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May 29, 2017

Spa 24 Diary: Danny Depoortere

Spa 24 Diary: Danny Depoortere

I have to say, I always want to work in racing, so I always worked for this. I started a four year diploma in mechanics of road cars and then I went to ‘Ecole de la Performance’ in Nogaro, to specialise in racing. To complete the course we needed a work experience placement, so I called Philippe Dumas, team manager of Hexis Racing, and he agreed to take me on for a full season.DSF_0283

First of all, the Total 24 hours of Spa was our main race this year. Personally, I was on the number 7 car, driven by Alvaro Parente, Stef Dusseldorp and Alex Sims. For this event, I was in charge of refuelling. We prepared the cars differently compared to a normal event. I mean, the main preparation was at the workshop where we had to add new things like panels on the doors or new headlights on the front bumper. We also needed to check everything on the car and put all new pieces.

So, we arrived at Spa the Sunday before the race. We started to construct the pit garage on monday. It wasn’t easy because we were placed in the endurance pit lane and the garages are very cramped. We were allocated garage number four.

On Tuesday, we fixed the last things in the garage and on the cars. At the end of the day, we had scrutineering. Both cars passed with flying colours.

Wednesday was an important day for the fans, it’s the parade. In the morning before the parade, we had to change a few components like gearbox, brakes and put the old ones for practice.

Thursday was a busy day with all the free practice sessions and qualifying in the same day. We had a busy program so it was not easy to fit everything in. Everything went well and we qualified in P8, so it means we were allowed to do the Superpole on Friday.

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Friday morning, we fitted new components for the race (gearbox, clutch, etc) and then, we had to go out for the Superpole. It was Alvaro at the wheel and he put the car in P10. Not bad at all, we were the first McLaren on the grid. After Superpole, the car went to the Parc Ferme and then, we did some pit-stop training and refuelling until midnight.

Saturday, the most important day, it’s race day. Early in the morning, we had the warm-up. It’s our last session to check everything on the car and then, we had the race. The car went on the grid for the grid walk and after, it’s the race start. Alvaro took a good start but we were out of the race very early. Indeed, we had a problem in the first hours which cost us a lot of time. We fixed it and we went back on track. Then, we did our race without a problem until Alex had a crash with a slower car. Unfortunately, there were too much damage to repair the car. So we did not finish. Obviously, it’s difficult to realise, especially after all the work done for this race but, it’s racing and we have to focus on the next race.

Danny

About The Author

Gary Parravani

Gary Parravani is Racing.GT's chief photographer and website manager. The big boss of Xynamic Automotive Photography. Gary originally founded Racing.GT with Chris Partridge in 2013.