The Gathering of Tweakers Endurance Series (GES) is a combined effort of the GoT community and NEO Endurance Series (NES) to organise 2 linked endurance championships in a very professional way. Races have live race marshalls that will warn or penalize bad on track behaviour and review incidents. Races are broadcasted and can be viewed live from youtube by family members, friends or any enthousiast out there.
Events are scheduled in the same weekend, GES on Saturdays, NES on Sundays. This makes GES one of the best and professionaly community organised endurance series out there.
Simracing For Holland who participated last year in the GT3 version for the GES run a Corvette Daytona Prototype. A little unusual for us to choose a prototype and be in de fastest lapping class. Eyes Forward and tape off that mirror!!!
Coming off the win that was handed to us at Monza we felt that we could be fighting for a win and match the pace of the fastest GES DP teams. The Nurburgring is a technical track where going through traffic would become a major part of the race. We, or actually Douna had promised on his Monza interview that we would put some extra effort in preparing for the season finale of the GES season.
Putting words into action we had our first session the day after the Monza race, times were good, the setup did not need any changes, so we were good to go after just over an hour of testing.
During the weeks leading to the race both de Wit and Douna put in a couple of laps every now and then solo in attempt to find some pace and gain some track knowledge. De Wit even managed a full fuel run that gave us enough detailed information for the appropriate strategy.
During our laps on the public test sessions we noticed not having to push the car all that hard to match lap times of our main competitors. All this and having a predetermined strategy gave us enough confidence that we were able to show our potential.
Douna, who would start the race never ran a lap with low fuel. He made little errors on each of the qualifying laps. Nevertheless this led us to a pole position, barely 0.003s ahead of CoRe SimRacing. We looked up the starting procedure, filled up the fuel cell and were good to go!.
Starting the race
Having control over the start of the race was huge and Douna had a good jump and free choice of tarmac going into the Arena in T1. Due to the low temperature, the first lap was going to be really tricky as the tires were stone cold and low pressure. It took up to a lap to give the driver confidence. This didn’t bother Dennis and immediately created a little gap which wouldn’t give Team Heusinkveld Engineering, who slid into 2nd postion at the start, an opportunity to place an attack on the #151 SFH Corvette DP.
Our plan was to run 4 stops and changing drivers on the 3rd stop giving us 5 shorter stints that would give us use of fresh tires. During Dennis his first stint he never felt the tired dropping in performance. After 20 laps we decided to run a full first stint not risking falling into DP traffic that would fight us for position. We short pitted 1 lap, full fuel and fresh tires.
Douna’s second stint was one that was not free of mistakes. A brilliant outlap gave us a couple of seconds extra and we noticed Heusinkveld Engineering and Core lost even more time and were 25 and 40 seconds back after a little over 1 hour. 2 small misfortunes happened as Douna spun in the arena. He kept in the throttle so didn’t loose more then 4 seconds that particular lap. De Wit noted “On good days even spins cost less time. Keep it up and watch those hot rear tires.”.
Incident and warning
On lap 45 exiting of the Schumacher S Curve we we’re set up to pass the #317 WR Racing RUF entry. Unfortunately we carried to much speed out of the corner when we noticed the RUF wasn’t tracking out to the curbs on the exit. A small bump put the RUF out of shape sending it spinning onto the grass. We discussed the incident and concluded it was one of those things that sometimes can happen in multiclass racing. We were glad to see that WR was able to continue ‘undamaged’ as they kept the car out of the barrier. We received a warning for contact which in our opinion was the maximum penalty for this type of incident.
Because CoRe SimRacing and Heusinkveld Engineering were catching traffic on all the right placed we extended our lead to 47 seconds to Heusinkveld Engineering and 1 minute and 5 seconds to CoRe SimRacing after stint 2. During stint 2 it was decided that Dennis would drive 3 full fuel loads, his pace was amazing and de Wit was comfortable with closing out the race. On the third stint we took our share of sometimes having bad luck with traffic where Heusinkveld Engineering was running very consistently in the 1:48’s. By the time Dennis his 3rd stint had finished we had just over a minute lead on Heusinkveld Engineering and some 20 seconds more on CoRe SimRacing who seemed to be struggling this race.
