«  Alfa Romeo returns to Formula 1 <- Back to: Races & Rallyes Daytona 24 Hour Classic Meeting  »

High Hopes! The Creventic Hankook 24 at COTA.


The Creventic Hankook 24 at COTA was a race with many questions. How would it be to race for 14 hrs? Then stop for 9 hrs and restart for the final 10? How could it all work out? 

Friday was practice and then qualifying with 7 different classes running and a host of international and American drivers, not to speak of all levels of experience: John Briody of Team Cos Euser was doing his 90th 24-hour race and Max Fedler, after winning the 24hr World Racing League in Colorado, going for his 2nd 24 hr win. Could he make it two for two?

© 2017, Red Case Photography

I chose to look at CUP1 with the #158  VESS BMW M235i Team of Classic BMW of Plano with Jason Hart - Team leader, Mike Vess - car owner,  Matthew Travis, John Henry Capesstro-Dubets and Max Fedler. Max is the youngest driver in this race. At 17 years old, Max has already raced in the Pirelli World Challenge and in many other events. He qualified the car P1 for Jason to start the race.

After a clean start, Jason kept the car clean as the next three drivers did the same before Max got his first stint. He worked through his laps and kept up the pace. As in all 24 hr races, there are highs and lows, and the Classic BMW team had their share: with rear diff temps high, replacing the pump, fluid, and filter, they lost their lead margin. Then during Max's night drives, the VESS Sponsored BMW had his first spin ever in any race. With no damage to the car. Max learned that he was on cold tires, a result of him forgetting to ask the team if he had new or scrubbed tires. With Max back on pace and racing again, he had to return to the garage after a spark plug broke just two laps later. After getting out, Max was down on himself for the spin, but follow teammate John Henry said :
“I wanted to encourage him and let him know that the team wants him there and he deserves to be there. I didn't want him to focus on the spin but getting back into the race mentally. He was able to put it behind him and ultimately go back to doing what he does well - Race! What really counts is coming back after a mistake. He did a great job of getting back on the horse and driving clean.”

Then during his second night stint both front shocks broke, with a cool head, like a veteran, Max was able to let Crew chief Ben know what was wrong and then was able to get the car back to the garage for repair. The team fixed the car and was back out for the final hours on Saturday.

Sunday started out with a nice morning and lots of excitement for the next stages of 10 hrs of racing. The team was able to cycle through pits stops and drivers changes and was leading going to the last stop. With tires and new front brake pads installed, Matt Travis was put in behind the wheel to bring it home! The VESS BMW won its class by two laps and all involved played a major role in this victory.

The race was long and hard, very rewarding for the team VESS Classic BMW , as they stood on the top step of the podium!  Now as the racing season is coming to an end, I feel that 2018 will surely have High Hope's for Max Fedler! 

I would like to thank Mr. David Fedler, Mr. Jason Hart and Mr. Mike Vess , the drivers and Team of Classic BMW of Plano for all their help and complete access!

Report & Photos: Joseph Bierschbach