The Tribute to Le Mans Enduro is an event which has been put on by the Southern California-based Porsche Owners Club since 1996.
Article from La Cañada Outlook
La Cañada High School graduates Eric Olberz and Tommy Kendall were teammates during a recent auto racing competition held at California Speedway in Fontana.
Olberz, a 1980 LCHS grad, teamed with Kendall (class of 1984) and Robert Dalyrimple in the Tribute To Le Mans Enduro four-hour race. The local team, racing in a metallic pearl-orange 2000 Porsche GT3R, led the race much of the way. “We were hoping for a top-three finish,” Olberz said. “I could never have imagined that we would be in first place at the 2-hour, 40-minute mark (of a four-hour race) with our ‘hot shoe’ Tommy Kendall taking over driving duties” for the final one-third of the race.
Kendall, a four-time Trans-Am champion, unfortunately never got the opportunity. Just as the local team’s car was set to go out for Kendall’s portion of the race, the car was unable to continue because of transmission failure. “We were done,” Olberz said. “What a disappointment that was. There is a lot of wear and tear on a car during the race.
“But I was really thrilled how well the pit stops went, how well we qualified, and how good our start was. This was my first major event and to come this close to winning made me very happy. “Racing is physically demanding. My heart rate increases to about 150 beats per minute; the normal rate is about 70. You get sore back muscles, sore legs and sore neck muscles. Some of the soreness comes in fighting G forces and also mashing the brake pedal as hard as you can.”
Kendall, a former La Cañada Flintridge resident who currently lives in Las Vegas, was quite impressed with the event. “It’s almost the pinnacle of amateur racing,” he said. “Our car was probably the class of the field. I met Eric 10 or 15 years ago and I know about his passion for cars. I was extremely impressed with his ability; he is very analytical and intense. The times he ran were very impressive.”
Olberz concluded the weekend with a stellar performance in winning the Porsche Cup Sprint race. Fourteen cars entered the 15-lap race, with Olberz winning by a convincing 27-second margin over the runner-up driver.
“I guess I wanted to make a statement after the letdown in the previous day’s Enduro race,” Olberz said. “I raced pretty aggressively and virtually mistake-free, and this was my first race win.”
Olberz, who also won the “Fastest Time of the Day” honor by outperforming 66 cars in all classes, seemed pleased to have joined Kendall in Saturday’s race.
“Tommy is an unbelievable racer,” Olberz said. “It was neat to see how quickly he got the car up to speed. He’s a real champion and really professional, and he’s also a down-to-earth easygoing guy who doesn’t have a chip on his shoulder. It was good to be with him.”