Sidenote: Our effort and and history in simracing attracted a little attention in the broadcast booth. It was very nice to hear people reference SFH us in such a, see the fragment starting here:
Closing the race
In lap 91 de Wit took over the wheel of the car and took it especially easy on the outlap with the cold tires. The goal of the stint was simple, bring it home. Our lead was big enough to allow us to be more then a second slower then our competitors. de Wit’s pace was in the 48/49 second bracket which would still prove competitive to Heusinkveld Engineering and CoRe SimRacing. Trying to calculate strategy, turning of and on the changing of tires, while driving caused de Wit to make a couple of errors and completely missing braking points. The lead stayed stable with about 1:10 lead to P2. Finally deciding to take no risks we pitted with about 30 minutes to go and took a fresh set of tires and more then enough fuel to reach the finish. The last stint prove to be a little quicker as it was all sailing home from there. Besided stutters appearing sometimes freezing the screen for half a second (note: caused by a full OS harddrive!) lap times became quicker and gotten into the lower 48’s and we could see the CoRe SimRacing car ahead of us. Not long after we were able to lap them putting a cherry on our race as they were the most potent DP team in the GES in the last few rounds.
Simracing for Holland finished 3rd in the final standings of the GES. Our strong season ending allowed us to take that position close up to the teams that were fighting for the championship. In the end we came in 22point behind champions CoRe SimRacing and 17 points behind Heusinkveld Engineering who took 2nd place in the Prototype class. If it weren’t for us missing the first race of the season we could have been competing with them for the championship!!!
Looking back at GES
The decision of the GES to switch from a GT3 field to a multiclass field gave us a larger endurance feel to the series. We think the choice of vehicles couldn’t be better and proven to be a great match up!. Due to the 3 classes present, there were less cars in each class over the GT3 season which ended up being a little ‘less competitive’.
During the season we drove 2 setups, one which was built for CotA which also was our first real experience with the new Corvette DP. The event following CotA we concluded raw speed of the setup, really easy to drive, was missing which became painfully clear at Spa. Till then our stongest point must have been going through traffic. Effort was put into the setup for Interlagos which produced an evolution of the CotA setup giving us more speed, better rotation and the same ease of car control. That setup led us to a 2nd 1st 1st place closing streak.
The races felt really short as a driver as it was such a pleasure to be in the car running on the track with the GES competitors and were a great way to spend the Saturday evening.
We would like to thank everyone who contributed to this season which ended up being a lot fun to be part of. A few require additional mentioning.
– Our newest supporter Heusinkveld Engineering.
– Robin for our iconic car skin.
– The GES organization leaders Joep and Nick.
– The race stewards for their thick skin, it must not be easy, but is much appreciated.
– Racespot TV for their broadcasts.
#151 - SFH Corvette Daytona Prototype – 1st
Donuts – GES 3 hours at Monza
Going forward from a good result in Brazil, this time we visited Italy at the high speed Monza track. We practiced on wednesday before the race. Setup changes were pretty simple, drop all downforce!! Downside to dropping the downforce was the aero balance which shifted to the rear. No tools were available to fix it, but we didn’t worry as the same would apply to our competitors.
Seeing our car speed and the effort it took we decided quickly the car would suffice for the race… Had Rudy not thought of lengthening the 5th and 6th gear a bit more…
Since D’ouna was still in a soccer stadium it was de Wit’s turn to start the race and qualify the car. Qualifying went really well, the laps weren’t completely error free, but seeing the result put a smile on our faces. P2 on the grid behind CoRe SimRacing who’s driver Frederik Rasmussen once again was in a league of his on besting the field. Being .035 behind him was good.
First half of the race
It was going to be all about the draft. Or at least that was what we expected and which was the reason de Wit changed the gearing at the last moment, things turned out different.
De Wit kept second position at the start, but noticed Frederik was pulling out slowly but steady. 5th and mainly 6th gear seemed to long and was hurting us a little. Behind us NKH Racing was in the draft and behind them a gap larger then the draft area, looking good.
