The Year in Motorsports 2015

  • Thread starter JohnBM01


20 years!
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Houston, Texas, USA
Here is a thread to look back at all of the goings on of 2015 in motorsport. We've seen some great races. We've seen great moments in racing this year. However, we've also seen some pathetic moments in racing. Some races themselves have been pathetic. Worst of all, we've had to say goodbye to a number of people in racing, whether retiring or those whom have died or been killed. Each year has its share of the good, the bad, and the ugly. So this thread is the thread to look back on the year in motorsports with just about all the major motorsports series concluding for this year.

What are thoughts to express here? Simple:
* the best moments of 2015 in racing
* the worst moments of 2015 in racing
* most memorable motorsports moments from 2015
* indifferent moments of 2015 in racing
* your thoughts on 2015 in racing
* things you look forward to in 2016 racing

I'll be sure to offer a few ideas later. For now, you're welcome to start this post off if you wish.
The best moments?
1. All of the drivers crowned champions of their series.
2. Favorite/Best Races: 24 Hours of Le Mans, Indy 500, Moto GP at Qatar, F1 Hungarian and US GP's, Bathrust 1000, Rolex 24, low downforce package NASCAR races, Indycar at Fontana (bar the scary crash) and an awesome WEC season overall :D.

Worst Moments:
1. Deaths of Jules Bianchi and Justin Wilson.

Bad Moments:
1. Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon, and James Hinchcliffe having their horrifying crashes.
2. Australian GP
3. McLaren's horrible season in F1.
Best Moment
Totally Unbiased but Martinsville in the Chase :sly:, but for real the tribute to Steve Byrnes before the Spring Bristol Race

Worst Moment
High Downforce Michigan Race

Most Memorable Moment
Martinsville last 100 laps

Indifferent Moments
Anything that isn't NASCAR

My Thoughts
Really wish the Ford 400 wasn't rain delayed, because Gordon would have had a legit chance at ending on top

2016 Looking Forward
Not really sure, now that Gordon's out I don't know how much I'll actually follow
As a World Rallycross fan, here are some of my views throughout the season.

Best Moment
Petter Solberg's utterly fantastic performance during the final at Lydden Hill, where he drove the final lap with a puncture and was able to hold-off Hansen.

Worst Moment
Manfred's Stohl's end-over-end crash on Friday in Italy, as well as Jeanney's final crash at Loheac.

Most Memorable
The astounding scenes in Italy, whereby mechanics from a large number of World/Euro RX teams helped Oli O'Donovan fix his heavily damaged Fiesta to get it prepared for the Saturday.

Tommy Rustad claiming the European Rallycross Championship in Barcelona, was a particular highlight. The last corner collision between Ekstrom and Hansen in the Supercar Final at Holjes was something else, also.

Indifferent Moments
I can't pinpoint any, really. It's been an absolutely stunning season of motor racing within the World RX fraternity.

2016 Thoughts
It will be incredibly interesting to see how Solberg fares behind the wheel of something other than a Citroen for the first time in World RX. I am also interested to see how Timmy Hansen will fare next year after an incredible title battle between the two - similarly, I can't wait to see his brother Kevin in a Supercar next season.
One of the best moments for me was the DTM race at Zandvoort, BMW took 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th in the Saturday race, and 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th in the Sunday race. This got them back in contention for the championship which was good, and even better was that I was there to see it! :D

JPM wining the Indy 500 was a great moment, but the Indycar season finale which saw him narrowly miss out on the championship was a punch to the gut.

Indifferent... All of F1 in general - it seems to be less enjoyable and more redundant with each passing season.
Kyle Busch's mid-season stretch after recovering from the crash at Daytona. Such a great story.
24 Hours of Le Mans is always a blast to watch; Great to see Porsche/Corvette back on top.
Low downforce NASCAR races: how those car should always drive!

Definetly the passing of Jules Bianchi.
The airbourne crashes at Indy/Daytona and the passing of Justin Wilson.

Low downforce for NASCAR. See above.
Return of the GT in motorsports. That's gonna be a sight at Le Mans, even if I don't really like the look of the car.
The Good:
-Kyle Busch, a.k.a. The Comeback Kid.
-Porsche wins Le Mans.
-The last 10 laps of the Indy 500.
-United States and Hungarian Grands Prix.
-MotoGP at Phillip Island.

