After a marathon effort that took 151 hours to get from Paekākāriki to Herschbroich, Germany, Wayne Moore has completed his 27th Nurburgring 24 Hour Race, a race that became a nine-and-half-hour enduro of two sprints.
Delayed more than 14 hours due to fog and poor visibility, this was Moore's 27th Nurburgring 24 Hour Race, this time driving for the GITI Tires team.
Driving a Golf VII 2-litre turbo production car, the sole VW in a class of 10, Wayne said the other makes were lighter and quicker cars.
"Factory teams of very fast GT3 cars were extremely competitive for a race win right from the start, and highlights of early wet laps show innumerable incidents and many serious crashes," Moore said.
Often untested over 24 hours, the other GT3 cars proved to be reliable and Moore's team finished seventh in class.
"There's no trophy for seventh or 93rd overall, although still a lot of kudos to achieve any finish at this event and in such trying conditions."
The race was red flagged after heavy rain as fog then made it impossible for neighbouring marshal points to communicate visually.
Moore had driven eight laps of the challenging 25.3km Nurburgring circuit before the red flag, and did not expect to drive again as the race restart was repeatedly delayed as the heavy fog lingered.
His fellow drivers Sven Friesecke from Switzerland, Niels Borum from Denmark and German Axel Jahn collectively decided with the GITI Tires team that the 69-year-old Kiwi, who had spent 151 hours travelling to Germany, should have the last two drives and finish the race for car No.166.
"I couldn't believe what I was hearing.
"This was an extreme honour and ultimately I drove 18 of our 44 total laps."
Moore said this was the first year in a long time that he felt fully comfortable with the car he was racing, despite having only two sets of two laps in qualifying that were untidy and not settled.
"Into my first eight-lap race stint it didn't take too long to fully learn the nuances of the car and be comfortable with it.
"It's an interesting transition as you change from being a little fearful to total enjoyment.
"The car is then almost dancing and you feel as though you can do anything with it - some years I never find that point.
"But I often find myself racing with a smile on my face when I'm in the zone and going as fast as I safely can."
However, the race wasn't without action for Moore who found himself in trouble as he watched two cars close in on each other before closing in on him when a passing BMW driver misjudged his line with one hour to go.
"I was surprised and annoyed as I had indicated where I was going.
"I'd seen two cars coming, one closing on the other and both closing on me so stayed well out of the way.
"The driver apparently came into our pitbox to apologise but that doesn't unfortunately repair the damage.
"This is motorsport and it happens and I'm thankful it hasn't often happened to me."
There was damage to the suspension, steering, a broken wheel and front guard, which was fixed by the crew in 20 minutes in time to finish the race.
Fellow New Zealand driver Earl Bamber, driving a Frikadelli Racing Team Porsche 911GT3 R, did not finish after the car retired on lap 26.
Moore is proud of his years racing at Nurburgring having now raced 32,000km around the track.
"No driver in the world other than a number of Germans have raced more times in this event and I'm very proud of that which is why I've persisted in a Covid-19 world."
Now relaxing with a friend in Frankfurt, Moore is getting a chance to enjoy the city as Covid-19 restrictions have recently eased.
"Last night we were outside at a restaurant and enjoyed a drink on the banks of the main river, which you couldn't do last week.
"I return to New Zealand and into MIQ next week, even that experience doesn't dull my enthusiasm.
"I will absolutely be back next year - I'm hanging out for a full 24-hour race after shortened races over the last two years."