Kimura racing driver Max Mayer comments on his season final race at the Portimão circuit.
“Away for the last time in 2023 to the rollercoaster Portimão circuit on the Algarve in Portugal.
Just before the first practice session on the Thursday FP1 out of nowhere the heavens opened with a torrential rainstorm which left us ankle deep in the paddock so we had no other option than to stay in the box and not risk an accident. Our decision we feel was the right one and was confirmed later in the session when the LMP4 championship leader crashed badly from aquaplaning and was not able to qualify the car the following day due to the damage he sustained. This was to be the trend of the weekend as the weather was constantly changing wet to dry and back to wet again.
Friday morning once again the weather had changed from dry to wet and so I started the stint in FP2 to try and get the car in the right set up for Martin to adapt as quick as possible in the wet. We were both really happy with the car by the end of the session and posted the fastest lap time on the time sheets.
Qualifying 1 later in the day was totally different again as it was now dry! Martin was the first one in the car and did a fantastic job securing a P3 but unfortunately we had our lap time deleted which demoted us down to P5 which although was annoying we were happy and confident that our pace for race 1 would be there.
I then jumped in the car for qualifying 2 with the most perfect conditions of the whole weekend so far… I was purely focused on securing pole position for race 2 and managed to complete my goal with finding the limits in the first few laps and stringing an almost perfect lap together to be 0.7 tenths ahead of P2! I was super happy with the job done by the whole team, Martin and I and we were very much looking forward to what was going to be an incredible last day of the season of racing.
Saturday RACE DAY
Last day of the racing season and our target was simple …. Win both races ! This would secure P3 in the championships maybe even P2 if one of our rivals had a failure. We knew it was going to be really difficult but we were going to give it our all.
Martin was starting and after a brilliant start to the race going from P5 up to P2 we were looking really good and happy with our pace. As we got to half way through his stint the drivers from behind were starting to catch us up and unfortunately overtook us but Martin was keeping with them to the end of his stint and we had a superb pit stop.
After many laps of fun setting some fast fastest laps and some good overtakes we finished P2 which left us only 4 points away from P3 in the overall championship. We were feeling really happy with our strong race pace and looking forward to the second race later in the afternoon.
Typically as the weekend had already shown we were not really surprised to see that it was fully wet again for our last race of the season. With the knowledge of how fast we had been in FP2 in the wet we were still confident we could get the result we needed to secure the P3 in the championship goal.
As it was my turn to start I knew I needed to get the biggest gap possible for Martin to have the best chance of bringing the car back home at the front. I got a great start and was in front of all the JS2’s and several of the LMP4 cars and after many laps of consistent lap times and increasing the gap to 12.5 seconds it was finally my time to box and hand the car over to Martin to give it his all. He had some intense fights on track even including some contact from another driver who later served a drive through penalty for the incident. The pressure was on to secure P2 which we were delighted to achieve which in turn gave us the P3 in the overall championship.
It was a great weekend with strong results proving that we have had the pace to be at the very front….
Fastest in FP2
Pole position for race 2
Fastest lap in race 1
Fastest lap in race 2
P2 in race 1
P2 in race 2
I would like to thank everyone for their support and I couldn’t have done this season without Nick, Lyndsey, and Alan from RLR as well as the whole team giving full support from the first moment we met the them a year ago. Kokoro performance for the coaching and many hours of sim work and preparation. Thank you to all my new sponsors for this year that I hope we can move forward with next years very exciting plans. Thank you to Simon B and Martin R and of course my family…..and just thank you to everyone who as supported me this season.
A new chapter starts very soon so stay tuned to what’s going to be an incredible season in 2024.”