The Bad:
-Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi. No more need be said.
-Most of the F1 season. Lots of snoozers, unfortunately.
-Nissan's LMP1 effort. I expected issues. When you have a concept as radical as that, they're bound to happen. But it went from "issues" to "embarrassments", and they must get it right next year.

The Ugly:
-Kenseth v. Logano.
-Rossi v. Marquez.
-Red Bull's handling of the Renault situation.
-Dan Ticktum at Silverstone (in which he ignored 13 yellow flags, four double-yellow flags, two white flags and 15 safety-car boards to overtake 10 cars and catch back up to his rival during a safety-car period before crashing said rival out of the race in retaliation for earlier contact).
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Best moments:

Flash coming from the brink of disaster to take home his second BTCC title. One of the best motor races I have ever seen, let alone one of the best BTCC races I've ever seen.

James Rossiter clinching his second Pokka Sapporo. To bounce back from his torrid SF season was incredible.

Ishiura dominating the SF season out of nowhere - he was flawless all year long, without a doubt one of the best performances in the world during 2015.

Hansen... carefully disposing of Ekstrom at Holjes was one of the best overtakes I've ever laid my eyes upon.

An electric car conquering Pikes Peak - a broken, FWD one at that - therefore being the ultimate tool to rile the internet car trolls and the "ELECTRIC SUX" crowd.

Finally, Spencer Rivkin becoming IFMAR 1/10 Off Road World Champion at the age of 16, on his international debut. A shining star who drove the three races of his life. Dreams do indeed come true.

Worst moments:

The overall inability to accept change and development in motorsport. The IC era of racing is nearing its end, and all racing fans should be encouraging technological development. Is the face of motorsport changing? Yes. Can we stop it? No. Will living in the past, jeering at alternative fuel sources and having a whinge at smaller engines and quiet cars do motorsport any good? No. Absolutely not. For as long as I see people unwilling to accept the impending fate of the internal combustion engine in motorsport, and some daft obsession with massive engines and ancient technology, I will bury my head in my hands. It's pretty embarrassing.

The likes of Salih Yoluc, Lance Stroll and half the Euro F3 field, for causing a lot of unnecessary stupidity. Driving standards are on their way down. A special mention goes to Dan Ticktum for one of the most deplorable acts ever committed inside a racing car.

The bizarre obsession with making cars wide and chunky as some kind of quick fix for a dire set of regulations. WTCC, I'm looking at you. WRC is getting in on the act too. F1 also gets a special mention, as they are, as always, leading the way in terms of visual gimmicks to cover up a fundamentally broken set of regulations. Japan learned it the hard way with JTCC many years ago - if you want to bring viewing figures up, try and tackle the real issues.

2015 as a whole:

Much like last year, another transition into alternative fuel resources and advancements in technology. Half of the racing was a bit dull, the other half was rather entertaining.

I think motorsport will be like this for the next decade or so, and the choices we see made now will influence the next century of racing - not just the technology used, but also how well it can stay relevant and survive.

Looking to 2016:

I'm hoping for increased manufacturer involvement across the board, the emergence of young stars, and hopefully some closer racing across all series. Consistency in penalties and stewarding also need to be addressed as soon as possible.

Other than that, roll on next year - let's see some memorable, enjoyable, and most importantly, safe racing.
Best Moments:

- Brands Hatch BTCC finale. One of the most intense races I've ever seen and Shedden was well deserving of the championship.
- Finally getting back to seeing racing live again with BTCC at Knockhill and rallying in Elgin.
- Dixon overturning a 40+ point defecit to JPM in Indycar to win his 4th title, equaling Franchitti.
- Seeing Newgarden finally win races to show up Penske and Ganassi

Worst Moments:

- Deaths of Bianchi and Wilson
- Indy 500 blowovers
- Rosberg choking in F1 when he needed it the most.

2015 as a whole:

F1 has been the usual #MercedesNation walkover but at least Ferrari with Vettel is back on the up. BTCC has been another epic season. Indycar has overall been pretty good despite the death of Wilson and the blowovers at Indy.


