Season 8 of the Virtual Endurance Championship has started! Team Simracing For Holland has renewed their close relationship with Chevrolet in one of their new C7R Corvettes.
After pre-season testing in September, the first 8 hour race of the Virtual Endurance Championship was held on October 3rd. No less than 80 teams travelled to the sunny Silverstone circuit for the season opener. This unusually large and competitive field was split over two servers based on qualification times in a session that was held a week before the event. As the team had mainly focussed on creating a race setup, as we always do for endurance races, we were not particularly quick. Marcel did not make it into the top 10 in GTE Pro, which meant that we started the season on server 2. Because of the way the points are distributed, consensus was that this was not necessarily a bad thing.
On race day we decided that it was probably a good idea to have Dennis start the event to see if we could make it to the front of the field early in the race and see where that would bring us after 8 hours. Dennis had a good start and slowly started making up places. By the time he stopped for the second time for fuel and tires he managed to undercut the leaders in class to come out in front. By that time our car did have some dents and scratches from contacts with faster cars that sometimes left very little room when passing us. Luckily none of that damage affected the suspension and aerodynamics of the car so we did not loose time over it. Dennis then went on to empty the third tank of fuel and re-entered the pits where Robin was already waiting to take over the car.
By then the gap was big enough to come out in front again and Robin started to put in some consistent laps that kept getting faster and faster. Strategy wise we were making our fuel tanks last for a fraction over an hour which meant that by the time the half-way mark passed, Robin was just on the radio with the pit crew again, signalling he was going to come in that lap. In the opening phases we were a bit worried to see some teams start on hard tires. We were on mediums and we could only do one stint on them and for a moment we thought that others were going to double stint the hard tires. Luckily that did not seem the case. These teams were merely running hard tires because mediums would overheat. Our setup did not have that problem so in the end we had tires that were slightly grippier. Robin continued to empty three tanks and by the time he came into the pits to hand over the car to Marcel, we were almost leading by a lap as Allstar Racing had just unlapped themselves.
There was a bit of confusing after Marcel took over as the crew chief discovered that in the last two pitstops, the fuel tank had not been completely filled up. This meant that by now we were looking at a scenario where we might have to make a splash and dash. A decision was made to keep pushing for now and by the time Marcel came in for a stop we were just about to enter the final hour and our lead was more than a lap. However, depending on when exactly the checkered flag would fall, we were in danger of not having enough fuel. With darkness falling, the team decided to play it safe and save some fuel by shortshifting the whole last hour. That meant that laptimes were a bit slower, but all around us we were seeing others making small mistakes that cost them time in the hunt for the win and in the last 10 minutes of the race we were still comfortably leading by more than a lap, with the second and third place cars battling for position in what was to become a dramatic finish.
By the time the checkered flag was shown, we still had enough fuel left to do a victory lap. Our first race in VEC started with a win and because of the way the points for this first event were distributed, that meant we ended up in joint second place overall. The next race will be in a month from now at Fuji Speedway where the race will last for 6 hours. Because of our standing we will race on server 1 which is nice because that server is broadcast with live commentators. Competition there will be tough but we’re looking forward to fighting for a podium there again!
#51 - SFH Corvette C7R - Server 2 - 1st
03-10-2015 Silverstone 8 hours
07-11-2015 Fuji 6 hours
05-12-2015 Interlagos 8 hours
02-01-2016 Daytona 3 hours
06-02-2016 Daytona 24 hours
05-03-2016 Sebring 12 hours
02-04-2016 Istanbul Park 6 hours
07-05-2016 Nurburgring 6 hours
11-06-2016 Le Mans 24 hours