American racer Kevin Gleason returned to the HANKOOK 24H Series for the Spanish round of the championship alongside Dr. Fareed Ali, Leyton Clarke and Simon Atkinson, securing a fourth-place-finish on the SP3 in the OCC LASIK Racing run by Newbridge Motorsport’s Porsche Cayman GT4 CS.
The team capitalised on Gleason’s extensive GT and endurance experience throughout the race, especially whilst in the running for the podium. In total, Gleason was behind the wheel of the #231 Porsche for an impressive 14 hours out of 24.
“I was fun – we made a lot of progress at Paul Ricard so here in Barcelona the Porsche was easier to drive and that helped with our pace and to conserve the tyres,” said Gleason. “The team worked hard, we had a lot of fun and continued to learn a lot.
“I drove a lot of hours – and no sleep – but it was a lot of fun to drive flat out in every stint.”
Only a late night cooling leak, which resulted in a loss of 15 laps while replacing the radiator, prevented the team from securing its first podium finish.
“I started getting warning lights (on the dashboard), so I slowed down to bring it back into the pits,” Gleason explained. “Unfortunately, the gravel traps are right next to the track so when running off-line if scatters the gravel. The car in front must have done just that and launched a pebble through our radiator.
“That cost us a lot of time in the pitlane and a podium position. We know we could have been third, so fourth is a little disappointing.”
Gleason’s guidance certainly rewarded the British team, in just its second 24H race, with a much-improved performance. Dr Fareed Ali, who is also coached by Gleason, was happy with the event as a whole.
“We all had a thrilling and enjoyable weekend of racing in the 24,” said Ali. “I think it is a sign of the overall progress the team has made that we’re disappointed to have finished fourth in our class.
“Kevin joined us for the second race and put in consistently fast stints throughout without any sleep at all… He certainly did more than his fair-share at 14 hours and we just missed the podium. That was a shame but it certainly was not for the lack of trying on his part.”