- Hoping to get back to Toronto for it's 30th anniversary.
- Hoping Ferrari (and Rosberg) can give Hamilton the comeuppance he truly deserves. (I can't stand the guy)
- Another hard battle between Shedden, Plato, Turks, Neal and co in BTCC (especially with Honda Yuasa being loaned a 3rd TBL)
- Hopefully Audi gets closer to Porsche at Le Mans
- More unpredictability and safer racing in Indycar (Indy 500 remains concerning for me)
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This is just my personal opinion, take it however you'd like:

  • Nissan Bathurst 12Hr victory
  • Nissan Blancpain Drivers Championship
  • Nissan Super GT GT500 championship
  • Nissan return to LMP racing (slow start, but the fact they are even doing it is GOOD)
  • Jeff Gordon retirement. So long Jeff, one of the best drivers of all time.
  • Bryan Heitkotter's fantastic season in PWC
  • More GT Academy USA grads kicking booty in CTSCC GS class
  • FANTASTIC racing in V8 Supercars this year, championship on the line for the last event. (this weekend!)
  • Mercedes dominance in F1 (yawn)
  • Porsche seems to be the new Audi in LMP1
  • Tragic incident at the Nurburgring.
  • The joke that NASCAR calls a championship
  • Low participation numbers in CTSCC GS class

I'm sure there's more but I can't think of any. Looking forward to seeing a Ford win the V8 Supercars championship again this weekend. :)
The Good:

- Attending my first race at Road America.
- The announcement of the Ford GT
- The NASCAR race at Darlington, it was the first oval NASCAR race since the Daytona 500 and it easily topped that.
- Porsche and Corvette winning at Le Mans
- Insanely good battle for the IndyCar championship.
- JPM winning the Indianapolis 500

The Bad:

- Fatal crashes at Nurburgring and Pocono.
- The passing of Jules after a long fight
- Terrible F1 season
- Inconsistent calls by NASCAR
- PWC having some growing pains.
- Nissan's lackluster showing with the new LMP1 car.

2016 Outlook:

- I'm hoping, but not expecting, the new low downforce package to make NASCAR interesting again.
- WSCC should be very interesting with Ford returning, BMW's new car, GT3's arrival and Mazda finally ditching the diesel in favor of normal petrol.
- IndyCar should be set for another great season, I'm especially looking forward to the return of Road America.
- Hopefully Nissan can get their issues sorted out.
- Watching more races overall as I won't be working weekends as much.
The Good
Ferrari finally back on top in F1 after all their past troubles
-Kyle Busch winning the championship after a terrifying injury at Daytona
-Scott Speed winning his first championship in Red Bull GRC
-Nissan's return to LMP1 ( Yes ik they were slow but we'll see what happens in 2016 )
-Nascar's fantastic low downforce package
-Porsche winning Petit Lemans
-JPM winning the indy 500
-Nissan winning the 12hr of bathurst
-Fantastic racing in V8 Supercars
-The crazy indycar finale
-Jeff Gordon's farewell season. Thanks for the memories.
The Bad
-Another boring/terrible F1 season dominated by Mercedes *sigh*
-The passing of Jules Bianchi
And Justin Wilson
-Nascar's disastorous high downforce package
-Porsche becomes the new Audi in WEC
-Nascar's stupid chase and inconsistent calls as usual
-The joke that was the Australian GP
The Ugly
- Matt Kenseth Vs. Joey Logano
-The Controversial Moto GP Finale
-The Ending to the talladega chase race ( enough said )
2016 Expectations:
-Nascar's low downforce package will make for some great racing
-Other teams giving Mercedes a challenge in F1
-Ford's return to lemans and GT racing
-Volvo plus other teams having a better performance in V8 Supercars
The Good
Scott Speed winning the Red Bull GRC championship w/VW
Petter Solberg going back-to-back in World RX
Attending VW RX DC for the second year in a row
Spencer Rivkin becoming IFMAR 1/10 Off Road World Champion at the age of 16, on his international debut.
Corvette winning Le Mans after losing a car in a terrible wreck.
Porsche doing the same thing (minus the wreck) I guess
The entire Lucas Oil Offroad Racing Series season. (wish they would just get it over with and buy out TORC though).
Jeff Gordon's last laps and farewell season.
Retro Darlington.
The Bad
NASCAR's whole management/Chase whatever.
The deaths of Jules Bianchi and Justin Wilson
the entire 2015 F1 season
Austin Dillon's wild Daytona flip. (Jr's reaction was darkly entertaining though, not sure why)
The Ugly
Kenseth vs. Logano.
The chase
Monster Jam FS1 tour
NASCAR low downforce package (maybe I'll watch another full season for that)
Ford Vs. Chevy Vs. Ferrari at Le Mans
the whole short course and trophy truck season
I'll just talk about new things.

