Endurance in iRacing is live
This series is the first one we are using the 10YSFH decals on our car celebrating a decade of Simracing For Holland in which the highlights are 4 wins in Le Mans 24 hour events. The car’s paint scheme contains names of all the drivers that have driven for SFH in various series and race formats.
In our cars log you can get an idea of the cars and series we’ve driven. http://www.simracingforholland.nl/log/cars/
The league we applied to is the Gathering of Tweakers Endurance Series (GES in short). The series hosts a season of 5 races, each being 3 hours long, a great opportunity for us to explore this sim’s endurance capabilities. Marcel en Rudy will be the main drivers of the #51 RUF (‘Porsche’). Dennis Douna and András Király will support them and possibly step in to log a stint.
All of the races will be broadcasted which slowly becomes a commodity. The full broadcast of the race can be found at the bottom of this post.
Round 1 Sebring
The 22nd of November was the first race of the season at Sebring. A new car, new sim and new competitors. The races hold 42 GT3 cars spread over the RUF, BMW Z4, Ford GT and McLaren MP4 with the BMW being the most popular car with more than 20 entries. Despite our rather short preparation we managed to get a balanced setup which had a slight understeer built into it. We noticed we were 1 lap a stint short to go for a 2 stop strategy so we went for a 2 stop with the splash and dash in the last few laps.
Rudy was starting the race and would run the first 2 stints. In qualifying our time wasn’t the 2:00.2 we could drive which would have landed us top 5 on the grid, but the 2:00.5 we clocked pushed us outside the top 10.
The first stint of the race was very hectic as expected. The GT3 class is known to provide some pretty aggressive racing. We held our spot the first couple of laps and waited for the field to settle. After about 10 laps we started attempts to improve our position and got presented defensive lines. We kept our nose clean but as we started to make those hard fought passes we got ran into a couple of times from the back. Despite the small damage our pace was still reasonable. Shortly before the end of the stint things went sour as we got clipped and sent into the wall.
A 2 minute+ tow. And the unsafe pit entry by the tow truck basically meant our chances for a good result were over. After repairs were completed we left pit lane in 35th position a lap down. Our stint was quick and with pit stops taking place by the leaders we got back into the lead and decreased the gap to the leaders by 10-12 seconds of the course of the stint. When the fuel tank ran empty it was time to do our first driver swap. It went fluently for us and Marcel left pit lane.
Early in the stint Marcel got two more bumps from behind, denting an already battered backside of the car even more, but other than a slight wobble on the second contact, neither bump caused problems. A fairly uneventful stint followed and it seemed the field had really settled down. Our encounter with the wall also meant that we had to pit even earlier for the splash and dash and in the last laps of the stint, Marcel got on the radio repeatedly with the crew to discuss the strategy. The car understeered more and more and just before the stop the decision was made to get fuel and tires to at least try to put in some good laps. We stopped and after the stop, Marcel was indeed able to make up a few places, but there was not enough time left to get back into the points. He did manage to set his fastest lap in the race a few minutes before the checkered flag was dropped.
#51 - SFH Porsche - 18th
Round 2 CotA
Circuit of the America’s is a very technical track with very few opportunities to overtake. It is also very hard to stay off the x1 incidents counted for getting off track.
With 41 teams qualifying meant a lot of stress to get in a clean lap. One incident would mean it was going to be a long day. Rudy qualified the car and got a clean lap in which put our RUF in 6th place on the grid.
We had a good start and got a small buffer behind us which meant eyes forward. We got into the top 5 and pretty much stayed there solidly for the first stint. Ahead a gap of 10 seconds to P4 and behind we had a 10 second gap to P6. With few troubles we pitted in lap 32 and switched drivers.
Marcel started off very solidly, we knew we would loose a couple of spots, but a clean race and a top 10 was our goal. Marcels laptimes were great and should allow us to reach the goal. Lap 46 things went south for us. Unfortunately Marcel got collected and we had a lenghty pitstop waiting putting us a lap down and way behind in 26th effectively ending our chances for the top 10.
We did make our way back into 17th, but then got dived at the end of the straight causing more damage to the car. The damage made us drop backwards a few places and we finished down in 23rd.
#51 - SFH Porsche - 23rd
Round 3 SPA
Spa, a very popular and iconic track and very suitable for these cars. Spa is a track very much known for easy 1x off tracks, so like at COTA there was a balance required in qualifying for driving fast but clean. We were to cautious and qualified 13th.
Early in the race we had to wait for the race to settle down before we could make way forward. The way forward it was, between COTA and Spa we found something in our setup that would keep the car pretty much stable throughout the run. By the time of the first stops in lap 27 we found ourselves battleing for 5th position on track. The second stint we got into the top 5 and managed to get our first couple of lead laps shortly before we had to stop the second time in lap 54 and making the driver change. Marcel took over and it looked like we were going to finish in the top 10 easaly.
Gremlins however struck us in sight of the finish, lap 72 of the 76 laps being in 7th position the car went loose in blanchimont and we wrecked hard. After repairs we rolled over the finish in 15th being a little dissapointed.
#51 - SFH Porsche - 15th
Round 4 Interlagos
Not a track that we both liked very much. Once again we found more top speed in the car without having to loose handling in the car. This prooved to be very useful here with the slow and fast sections on track.
The race prooved to be continued bad luck for us. We stated behind the brazillian BMW’s which were really quick on their home track. We were able to save some fuel on the first stint and suprised everybody by staying out 5 minutes longer then the rest of the field. Early in the second stint we got collected by a backmarker crossing the track after a spin. A long 2nd stint was waiting with a damaged car. Fiercely Rudy fought his way back through the field and regained the lead when the second stops were started. Marcel who was supped to take over the wheel had not yet been spotted in pitlane, so Rudy stayed out as long as he could.
Unfortunately Marcel could not take over the wheel and we decided to keep driving although it would get us disqualified for not making the required driver times.
We ended up being the 3rd car crossing the line but did not get classified.
#51 - SFH Porsche - DQ for not meeting driver requirements (3rd)
Round 5 Road Atlanta
30 cars made it this to this final race of the season. A new build was out only 4 days prior to the race. Susprisingly we qualified 4th on the grid as we were running a lot of downforce to make the car less nervous over the curbs which can be really nasty here at Road Atlanta.
Early race we followed the leaders who were still running for the championship. Our goal was once again a top 10 finish. Rudy drove a solid first stint and did not mix himself in the fight with the teams ahead. Marcel took over after the first stint.
Anougher tough stint for Marcel began when he clipped the curb throwing the car into a drift. Unfortunately with cars that have ABS there is no option to slam the brakes to avoid hitting the wall. The damage made us drop down the order and out of the top 10.
Eventually our season ended with a 23rd position in Road Atlanta.
#51 - SFH Porsche - 23rd
The season had it’s up s and downs for us. The nasty habits of the RUF to sometimes snap loose did not really work with Marcel’s driving style. We did have the pace to finish in the top 10 for the better half of the races, but contacts or strange spins caused us to not met our goal.
The positive side was that racing got really clean and good in the latter events which made us look forward to a second season and definately a different car to drive. The second season will be a while down the road, but we will be present!