De Wit had some problems getting into a rhythm and NKH quickly caught up and passed. We saw no reason to go and fight as that would cost us more time and probably gave cars behind us the opportunity to catch up. A little fuel saving, coasting and rolling into the corners. It was quite easy to hang onto the NKH car. With applying some pressure NKH made a mistake allowing us to pass, but before the lap was over they made clear that track position was more important to them then loosing time to other competitors. We waited… and then the rhythm was gone… Braking on the grass causing a major slide into Lesmo 2, overheating the rear tires made the car horrible to drive and de Wit dropped 10+ seconds like a brick.
After the first stop de Wit had a better rather, but saw no way to close the gap to NKH Racing. Hoping the gap would stay small enough for Douna to make up after driver switches would take place. CoRe SimRacing had a comfortable lead.
Second half of the race
Douna was home when de Wit’s stint had 7 laps left. A quick exchange of driving conditions and strategy and in game settings (Douna has a new triple screen setup!) we were ready for the driver swap. The swap went nicely and Douna was on his way.
Douna’s pace was quick and checking competitors it should be well within reach to catch and pass NKH Racing’s second driver. CoRe SimRacing seemed out of reach as Frederik made the necessary on track difference for them. A couple of laps into the stint we noticed that CoRe SimRacing got a stop and hold black flag for a contact. We were surprised, checked what happened and couldn’t believe the risk they took which resulted in them getting the stop and hold. This opened up a world of possibilities, Douna had more then enough speed to catch the new leaders NKH… could this be our race?
Immediately Douna failed entering the second chicane costing a lot of time. “I like a challenge.” was all he said over the team radio. The gap didn’t close in the first stint, but good fuel strategy had the gap closed to a small 4 seconds with the #151 car lapping around a second a lap faster then the NKH Racing car.
We discussed the approach of passing vs. staying behind. From the experience de Wit had at the start of the race passing would be a better option as the difference in lap speed would have us break the draft with NKH and keep everything in our own hands.
NKH did not roll over and let us pass easily, Douna had to stick the car alongside the purple #191 a number of times before eventually making a nice pass outside in Parabolica. As expected Douna was able to break the draft and drive to the finish handing us our first GES win and celebrated this with a number of DONUTS!!!
Obviously we stole the win from Core MotorSport had they not made their mistake. A little suprised we were on the amount of incidents on track since we felt it was very easy to stay clean with the GT3 and GTC cars.
The result is good for the standings, took 3rd position from Black Added Motorsport and if all goes normally we should be able to keep this position in the last round of the championship. Looking forward to the 4 hours of the Nurburgring. Douna told in his interview we’dd practice… will we??
See you in ze German track!
#151 - SFH Corvette Daytona Prototype – 1st
GES Round 5 – 3 Hours at Interlagos
We had a great result at Spa. Although in qualifying it became very obvious that our setup which was still unchanged and untuned from CotA was not longer quick enough as Douna our fastest driver in de lineup was about 2 seconds off pace in qualification.
A nice 2 hour session leading up to the Interlagos race de Wit and Douna took some time to… practice! and work on the setup. The session was productive and we were confident that the changes would pay off during the race.
Practice and qualifying
The field of C7’s was all pretty close together with the exception of the CoRe SimRacing entry which seemed to have something extra. In qualifying CoRe SimRacing showed their speed and took pole easily. Behind them was the #151 Simracing For Holland car, yes Douna put in a solid qualifying effort landing us a great spot to start the race from.
At the start Douna was sleeping a little and lost 2 spots on the Heusinkveld and Blackadder entries. A nice battle developed between Douna and Heusinkveld with our car being a little quicker. Eventually the pass happened, but Core was way up the road and winning time most laps.
Traffic was pretty hectic and speeds between the Ruf’s and BMW weren’t really that much different from the C7DP’s. We took it easy through traffic giving and taking where there was a good opportunity.
We started the race with a full tank as we weren’t sure we could make it on 2 stops. Fuel calculations after 12 laps shown us that we would never make it on 2 stops so we opted for 4x a 45 minute stint taking benefit of fresh tires and a lower fuel load. Among the first teams entering pit lane the broadcasters name us loosing a lot of time there, where in fact we won a lot of time on our competitors taking out a big chunk of time on CoRe SimRacing and gaining enough time not to having to worry that the teams behind us could attack us if we hit traffic in a rough spot.
