It was a roller coaster of a weekend for the Conquest Endurance team. To simply say the team finished on the podium for the third time in three races wouldn’t accurately sum up the drama that found the team this weekend.
Conquest came into the weekend strong after dominating the previous race at Long Beach. They had the car to win at the Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway; they simply needed to make it through the weekend without a hitch. That proved more difficult than anyone could have anticipated. The first two practices of the weekend were strong. The three drivers consistently kept it at the top of the P2 class. And then during Friday’s second practice, David Heinemeier Hansson brought the car into the pits, having felt the front suspension break. Without enough time to repair the car, the team was forced to miss the remainder of practice and the qualifying session. Going into the night, the team was faced with the fact that they might not be able to run the race – the rare part they needed could not be flown over from Le Mans, France in time for the race. But they did not quit.
By Saturday morning’s warm up, the Conquest Endurance team, working much of the night, had found a workshop that was able to create the broken part from the blueprints. It was race day. Starting from the back of the pack, David Heinemeier Hansson pushed the car through the field. After a mere 30 minutes, he was third in the P2 class and fifth overall. Then a puncture in the tire caused him to pit early and transfer the car to Martin Plowman.
This weekend was Plowman’s first at the famed Laguna Seca, and he took to the track quickly. Through his stint, he placed the car in second in class, chasing down his opponents. Antonio Pizzonia joined the Conquest Endurance team for the weekend and took control of the car after Plowman. Because of Hansson’s shortened first stint, the team needed him to finish out the race in order to fulfil his minimum time requirements in the car to score points. Less than one lap in, Hansson reported an issue with the gearbox and came back to the pits. Now, instead of chasing down first place, the team was working under the clock to hold on to their second place position. With eight minutes to spare, the team sent Hansson back out on the track to take the checkered flag and collect their second place points.
The Conquest Endurance team was resilient and steadfast. Despite challenge after challenge, they persevered to collect the points they needed, inching closer to the lead in the championship. Martin Plowman, driver, summed it up, “It was a bittersweet day. We were fighting for a win there until we had a gearbox issue and ended up finishing second. But the fact that we even made it on the grid shows the determination and professionalism of this team. We still have to keep fighting hard and doing a good job and I have no doubt that our first win will come soon.”