The iRacing GrandAM Premier Series consisted of a 10 race season with races every two to three weeks, starting in February and finishing in August. With the possibility of driving two-races per event, the best 9 week results would account for the final score.
Simracing For Holland started its GrandAM campaign with four Riley Daytona prototype entries. Ruud de Wit (white accents on his SFH paint scheme) built upon his experience gained in the previous GrandAM season with three new teammates for the series: Dennis Douna (pink colours,obviously), András Király (orange) and Matthijs Ottenhoff (red)……
András took the chequered flag in top spot 15 times during the season. Enough to dominantly take the title in the Riley Daytona Prototype class. His nearest rival, American Morgan Sowerby found himself 208 points behind after the engines went silent at Mid-Ohio.
The Mid-Ohio race itself turned out to be a small deception for the SFH driver. While comfortably leading the 90 minute race, András suffered from a disconnect with only two laps to go. A quick reconnect put him a lap down in 5th place. Despite this last-minute bad luck, the season statistics are still impressive: 15 wins out of 17 races, starting all races from pole and leading 1121 out of 1230 laps.
With the first-ever GrandAM Premier Series trophy being shipped to the Netherlands, András earned his place in the iRacing record books. Look out for another shot at the title next year!
Andras Kiraly - Riley Daytona Prototype - Orange
Dennis Douna - - Riley Daytona Prototype - Magenta
Matthijs Ottenhoff - - Riley Daytona Prototype - Red
Ruud de Wit - - Riley Daytona Prototype - White
Race 1 – madness
The season opener in Watkins Glen mainly evolved around pole sitter Kenneth O’Keefe. After being passed by András on the start O’Keefe hit the rear of the SFH Riley eager to regain the top spot. With Dennis and Matthijs in pursuit, O’Keefe then damaged his car lapping the slower Mustangs. Due to this damage, Dennis managed to win the race in front of Matthijs while Ruud came in fourth. A similar scenario in the second race of the night, with András claiming the win after a close escape when leader O’Keefe crashed out, which can be seen in the clip above.
After the thrilling races at Watkins Glen, the action dried up considerably in the following events. Still with two SFH riley’s on the lower steps of the podium at Virginia, Spa and Watkins Glen Boot, the standings table started to look good. Homestead saw two SFH wins at different high-sof races, with Matthijs and András on the top steps.
Andras Kiraly - 1st
Dennis Douna - 1st
Matthijs Ottenhoff - 2nd
Ruud de Wit - 4th
Watkins Glen Boot
Andras Kiraly - 1st
Matthijs Ottenhoff - 1st
Race 6 – domination
Although Ruud lost a spot during the race, it was a great day for Simracing For Holland. With Dennis coming in fifth, four SFH entries completed the top five with only rival O’Keefe in third. Matthijs and András got some good points with the first and second place trophies.
Matthijs Ottenhoff - 1st
Andras Kiraly - 2nd
Ruud de wit - 3rd
Dennis Douna - 5th
Race 7 – Impossible is nothing
No, SFH does not have a new sneaker sponsor. Road America was the venue for a rather unique event: an actual overtaking. What? Yes. It may not seem much but this was actually the first one of a season defined by the lack of it, at least at the front of the field. Although the Riley is a blast to drive the race action has been slow, but not for that half a lap at Road America. After a good start from P3 András Király bravely outbraked leader Kenneth O’Keefe into the hairpin. Pure class. We actually have it on tape too.
Heading for the season showdown, Matthijs and András are second and third in the season standing, with one week less than leader O’Keefe, bus closely followed by Finland’s Elias Varis. Ruud looks for a jump up in the standings as he has only six of the eight weeks counted so far, unlike the people around him. Make sure to check back in for a report on the season finale and feel free to check out some of the season’s better lap replays at the SFH youtube channel.
Andras Kiraly - 1st
Race 8 – forfeit
After Road America, the SFH team skipped the Laguna Seca event in order to participate in the GrandAm premier series.
Barber Motorsport Park
Race 9 – pole
The regular season then continued at Barber, where András Király won the high strength-of-field race, with Ruud coming in third. Daytona was next, a track very different from the previous venues. Luckily, Ruud countered this with a setup proven in the iRacing 2.4hours of Daytona event at the end of last season. With András Király on pole, things looked good until five laps before the finish. Guest driver Zach Rupcic rear-ended the chequered car and took the win, scoring 17 points more than Király.
While András still managed to come in second, precious points where lost in the chase for the championship. Although the SFH driver now had a small lead over O’Keefe in the standings, the iRacing best 8 out of 12 system allowed O’Keefe to exchange a bad result with a good one at Mid-Ohio.
Race 10 – deception
The scenario for the last race was pretty simple: three drivers still had a shot at the title: Matthijs Ottenhoff in third had to finish in front of both András and Kenneth. Kenneth had to finish in front of Matthijs and András. Both would need a substantial strength-of-field for good points. When this strength-of-field was high, the championship leader had to finish in front of Kenneth and Matthijs to defend his position.
Unfortunately, this exciting scenario for the season finale proved to be worthless as the regular high strength-of-field race was never driven. O’Keefe entered an earlier race in order to outscore Király who wasn’t in this race. Kind of an anti-climax. Matthijs Ottenhoff did enter but suffered from handling issues after hitting a guard rail. Elias Varis won the race and fourth in the championship while O’Keefe retook the championship lead. Since the regular high strength-of-field race did not see enough entries, Király had no chance do defend his title in a direct fight. Unfortunate, but the reality of the iRacing scoring system. In the end, the difference between champion and runner-up was 15 points on a 1500 total, making the 17 point Daytona incident even more unfortunate.
András Király - 2nd
Matthijs Ottenhoff - 3rd
Ruud de Wit - 5th
Three cars in the top five, two cars in the top three, no championship. Winner Kenneth O’Keefe saw himself in the middle between András Király and Matthijs Ottenhoff on the podium. Still, with Ruud de Wit taking fifth overall, Simracing for Holland saw its efforts rewarded with the constructors trophy, if there should have been such a thing. Good thing is that the SFH Rileys played prominent roles in every event of the 12 week season. With endurance competition coming to iRacing, a lineup featuring three GrandAM 2011 S1 top-five drivers is something to beware of! It’s time to say goodbye with some last screens of the SFH Riley and its drivers: see you on track!