MCD 24h Cup - Race Report
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2nd MCD 24h Cup – again a great success!
At the 2nd MCD 24h Cup, 18 teams with 96 drivers took up the challenge of an exciting 24 hours race. Coming from all over Europe – Finland, Hungary, the Czech republic, France, Romania, Germany, Bulgaria and Turkey – it wasn’t just about winning, but the experience of an exciting 24h race. And making it across the finish line.
A long distance race brings along its own host of challenges and pitfalls – from overwhelming one’s own fatigue to fixing and even preventing technical defects. Preparation too, is paramount in an event like this.
The 2nd MCD 24h Cup was held at the beautifully prepared track of BUMOD in Bursa, Turkey. The prep work has been shared between BUMOD and MCD to bring the racetrack to top notch conditions.
Hence, arriving at the site provided the drivers with a stunning impression
But let’s start at where it all began…
The first teams were arriving on Thursday’s evening. They received a warm welcome by MCD and were brought to the hotel, because the impending endeavor was just a few hours away. Nevertheless, the hotel’s terrace was crowded with drivers meeting for a beer and talking about the upcoming event until 2 o’clock in the morning – seven hours before the official beginning.
Right after breakfast, MCD’s transfer service brought us to MCD’s factory, where some of the teams engaged in last minute preparations on the bodyshells. Noon saw the arrival of pizza delivery boys with copious amounts of pizza, that I’ve never seen before.
On went the day, and Sinan Sunali, owner of MCD invited us to a round trip through the factory. No door has been locked for us, and no question remained unanswered – it was just incredible to see the production facilities, the prototyping labs and the R&D department from up close!
At around 15:00, we boarded the ferry towards the racetrack – it would be a 4-5 hour trip first by ferry, then by car.
Your common traffic jam in Istanbul…
Arriving at our hotel near the racetrack, most of us were too tired for anything else except dinner at the hotel’s own restaurant. Have an early night, was the motto, as we had to get up at 7 in the morning to make it to the drivers’ meeting in time. stattfinden.
Saturday & Sunday:
We arrived at the racetrack at 8 o’clock, and first of all, we were just overwhelmed with the marvelous location. Getting down to the strategic bits, the orienting, and the familiarizing with the track really felt difficult at first, given the stunning view!
Drivers’ meeting & assigning cars and pit tables
The drivers’ meeting took place at exactly 8:30, and we were briefed about how the race would be held. As the teams were provided with equipment and cars, the assignment of the pit tables and material was done through drawing numbers.
Afterwards, every team had 2 hours to complete the pre assembled RTR kits and install their own rc components. There was also enough time for rough setup work or to mount the raincover provided by MCD.
At 11 o’clock, the racetrack was open to all teams for practice runs and further setup refinement. The training session lasted for 2 hours, giving us enough time to zero in on the setup. The right setup is paramount in a long distance competition like this one – you’ll have to set up your car to make it easy and forgiving to drive, because you will get tired as the race goes on. On the other hand, you still need to retain some edge to keep the corner speed up.
Following the training session, the qualifiers started WRC-Rally style. Each team had to do four laps which were summed up and used as the starting positions for the race, so the team with the fastest overall qualifying time would start from pole position. The other teams would start with a gap of 30 seconds, about one lap on the track.
The Finnish team could secure pole position with Robitronic Racing Team from Germany behind and the Turkish Team TR in third place.
Now its time for the main event to commence – the 24h of Bursa! 18 teams with their MCD X4 rally cars were battling for the 2011 championship of the MCD 24h cup. After the qualifying runs, there was a time frame of 30 minutes to get the cars ready for the challenge and get to the pit lane.
The starting signal has been given for Team Elfying Racing from Finland, and the race was on at 15:00, exactly on time.
