Nurburgring Germany, famous for it’s Nordschleife, the 4th round of the season was held at the GP BES/WEC configuration.
After the successful multiclass season of the Gathering of Tweakers Endurance Series (GES) season 2, the same class combination are the choice for the 3rd season. One minor change in de GT3 category where the AMG GT3 replaced the Z4 GT3. We are participating in the Proto class C7DP, a Prototype car with GT characteristics and a great engine sound.
It was an easy decision to be back for a 3rd season once we left the Nurburgring last season. The driver lineup has no changes, Douna, Offermans and de Wit will do their best to make this season at least as successful as the previous. Our goal for this year; podiums!.
Practice & Qualifying.
Nurburgring was going to be a key race for us in the championship. To be able to keep the championship in control without having to beat SimRC.de or Thrustmaster Mivano at Spa, we this would be our best opportunity. But we needed a more competative setup. As all year on the mid-fast corners as we had to work harder to get our car through these types of corners. We evolved our setup early to receive the rotation we though was needed. Some small issues were ironed out, but only appeared on really hot temperatures.
3 weeks later, the day before the race was our next session, thats were a new problem became apparent, de Wit’s computer kept freezing and killed the iRacing process. This issue was caused by either harddrive or controller. Initially reinstalling with another drive looked to be the way to go, but in the morning that door had shut as the same issues still remained. Being able to reproduce the symptoms, allows us to pinpoint whhich period would be riskfull, which was harddrive activity. We turned off the replay spooling, turned off telemetry and that looked to eliminate practically all interaction.
The hard decision was whether to take the risk, or put our plan B in motion and have Marcel drive this race instead of his VEC obligations. Late saturday afternoon the computer felt stable enough to make the decision to rake the risk.
During qualifying we we’re a little bit suprised that SimRC and Mivano did not break into the 1m46s. Being the last car on track and seeing most Proto teams already completing their laps Douna’s 1st lap meant pole position. Dennis backed it up improving on the 2nd and 3rd lap. A surprising yet inspiring outcome to start the race.
First half of the race.
Green flag, and Douna immediately started pulling a margin. SimRC kept 2nd position, Thrustmaster Mivano fell back a couple of positions. After a dozen laps or so the main competitors was as expected SimRC and Mivano and lapping at close to Douna’s pace. Traffic was at times interesting with very late decisions and some drivers driving a but unsure of their positions on track. Douna made slight contact with a RUF who missed the second corner of the BES/WEC chicane, Luckaly no damage done. At that point one of our main rivals Thrustmaster Mivano received a penalty after turning an AMG in T1 giving us such a lead over them that under normal conditions was to big to close. At the end of his first stint we brought the car in 1 lap before most, as we weren’t 100% sure it would be safe to do another lap. Seeing our lead and strategy this would cause to be no harm.
After the first round of pitstops cycled, we found ourselves in a healthy 23 second lead over SimRC who took on less fuel at the first stop and gained about 5-6 seconds. in third was m-p prototyp racing at 47 seconds, Backmarker racing at 56 seconds and Thrustmaster Mivano at 1 minute 17. Douna continued where he left off driving a stunning pace and increasing the lead lap after lap. SimRC made their second stop way before we planned to enter pit lane confirming they would keep their 1st driver in the car for about the max time allowed. They came out behind Backmarker racing and only m-p prototyp was only just within a minute. Thats where the cars started jumping all over the screen.
Checking the link quality at the entries sheet it was obvious that this is wat was mentioned in the briefing. Not long after that came the notification that we entered the red flag procedure. At that point we were on the start finish straight and had to cycle a full lap. At first we felt gutted that we were going to loose so much time and probably seeing SimRC get a free pitstop and probably needing a splash ourselves somewhere near the end of the race. When entering pitlane we noticed that m-p prototyp, SimRC, Backmarker and Mivano were ahead of us on pitroad meaning we didn’t loose a lot, possibly gained about 30 seconds to m-p, and less then that on the others. When the yellow flag was mentioned with all being in pitlane, that would mean severe chaos, because it would be unclear who would be picked up by the pacecar. The decision made by GES probably was the best possible with the situation at hand.
Beside the small gain, our downside was that besides the few cars behind us, we would had to pass the whole mixed field the first couple of laps, which would definitely provide elevated risk of contact. Once again Douna excelled in patience and once given a clear track, he stormed towards the teams ahead who came into sights with 0.5-1 second a lap. The red flag caused our fuel indicator to mess up a little, and what seemed to be safe as a final lap of his stint quickly became very interesting as we didn’t have enough fuel onboard for a normal lap. As soon as we noticed we started ultra-saving and because we noticed in time were able to bring the car back for a driver swap.
Second half of the race.
De Wit took over and when leaving pitlane and hitting the brakes, the car started sliding not able to give the car any directional input. Behind us an AMG decided to go for a pass on the outside and steered into our sliding car. Contact was made, both continued, definitely not the way to start your stint. We were surprised and disappointed of the 10 second stop and hold we received being the car that got hit with another car overtaking us. We thought harshness of the penalty could have something to do to make up for the gains we got for during the red flag, so we didn’t appeal.