A little after halfway through the race de Wit took over from Douna and was running a similar pace. A big gap back to 3rd, but also a big gap ahead. After the driver switch of the lead team it became obvious that we wouldn’t be able to close the gap without help. De Wit finished the stint safely and SFH finished in 2nd which was where we were on race pace today.
#151 - SFH Corvette Daytona Prototype – 2nd
GES Round 4 – 4 Hours at Spa
During the Spa shakedown it became obvious our setup was outdated and was due for an update. Unfortunately due to our SFH nature of preparation and illness we never sat down and took the time to take a serious look at it.
Marcel Offermans replaced de Wit for this event who was recovering from illness. Quickly in practice it was obvious we didn’t have any lap speed compared to the other teams, even Douna could not place the car in a decent position on the grid. What caused it was clear, we discussed it and this time our years of experience had to carry us through this event.
Exactly that is what kept us going in the right direction during the race. Douna was fast in traffic and the car did what it need to do. We made it up to 2nd place at some point during the race with the strategies being run.
After Dennis handed over the car to Marcel another solid stint would keep us in sight of a podium finish which would be way beyond our expectations. Unfortunately we ran out of time, even with the event being an hour longer than most of the other GES events we were 10 seconds short of P3 finishing right outside of the podium in P4.
An impressive result we were happy with considering the struggles with lap speed.
Thanks for the race, see you next time!
#151 - SFH Corvette Daytona Prototype – 4th
GES Round 3 – 3 Hours at the Glen
Round 3 of the Gathering of Tweakers Endurance Series (GES) was held at the very popular Watkins Glen circuit. A very fast road course with a few tricky corners. A great venue for multiclass action.
Our preperation was simple.
De Wit: “Hmm tomorrow is the day of the GES race, have you got time?”
Douna: “lol, lets see… I have dinner plans, perhaps after dinner I can join.”
Douna: “Which track is the race held at and how long do we need to practice for?”
De Wit: ”Watkins Glen… Practice?? Lets just change gears from the CotA setup and go with that.”
Douna: “Ok, arrive and drive, typical SFH preperation for an endurance event. :thumbsup: .”
The gears ended up not requiring any changes so we started with the exact same setup as we used at CotA. Lack of practice cost us a little bit of lap speed, but we we’re confident that our years of experience running multiclass would help us get through traffic quick and smoothly.
Since Douna was having dinner, de Wit qualified the car in a somewhat dissapointing 6th place. Hanging on to the lead pack early on was the goal for the first stint.
Unfortunately the pacecar was not there, which shouldn’t have been a problem if we did the pacelap manually as the green flag was supposed to be ignored and the GES starting procedure would be followed. Unfortunately some people yolo-ed and decided it was go time.
We lost 2 positions due to this strange start and immediately race control threw out the safety car to sort things. Unfortunately there was no easy way to sort things and we had to live with. The restart same thing happened, some jumped the restart being pretty disrespectfull to their competitors and organization. All this made us drop back to 9th. From there we noticed our 6th gear was a little to short as de Wit hit the rev limiter in double tow’s. Although being quicker over a lap there was no safe place to pass and we ended up losing time, especially when we got into traffic. Once passed the train we started moving forward again.
We hung around P3/P4 for pretty much the entire race after things had settled down. Slowly closing gaps in traffic, not taking unnecessary risks while going through traffic. Just past half way Douna had returned from dinner and it was his job to take the car home and secure us a P3 or maybe even P2 which had gotten in our sights.
Douna drove a terrific stint, had a great pace from the bat and the recent iRacing RUF C-spec champion was rolling away from 4th and closing rapidly on the 2 cars ahead. We did our fuel calculations for the last stint and checked how realistic of a chance we had of catching CoRe SimRacing in P2 who would likely only be doing only a splash and dash where we needed fuel and tires.
