DONKEY BOP RACING THRIVES IN NIGHT COMBAT; BOTH CARS FINISH STRONG IN THE 2020 24 HOURS OF NURBURGRING
April 26, 2020
“Anybody who says he loves the Nurburgring, is because he hasn’t driven there fast enough.” Niki Lauda
The Nürburgring is a 16-mile circuit with 170 turns and derives its name as it encircles the famous Castle of Nurburg, located about 40 minutes West of Koblenz, Germany in the Eifel Mountains on the West bank of the Rhine River. Dubbed the “Green Hell” by Sir Jackie Stewart, the Nürburgring is one of the oldest racing venues in the world, with the first race taking place there in 1927. This is also the most popular endurance race of the year in iRacing.
After some early setbacks, both Donkey Bop entries in the iRacing 2020 24 Hours of Nürburgring finished very strong, with a P15 and P22 in a very strong 54 car field (SOF 1628).
Although the race winner drove a BMW, the race was dominated by the Mercedes AMG GT3, which captured 9 of the top 10 spots and 13 of the top 15 positions at the checkered flag. Donkey Bop’s two entries were both Ferrari 488 GT3s, and were the top finishing Ferraris in the race.
“This is the most difficult race imaginable,” said Jim Ray, Team Principal for Donkey Bop Racing. “Driving this circuit in the dark is a real challenge for any driver – in the real world or in a simulation like iRacing. But, having drivers from all over the world helps us schedule our drivers for stints that are convenient for them in their local time zones really helps.”
Donkey Bop #001, crewed by Zachery Robinson (US), JF Godin (CAN), Daniele Noventa (ITA), Matthew Maseko (CAN), and Cody Bahr (US), after starting 27th on the grid, had to deal quickly with a couple early incidents requiring some fast repair work in the pits. But the #001 car excelled during the nighttime hours, when many other cars were having difficulty navigating the track without bending their car up. Robinson had a spectacular race, running 38 laps with an average lap time of 8 minutes, 28 seconds (8:28). Noventa and Bahr both had extremely clean races, with Noventa running 25 laps with only 1 safety incident point, and Bahr running 24 laps with just 3 incident points. Godin was right behind Robinson with an average lap time of 8:30, and Maseko also ran very strong with average lap times at 8:35.
“It was an exhausting race,” said Maseko. “But, the best part of the race was during the night. Zach spent an entire stint lapping at or faster than the leader’s pace. It was fantastic to watch and a privilege to share a car with talent the likes of which Zach was showing.”
Donkey Bop #002, driven by Tom Newman-Morris (AUS), Jim Ray (US), Larry Krupp (US), Jerry Foehrkolb (US), Hal Kemrite (US), and Kris Thompson (US), started 35th on the grid, but then had to drop almost to the very back of the field after a few early incidents. Like their brothers in the #001, the #002 crew came back strong during the night in the darkness and sliced through field, getting back to P35 around the halfway point. Then, the #002 team passed another 13 cars in the last half of the race, to finish in P22. The speed of Newman-Morris was on full display, as he cranked out the best average lap times among the #001 drivers, at 8:38.
Kris Thompson, who is a newer driver in iRacing in his 15th month of membership, drove his very first race at this famous venue. “One of the strengths of Donkey Bop is the great coaching you get from the more experienced drivers. I’m very appreciative of being able to drive some laps on a very good team. And I learned so much by being able to spot for our experienced drivers. Yes, Donkey Bop has its fair share of aliens, but they really enjoy helping newer drivers.”
Up Next: The Indianapolis 500. May 15-17th 2020
Wish us luck!
Team Paints by: JF Godin, Story by: Kris Thompson, Compiled by: Jim Ray