When De Wit left pitlane the driver change pitstop plus penalty cost us a full lap and we found ourselves close to SimRC who had pitted right before the red flag and able to go a little longer. As de Wit slowly found a decent and safe pace we we’re calculating our position on track with the stops still to make. SimRC had full stop to go, most others were to far behind or like us still had to get a splash of fuel. The slash of fuel would be a lot quicker than the full driverswap pitstop that SimRC still had to do, so after getting passed for the lead keeping in sight was the only thing required. At lap 70 SimRC went in for their last pitstop.
From that point onwards de Wit was driving in safe mode, no risks were necessary, just bring it home. Still a decent pace as the gap behind was slowly increasing. With the risk of another red flag, we decided to get our fuel early so we were in the lead without pitstop requirement. We brought the car home with a win and more importantly a big step in terms of the championship. Sadly our donuts/burnout caused us 2x which does not help us in chasing Legends in the CleanX standings.
Thanks to our sponsor Heusinkveld Engineering, and congrats to the GT3 and GTC winners!
#151 - SFH Corvette Daytona Prototype – 1st
GES Round 3 – Motegi 4 hours
In the land of the rising sun, Twin Ring Motegi, night racing, A formula that has the ingredients to produce a challenging race.
Practice & Qualifying.
Shortly after the Imola race and the somewhat disappointing pace compared to Douna, De Wit made the decision to stop forcing himself to do right foot braking and move back left foot braking. This hopefully should help bring the lapspeed of both closer together.
We did practice shortly after the Imola race in November. Knew there was still room for improvement in de set. The understeering character of the setup is telling us there still is speed to gain from setup improvements.
A big overhaul on the setup made it a lot more ‘alive’. It felt that with a little extra stability it would become a setup that would significantly lower the amount of understeer that we experience with the C7DP. The week leading up to the race we still hadn’t worked on the stability and the decision to use our Imola setup was final bar a few minor changes.
Practice proved that the race would become a good one as all the Prototype teams were very close to each other. For qualifying we removed the fuel load, and Dennis once again delivered a great lap putting us on P2 behind Thrustmaster Mivano who looked very strong and were the only ones to crack the 1 minute 43 second barrier.
First Half of the race.
Green flag, fear, cold feet or cold tires, I was very interesting to see how much risk the drivers would take in the opening lap of the race. Sketchy is not the correct word to describe the handling, or the absence of it. Our goal was to keep 2nd position, see if we could keep up with Mivano and go from there. Simone (Mivano) took it easy on the first lap and Douna was able to put pressure for an opportunity. Dennis wasn’t able to push for a mistake and once the tires built their heat and pressure both Mivano and the Simracing for Holland Prototypes started pulling a gap.
Without the help of traffic we we’re only able to hang onto the rear wing. Keeping us incident free, connected to the rear of the lead car, an increasing gap behind us, things looked good. Traffic appeared and Douna was able to create a run out of T3 and made an easy pass as Mivano didn’t decide to defend it’s position. Lap 13, SFH P1!. A Flawless stint from Douna and a short gap to Thrustmaster Mivano when we entered the first round of pitstops. Once again figure skating on the first couple of corners followed by going for it once again. Mivano changed drivers and with Carlo Labati having another ace of a driver in the car. In lap 44 Douna spun in the last chicane due to going a little wide and straight from throttle to brakes. 5 seconds were lost, the lead was still ours with 8 seconds over the Italians.
We lost 7 seconds in the second stop, followed by a lockup sending the SFH DP into the gravel brought Thrustmaster Mivano back to our rear wing. An interesting stint followed up until Mivano made a small mistake allowing us to get a 5 second gap. We did have one huge lag spike as Groningen apparently had a blackout for a couple of seconds. The stint ended after 93 laps with a 2.5 second lead and only after 5 incidents. Hats off!.
Second half of the race.
De Wit after waiting for 3 hours since his last lap was immediately into traffic as he exited pit lane. Thrustmaster Mivano had switched drivers a couple of laps back and were expected to be gaining time quickly. After being passed by the Radicals Online car which brought them back at the lead lap Simone appeared in the mirror. Knowing Rudy would probably not have raw pace of the Thrustmaster Mivano driver, he was not intended to hand the lead on the silver platter.
8 Laps of hard all inclusive racing followed, flashing lights, cross over moves and trading some virtual paint. All of this in traffic as well. Unfortunately a tiny contact just before the last chicane sent our car sideways and the lead was lost to Mivano. Not intended to give up we tried to keep the pressure up to the best of our abilities. In clean air we couldn’t keep up, in traffic we could gain some time. Knowing our last stop probably would be a few seconds shorter because we needed less fuel to complete the race we decided that if we were still within striking distance we would go in with the lead car.
