 year old TVR that was out of the race 30 mins in.
Mega thanks to Neil and Owen for the opportunity to drive in the biggest and best Sports car race in Europe. Thanks also to Rob who was, like me, there for the experience, and finally thanks to the Topcats guys who kept us in it. Warren, Brian, Paul and Tom.
What a buzz, what a weekend! What a great little car!!!