Liz Halliday finished tenth in class on her LMP1 debut despite a troubled Nurburgring 1000km race which saw the Creation AIM she shared with South African Stephen Simpson suffer two lengthy pit stops.
Simpson qualified the car 18th on the grid and had climbed a couple of places in the early laps, but unfortunately a problem was brewing. Damage caused by contact with a spinning LMP2 car at the first corner caused a blockage in the cooling ducts for the starter motor and gearbox and had to be remedied to prevent later problems from occurring. As a result, considerable time was lost in making repairs. Having dropped well down the field to 42nd overall, Simpson fought back well to 25th by the time he handed over to Halliday.
Liz’s first ever stint in the premier sportscar class started in unfortunate circumstances when she was hit from behind by a fellow LMP1 car on her first lap out of the pits. Rear bodywork damage forced her back into the pit lane for more repairs.
After rejoining the race back down in 38th, Halliday began to claw her way back up the field, during her stint, with Simpson continuing this good work when he returned to the car. Both drivers safely worked their way past the plethora of GT cars at the notoriously tight Nurburgring circuit and with a number of LMP1 cars falling by the wayside, they managed to recover to a respectable 22nd overall and 10th in class at the end of the six hour endurance race.
Liz Halliday: “It’s been a steep learning curve but I’ve really enjoyed being back in the thick of the action again and I was very impressed with the whole Creation team. It’s a new car and a new track for me but I think I improved throughout the race and it’s been a fantastic and very worthwhile experience. I have never raced with Stephen before but he’s a fantastic co-driver and very helpful. He’s an easy guy to work with and very quick so I’m really looking forward to my two races in the US with him and the team.”
Stephen Simpson: “This is my first ever sportscar event and before now I’ve never been in a race for more than an hour. Doing two double-stints was very different, but really enjoyable. I’ve learned so much this weekend and overall I’m really happy.”
Team Principal Mike Jankowski said: “This was a big baptism of fire for Liz after such a long period out of a racing car and I think she did a really good job. Her lap times kept coming down throughout the weekend and she held her own against a quality field of drivers. I’m looking forward to working with her again at Petit Le Mans and Laguna Seca later in the year.”
Photos courtesy of john Brooks and Dominique Breugnot