Six days earlier, RENNtech Motorsports, the Stuart, Florida based GT4-racing team led by Hartmut Feyhl, had announced agreements with Pro drivers Guy Cosmo and Patrick Byrne, along with a sponsorship deal with TORXEN for the remaining races of the 2019 Pirelli World Challenge GT4 America -series, starting with a Labor Day -weekend race at The Glen.
“We were excited to go racing with Guy and Patrick at Watkins Glen. The car and the team equipment was loaded up, strapped down, and had left for New York on Monday morning. We worked through the weekend to make time, and I was planning on meeting up with the car on Wednesday. Then, Tuesday morning i got a call from Stephen Franz, our truck driver.” Said Hartmut Feyhl.
The team trailer carrying the TORXEN #89 Mercedes AMG GT 4 race car, along with the team gear had ran been run off the road in an attempt to avoid a collision with another tractor trailer, sending the trailer and driver off the highway and down into a 100 foot ravine outside of Buchanan, Virginia.
Heavy Lifting - Trailer emerging form
the ravine with the help of Hugh's Transport.
Wednesday, 3 am, on Interstate 86 outside
Feyhl, Race Team Manager Sascha Kempter, and Team Member Sam Russell, took the first plane out from West Palm Beach, FL, to Virginia, to assess the situation and damages.
“It was shocking. We raced from Stuart,FL to Buchanan, VA in about 6 hours. When we got there the trailer looked to be in good shape, in relative terms, but it was wedged between the trees and we could not get into it. It was 3:30 am on Wednesday morning that the trailer was pulled out of the woods. On the inside, the car, tire racks, and all the equipment was in place, thanks to the proper loading and tie-downs our team had done.” Said Kempter.
Tree Limb - Image of tree limb piercing
the glove box. Stephen Franz was in the drivers
seat and avoided any serious injuries.
“Until Hartmut and Sascha arrived on the scene, no one really knew the full extent of the damage. On Wednesday, everyone started hitting the phones in a massive effort to exhaust every effort to salvage the race weekend. Guy and Patrick were notified around 10 a.m. to put them on alert of the circumstances as well as the effort to continue on. By that time we knew we had the drivers(s), the car, all the gear and the trailer… but we still were missing one rig, and had to work through the red-tape that goes with Interstate traffic accidents involving two semi-trucks! ” stated Eric Burch of P1 Groupe, RENNtech’s driver agency.
After logging 70 hours of work, a few hours of sleep, burning through phone batteries, and racing against the clock in an-all-out effort to get to the grid at Watkins Glen, the Team and Drivers were forced to make a decision on Thursday afternoon, and called off the race at Watkins Glen.
“The motor-home is gone, but the car and our equipment is in good shape and on its way back to Stuart. I am grateful that no one got seriously hurt, and for all the professionals in Buchanan, especially Hugh's Tansport, that worked incredibly hard to get us back on the road so that we could return home and go racing again.” Said Feyhl.
Walking Away Unharmed - Driver
of the rig was unharmed and was ready
to continue the journey. The rig was
destroyed beyond repair.
Beat, but not defeated, Feyhl and the Team returned to their Head Quarters in Florida on Friday, and began preparing the Team and the TORXEN #89 AMG GT4 for the next race, all while keeping an eye on Hurricane Dorian, a category 4 storm, looming southwest off the Florida Coast.
“As well as we plan, practice, and prepare, no amount of practice could ready us for that phone call on Tuesday morning. This experience with all the work and effort has made us more resolute, and we look forward to seeing the #89 TORXEN RENNtech car back on track with Patrick and Guy behind the wheel at Road America.” said Hartmut Feyhl.
The next stop for #89 TORXEN RENNtech Motorsports AMG GT 4 will be at Road America, WI, September 20 – 22, followed by the final race in the Pirelli World Challenge GT4 America series in Las Vegas, NV.
RENNtech Motorsports Trailer
Stuart, FL Friday, Friday, August 23rd