Formula E proving itself to be a proper motorsport series.
WTCC around the Nordschleife
Formula 1's attempt at a YouTube channel
Max Verstappen ignoring all his criticisers and being thoroughly entertaining in a not-so-exciting F1 season.

The Circuit of Wales/Donington/Silverstone saga
The fact that NASCAR still exists
2016 F1 calendar saga
The German Grand Prix fiasco
Citroen leaving WTCC, basically confirming the demise of the series
Citroen leaving WTCC, basically confirming the demise of the series

Sounds like they're shifting the cars over to privateer teams, and Volvo are entering too, si the entry list shouldn't drop too much, although ROAL is in question. Assuming Volvo don't achieve the level of dominance Citroen did I think it might tighten things up a bit and possibly make for better racing. If they stopped going to so many crap touring car tracks (and came back to the UK) I'd be happy!
The best
Final race of the Formula E season. Though seeing it myself next to the start-finish straight probably made it even better. Also Putrajaya this year.
The Hungarian Grand Prix.
MotoGP actually being exciting!
The Indy 500, I'm glad I followed it in the end.
Hulkenberg winning Le Mans.
Another epic Super GT finale. Though that's mostly a given nowadays, it was the same last year too.
And seeing some of the Race of Champions live was pretty great.

The worst
Much of the rest of F1. Canada, Japan and Brazil most of all. Also the constant politics there.
The WRC.
Bianchi and Wilson's deaths.

2015 overall: Very mixed. Not totally mediocre but some huge letdowns throughout. 6/10.

2016: Anything that's competitive to the point it's unpredictable, it'll be a success to me. Anything else won't.
Good Things:
Le Mans, it had 2 great moments. Porsche winning overall, and Corvette Racing getting the first Le Mans win for the C7.R.
Indy 500, the best action in years, fantastic race.
Petite Le Mans, a GT car won overall against Prototypes!
F1, Hungarian Grand Prix.
WEC, as a whole, just utterly fantastic.
Indycar, Detroit GP's wild weather and epic streetcourse action.
Spa 24hr, Marc VDS getting the win in what turned out to be their final season of existence.
TUSCC, the GTLM and GTD battles throughout the season.

Bad Things:
NASCAR, ridiculous decision making as usual.
Red Bull F1, their soap opera with Renault was gag worthy.
Indycar's Brazil failure (not their fault though).

Horrible Things:
The Loss of two great drivers, Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi. We will always remember the moments they gave us and how they were not only great talents, but great human beings. ;_;7
This isn't a comprehensive list, but these are all things I will tend to remember about this year.

--- Good Moments ---
* (saluting all champions of champions and major races)

* One of the best was in watching Juan Pablo Montoya win the Indianapolis 500 after a crappy start. It was a "never give up" moment for me. I only hope he would parlay that with a title. Probably would have been in a better title position had he not been knocked out at the round in Iowa.

* I have to say that while I've never been a big fan of his, I gained a lot of respect for Kyle Busch this year. "Rowdy" did good in 2015 despite all he's endured.

* I'm proud for Lewis Hamilton and the job he's put on. I've always respected him. And for Hamilton to be a three-time F1 champ, it only further bolsters him being one of the best drivers past or present. The toughest thing to do (to me) is win an F1 race. Even tougher is becoming F1 champion. Even tougher than that is to win multiple F1 titles.

* Porsche was ballin' this year. All of their success in the endurance ranks and in the WEC surely get my respect.

* The IndyCar Series race at California was great. Too bad it didn't get as much attention and buzz. This race probably still could have been a late season race or even the finale.

