Despite numerous issues, Karen Gaillard feels there are positives to be taken from the Hankook 24H BARCELONA, an event at which Vortex V8 managed to remain in Overall GT Teams’ championship contention.
Karen Gaillard explains she is “very satisfied with [her] performance” at the Hankook 24H BARCELONA after Vortex V8 brought both of its cars home 5th and 6th in-class.
The young Swiss racer entered her third 24H SERIES round of the season in Barcelona, and was part of a four-driver line-up aboard the #701 Vortex 1.0 alongside Lionel Amrouche, Philippe Gruau, and Franck Leone-Provost. But while the lead Vortex had been running 3rd in-class after the first hour, issues began when suspected driveshaft failure caused Franck Leone-Provost to spin on the exit of turn nine just three laps into his first stint. Thereafter, the #701 Vortex was forced to pit for repairs to its gearbox. The sister #712 meanwhile also hit trouble early on: having been tipped into a spin at turn 12 by the CP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 – mere moments, ironically, after the #701’s own spin – the #712 lost time in the turn five gravel trap before suffering its own gearbox issues.
Both Vortex machines did manage to finish the race though in 5th and 6th in-class behind class winner Reiter Engineering, and the French team still lies fourth in the Overall GT Teams’ standings after four consecutive podium finishes so far in 2021. Despite enduring a tough race, Karen Gaillard was nevertheless satisfied with her own performance in Barcelona.
“Of course, this is not the result I expected, but I am very satisfied with my performance,” Karen explained to Swiss motoring website sport.auto.ch. “I did four solid stints, and was fast and very consistent without making any mistakes. I am especially happy to have been able to relive the experience of a 24 hour race, knowing that the 24 Hours of Le Mans remains my goal!
“During Frank’s stint, a mechanical breakage” – driveshaft “forced us to spend an hour in the box. I took the fourth stint around 5:30pm then did two night [stints], because I love driving at night. My stints went very well, despite the fact that we did not have large headlights! In the morning, a teammate damaged the front [splitter]… and I got behind the wheel for my last stint at 10:00 am.
“It was difficult to [drive] the car because the front [splitter] was almost touching the ground, which greatly destabilized the rear end. Nevertheless, I was [catching] a KTM X-Bow when suddenly 4th gear… stuck, so I had to bring the car back to the pit an hour before the end. The mechanics tried everything to fix the Vortex before the end of those 24 hours. Philip was [later] stuck in 3rd gear, but he was able to complete the last lap and cross the finish line.”
Having finished on the class podium at both the season-opener in Dubai and the follow-up in Mugello, Karen Gaillard now lies 3rd in the GTX-class Drivers’ standings on 56 points. Vortex has shown further interest in competing at both the upcoming Hankook 12H HUNGARY on 2-3 October and the Hankook 24H SEBRING on 18-19-20 November.