The last pitstop we had trouble. It took us 3 fresh left front tires for us to get going and we had lost valuable 17-18 seconds. That put us out of the window for P2 and caused a big challenge to keep P3. Douna pushed the car a little more driving up to a number on the gap between Heusinkveld and ourselves. When Heusinkveld did their splash and dash Douna passed him right on the exit of pit lane and got P3 back.
P3 was easily held and was the position we finished in. A good result when we look at our preperation effort, a little mixed feelings when we look at the time we shouldn’t have lost.
Next round Spa 4 hours, since we had the least offtrack inc’s at Watkins Glen, lets see if we can have the most off tracks at Spa again.
Thanks for the good race, se you next time!.
#151 - SFH Corvette Daytona Prototype – 3rd
GES Round 2 – Circuit of the America’s
Unfortunately we had to miss out on round 1 at Sebring due to social plans which made all 3 of us be unreliable (or slightly intoxicated) participants. To give reserve teams an opportunity to race we signalled GES that we would not participate in round 1.
In round 2 we were there and what an event that turned out to be. We prepared the SFH way, which doesn’t take not much track time but focuses on tweaking the setup to our liking. As expected Dennis was very much on pace from the word go. Rudy kept running into issues after a couple of laps.
Dennis was to start the race and put in a very decent banker lap. The other 2 laps he collected and inc, so unfortunately was not able to improve on his laptime. Still the banker lap was good enough to start the race from the front row.
Our goal for this event, P1! (duh), but we’d be satisfied with a podium seeing there was stiff competition out there.
The start went smooth, Dennis held on to P2 and quickly noticed he had more pace then the P1 car. However in the last corner of lap 2 he made a small mistake and half spun coming out of the turn setting us back in P10. From there we knew the day just got a lot harder. Having pace over someone is nice, but passing safely and cleanly can be a different story.
We quickly caught up to the cars ahead and Dennis was setting up for the pass. Dennis was a lot stronger on the brakes than the car ahead and put his nose in a couple of times, but had to avoid an incident due to the car ahead turning in to the apex. Unfortunately these kind of situations where the car behind is being held up more then a second a lap and no racing room given contact is inevitable. Lap 7 Dennis did not back out and passed the car in P9 trading paint in the process. The racing stewards weren’t that happy about it a gave us a warning.
We lost 20 seconds to the lead already by that time, Dennis put his head down and went for what was an awesome stint. Making up positions and going through traffic Dennis was the fastest out there and closed the gap down to 10 seconds at the end of his fuel which meant time to hand over the car which was in P4 at the time.
After a few laps of getting into a rhythm and getting the tires up to pressure Rudy slowly started to make up some time on the cars ahead. The strategy we had was to have Rudy run 3 shorter stints with less fuel going into the car so we could take an extra set of tires over those that went for a splash & dash and not lose time on pit road.
Having to get used to being the car to pass instead of driving the slower class Rudy adapted and kept a good pace going. Of course there were some misunderstandings and slightly poor judgement calls when it came to passing the slower classes, but that’s what makes multiclass racing interesting. After the second stint when most teams changed drivers we gained back the time we lost earlier with our driver swap. We found ourselves 40 seconds out of the lead in P4. It was already obvious that the #178 had the best papers to win the race as they got their car to run a full hour. But the #111 and #199 still had to make a splash & dash and continue with older tires.
Rudy pressed on, but lost time on teams that were on a different strategy yet wanted to race hard for position. The goal was to close the gap to about 30 seconds which would allow us to get ahead of both of them, but Rudy only got to about 35 seconds before the splash and dash stops took place.
The last laps were hectic, cars ahead in sight and closing in on them. The #111 and #199 made contact spinning the #199 off track and handing P3 to us. Rudy had more then enough pace to close the gap to P2 but had tough luck with traffic breaking up any opportunity to close the last tenths. In the second to last lap there was a lapped prototype between us and P2. In the long righthander Rudy saw a gap entering and went for it as it was the last opportunity to get to the #111’s tail and fight for P2, but the cars made contact spinning the lapper and costing us more time than we could make up. We ended up finishing in 3rd which makes us happy and hungry for more in the future events!
Thanks everyone for the great race!
#151 - SFH Corvette Daytona Prototype – 3rd