* I am pleased following the first season of the Formula E World Championship. Many people have complained about a number of things about it, but I enjoyed watching it from a motorsport enthusiast's standpoint. I saw greater purpose and value in this series than most people probably seen in it. All congratulations to Nelson Piquet Jr. on being champion of the inaugural championship.

* Scott Speed gets my respect for winning the 2015 Global Rallycross Championship. The former F1 racer seemed to settle in with the GRC and become champion. Having a name like "Scott Speed" is still very cool for a racer. As a little fun fact, both he and I were born the same month (January), and I am just over a week older than him.

* I think it's great for Toyota to win the championship in Cup. Toyota's the first non-US make to win the championship on the Cup level. First time I heard of a non-US make in NASCAR was when I saw a picture of a Toyota Celica stock car in 1998 or so. I even remember the old NASCAR Goody's Dash Series from long ago. I was glad seeing Toyota compete in NASCAR Trucks and assert itself quite well in Trucks. They now have a Cup championship thanks to "Rowdy" Busch.

* Saving the best for last, all the support and adoration of Jeff Gordon in his final season of racing. I probably would have not cared about NASCAR had it not been for my interest in Jeff Gordon as I was slowly learning about motorsports. I thought everything was handled beautifully. Only thing I would have hoped for would be him getting that 5th title as a "ride off into the sunset" story.

--- Bad Moments ---
* The deaths of all motorsports personalities whom we've lost this year, including Jules Bianchi and Justin Wilson. "Bad ass" is not an expression I normally use, but I've certainly seen this associated especially with Justin Wilson. That accident Justin Wilson had at Pocono was just extremely unfortunate.

* Tomy Drissi's behavior at Mid-Ohio in Trans-Am was a low point. He's a veteran and a fixture in Trans-Am, and I like him, but he was a total tool in that race. I have some extra thoughts on the Trans-Am deal later in this post.

* The finish of the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Mid-Ohio was sort of bad to me. David Ragan roughed up Alex Tagliani in the final few corners to win. I thought it was just hard racing at first. But in a way, I sort of thought it was somewhat a thug move.

* It wasn't the race I'm calling a bad moment, but more like the end of the race when the TUDOR race at Detroit. There was that GT crash that seemed more like an accident with one of the safety trucks rather than something deliberate.

* I hated that James "Bubba" Stewart didn't get to race in AMA Supercross this season thanks to some violation or something. If he challenges the 2016 season, I hope he just comes back and dominate.

* Non-racing related, but I've been disappointed ever since the advent of FOX Sports 1 and how races on TV have been handled. Petit Le Mans was a big time example of poor handling. Like I said here on GTPlanet and in my main blog, FOX Sports 1 is the biggest "f:censored: you" to racing fans. For more viability, I wouldn't be surprised if NBC Sports Network or CBS Sports Network don't start looking into picking up coverage of this series on television.

--- Most Memorable ---
* The most memorable to me was Amy Ruman just lashing out at Tomi Drissi during an interview on CBS Sports Network. She was saying stuff along the lines of, "Tomi is an unprofessional racer." Amy did suffer some trouble from contact. Had this been YouTube or something, all kinds of sexist remarks or kitchen jokes would have ensued. But for her to show some emotion the way she did, it was VERY memorable.

* I thought the IndyCar Series race at California was fun. What was most memorable was the stuff after the race, including a spirited rant by Robin Miller about the handling of this race and other things.

* Of course, Jeff Gordon capping off an amazing career is a very memorable deal. One thing I wonder though... if Dale Sr. were still alive and if he decided to call one season his final one, would he receive as much adoration and attention for his retirement as Jeff Gordon has had in 2015? Just a thought...

--- Indifferent Moments ---
* I am going to call the Marc Marquez deal an Indifferent moment because I don't really know the full story or have a definite opinion on how to feel about the incident with the final race of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship season. I still respect Marc Marquez, but I am not sure whether I still respect him or not based on what happened late and how many people have responded to Marc Marquez.

--- Thoughts on 2015 ---
I will be honest... I haven't paid too much attention in recent years to motorsport. Maybe I haven't been as knowing of racing since Speed Channel's demise, but I haven't followed racing too much in recent years. I still love motorsports.