As expected, the starting phase got quite hectic, but by then, everyone had realized, that this was going to be a long distance race, so everbody drove more safely than in a classic 45min run. Which does not mean, that there was no action going on – quite the opposite is true! With 18 1/5th scale cars on the track, this was bound to be a great race that will see its fair share of overtaking maneuvers.
As the night fell, those cars fitted with lights where a special sight to behold for sure. As a distant spectator, one could really think that there’s a full scale race going on!
But thanks to the floodlighting, the teams without headlights on their car had proper sight too. The track was brightly lit and no one had to go blind flying.
The track’s buffet opened at 20 o’clock and the resting drivers could indulge themselves in the national delicacies, but also a broad selection of international foods at very reasonable prices. The restaurant was open all night, so one could drop by, warm up or enjoy Turkish coffee.
Against the odds – or rather the forecast – the weather was fine and spared us the rain, at least until the morning light.
No problem for the team though, as MCD has issued rain tyres that were specially made for the 24h race. The grippy rubber compound provided for fast and consistent lap times despite the challenging conditions. The fastest teams were only three seconds behind their best laptimes on the dry track. The X4 rally cars still handled great with a rear end as planted as ever. It was only at the entrance of the corners, where understeering became quite noticeable.
Drivers’ area at night.
The morning was greeted with a breakfast buffet for the drivers to fortify themselves for the remaining hours. You see, one could hardly miss out on the culinary side…
On the track, there were always exciting battles going on – no matter if it was day or night, dry or wet Some were of a more tactical approach, some others a rather direct attack, as the picture with team Finland and Team Hungary shows. If that is still considered polite door-knocking?! A great spectacle for onlookers none the less!
After the night’s rainfall, the track got extremely dirty and slippery, but the X4’s solid front drive and the trigger-happy drivers made quick work of the new conditions as the cars drifted through the corners. Even after 20 hours, there was no decision on the positions yet, as four teams were still in victory’s reach and hot position fights ensued. The first three positions were constantly changing through the night and the early morning hours. There was Team Ebola Racing from the Czech republic in front, only to be overtaken by the Finnish team and later, it was the Turkish Team TR’s turn. Most overtaking occurred during pitstops for technical issues. About 70% of those were electronics related, and 20% could be attributed to the engines. The X4 cars themselves showed great endurance and resilience, as only 10% of technical issues were related to mechanical faults – an impressive proof of the MCD X4 Rally’s top grade quality. Especially when considering the harsh weather conditions!
After some more fighting for positions, the 24 hours of Bursa were finally over. Congratulations to Team Elfying Racing from Finland. They were right at the front of the pack all the time, without major technical difficulties. Additionally, they used their two fastest drivers for the latter half of the race.
Team Robitronic Racing Germany came in second, who had massive servo and engine related problems during the first 12 hours. Team TR from Turkey could secure the third place with bad luck during the last 6 hours of the race due to servo problems.
Champagne shower inclusive!
But in the end, every team was a winner – against the clock and against the weather conditions! Hence, MCD provided special trophies for everyone, so none had to go home empty-handed.
I hope that all of you had so much fun like we had at Robitronic Racing Germany.
Hopefully we’ll see each other at next time’s 24H MCD Cup!
After everyone went to bed, dead tired and exhausted, we had to get up at 6 o’clock in the morning again! We departed towards Istanbul at 7 o’clock to arrive at the airport in time.
At the airport, some teams said goodbye and went on the plane homewards. Others set out for a sight seeing tour in Istanbul. First stop: The “Grand Bazaar” and the Hagia Sophia.
The trip further led us to Safir tower which provided us with a stunning view over Istanbul. You can’t guess Istanbul’s size unless you’ve seen it from Safir tower!
Sadly, there was too little time for a longer sight seeing tour, but Istanbul’s sights are impressive none the less!
So, I wave my final goodbye at the airport and hope that we’ll meet again!
It has been a great experience that I don’t want to miss. In fact, I just want a rerun!
Marc Kreisig - Robitronic Racing