--- Thoughts on 2016 ---
I most want to follow how the Ford GT does in the GT/sportscar/endurance ranks. It's going to be real fun to see how Ford does with this beast of a racing machine.

Again, these are all some basic thoughts of mine. Not a complete post, but some general thoughts from what I remember and what I've seen from other posts.
Something I forgot to mention in my recent post was following Rico Abreu in NASCAR's K&N Pro Series. What's so special about him? I think he's pretty talented for a 4'4" (or 132 cm) guy. This short dude can win races and is pretty talented. Heck, at his size, even Danica Patrick (she's 5'2" (or 157 cm)) towers over him! It will be interesting to see how he does should be decide to step up to the top three NASCAR Touring Series.
Something I forgot to mention in my recent post was following Rico Abreu in NASCAR's K&N Pro Series. What's so special about him? I think he's pretty talented for a 4'4" (or 132 cm) guy. This short dude can win races and is pretty talented. Heck, at his size, even Danica Patrick (she's 5'2" (or 157 cm)) towers over him! It will be interesting to see how he does should be decide to step up to the top three NASCAR Touring Series.

I believe he's gonna be driving full season for KBM next season (unless I'm mistaking him for Dalton Sargeant, another driver from the HScott driver stable.)
* the best moments of 2015 in racing
For me it was either Vettel's first Ferrari win or Porsche winning Le Mans. I will probably go with the Le Mans win, but Vettel's comes a close second.
* the worst moments of 2015 in racing
The deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi were the worst by far.
* most memorable motorsports moments from 2015
Erm... tricky. I think for me it's the current power struggle in F1, could have a good end result or could kill the sport but it's just fascinating to watch from afar.
indifferent moments of 2015 in racing
MotoGP title decider, Rossi had a fantastic race which made it memorable but the rest of it was a snooze fest...
* your thoughts on 2015 in racing
Depends on the motorsport, but I think a few of them (F1 in particular, although WTCC gets an honourable mention) need a boat-load of work to improve the series. Not a bad year but not a great year.
* things you look forward to in 2016 racing
Ferrari's resurgence, Renault coming back to F1 and McLaren-Honda's progress are on my watch list, actually watching a full BTCC season, silly season (what? I like speculation :lol:) and Le Mans stand out above all the rest.
Sbirrazzuoli. One thing I forgot to mention was learning of Lamborghini Supertrofeo North American driver Cedric Sbirrazzuoli. Trying to learn and spell this guy's last name was a unique challenge. I haven't mastered his last name like I tried to master spelling NBA player Kostas Papanikolaou. Sbirrazzuoli is a very good racer. When it comes to racers, I'll have to learn another long name- and this country has some people with notoriously difficult names: Thai Lamborghini racer Supachai Weeraborwornpong. And yeah- I copied and pasted it because I can't spell or pronounce it. That's the beauty of typing stuff up.

I should have also mentioned I was impressed seeing the Southern 500 coverage with all of the old school stuff NBC shown and the old style videos. My two favorite cars from that race were both "beer wagons"- Brad Keselowski's #2 Miller Lite Ford and Kevin Harvick's #4 Budweiser Chevy. But really, there were a bunch of lovely retro-style cars.
In summary:

Great year for WEC - Porsche consolidated their return with a 1-2 at Le Mans and both championships despite stiff competition from Audi and (at times) Toyota. WEC stole the limelight from F1 in 2015 in my opinion

Average year for F1 - Dominated by Mercedes and a lot of frustration within the field regarding the complexity of engine systems and lack of development freedom. Hoping the reg changes for 2016 at least make the cars sound a bit better, but wholesale changes in 2017 can't come soon enough

Descent year for V8 Supercars - Again looking forward to regulation changes in 2017 to mix things up a bit and looking forward to the look and sound of some of the new cars

Good year in WRC - Again dominated by Sebastian Ogier, but some good competition and a few new winners. Also looking forward to 2017 reg changes

Good year in MotoGP - Would have been a great year had Valentino Rossi won the championship. A bit disappointing about some of the supposed antics going on between riders, but some cracking races nonetheless (Phillip island was probably the best GP race I have ever seen)

Also enjoyed the AMA supercross and GT3 races that I saw, especially the Bathurst 12 hour!