Our final pitstop was indeed a couple of seconds closer, but not enough to leap frog the Mivano car. In the outlap De Wit put maximum pressure on the lead car which defended, but did not made a mistake and held the lead. Once again obviously in clean air we were losing a little bit of time, but the gap between 1 and 2 seconds wasn’t increasing. In the closing laps there was a big chance as Mivano hit traffic at a difficult point. We timed our run, but it wasn’t good enough. The next couple of cars we had to lap we got in a poor spot and lost a chunk of time on Mivano ending our chances for a late race move. Finishing 2nd with only being 2 seconds behind the (deserved) winners was a lot better then we expected!. 10 incidents over the entire race brings us closer to the lead in the CleanX challenge as well.
Congrats to Carlo and Simone for the win and the good fight, congrats Pure Racing and Black Added for winning the GT3 and GTC classes.
Looking at the championship, we are in 1st position with 48 points with SimRC.de (42 points) and Thrustmaster Mivano (41 points) in 2nd and 3rd position. A great position to head into the last 2 races, but we have to beat both SimRC.de and Thrustmaster Mivano in at least 1 of the remaining events. We’re looking forward to the next race.
Thank you to our sponsor Heusinkveld Engineering, and we wish you all great season holidays and we will see you next year at the Nurburgring!!
#151 - SFH Corvette Daytona Prototype - 2nd
GES Round 2 – Imola 3 hours
The second race of the season is held at the twisty, curby and narrow Imola track. A wonderful location to race, a challange for a multiclass field due to limited options to pass.
Practice & qualifying
As Imola was the odd track of the calendar we thought it needed it’s own setup created. A couple of nights shortly after the Road America race were spend to make the car curb friendly and give it a little more mechanical grip. After two nights the car could run any curb without really upsetting the car making it predictable and a friendly ride.
The next session was raceday 4pm. We were ready to do our shakedown before the race and get our last things sorted. Installing the latest sim updates and Dennis still needing to buy the track. The session we started proved that it was not needed as the track download took the better part of an hour and there were sessions open. Hats off to Dennis for being able to get up to speed in about 6 laps of practice!
We were shocked by the margin we had over the field in qualifying. 7 tenths of a second to the second place qualifier Thrustmaster Mivano was huge. We definitely did not expect that to happen and it made us aware we had a lot of speed in the car. Realising it was probably our race to lose the pressure is on and confidence was up to get going.
First half of the race.
Cold tires would make a sketchy start, Douna was really looking forward to it and loves that the tires need to build up heat and pressure even though it would make the car hard to control. We got a very clean start and a little jump on the competitors into T1 allowing Dennis to be a little extra cautious through the chicane. From there onwards it was all about just making laps. Thrustmaster Mivano and BlackAdder were able to stay relatively close in the opening laps, behind bar SimRC a gap started to grow.
There was one corner on track where our car could get a little unsettled. That was Acque Minerali. During the first stint Dennis had this happen to him a couple of times. We thought that this would either be caused by running the curb on the first corner of Acque Minerali or a slight lockup while braking. Judging the replay we figured it must be the braking as the lines were mostly the same. Each time Dennis made this mistake, Mivano and BlackAdder were able to close the gap.
Traffic appeared to be pretty joyful here. It definitely wasn’t as ‘bad’ as we expected it to be. One wouldn’t loose a whole lot of time waiting for corner exit and it was easy to judge when to make that opportunistic out-braking manoeuvre. Traffic did end up playing a big role in the race when BlackAdder got a tap in the rear, spinning and in the chaos behind Thrustmaster Mivano getting collected. Now the gap was pretty sizable with only SimRC being around 10 seconds behind.
Douna’s second stint was pretty flawless and we were able to increase the gap to 45 seconds when the driver change was due and it was De Wit’s time to close the deal and bring the car home for a victory.
Second half of the race.
After getting heat in the tires, Rudy’s pace was nowhere near it should be. Expecting to be in the high 1:36’s and low 1:37’s the 1:38’s weren’t great even though the main goal was bringing the car home. It took a while to get a rithem and from there it went a little better. Not having to take any risk in traffic running the car was pretty comfortable. Some small errors costing time here and there, but behind nobody was gaining time.
There was one hairy moment during the first stint on the front straight. Coming up to put another lap on the dRS RUF it closed the apex on the bend before turn one. We chose the outside and were quite surprised that the RUF came all the way to the outside. It was a choice of grass or contact, de Wit choose the first option and went full throttle into the grass and into the braking zone of T1. Of course there was no way to slow down the car in time. We safely slowed down, accepted we would get a slow down and loose a couple of seconds and continued. Shortly after we got an apology from dRS which was appreaciated :ThumbsUp: .
With laps in the 37’s coming back, we were discussing where and how there could be such a gap in our lap times on clear laps. It kept us busy for the remainder of the race. The gap behind kept growing and at some point shortly before our final pitstop we had a lap on the entire Prototype field. After the last pitstop the finish came pretty quietly. We did see the P3 and P4 Prototypes collect each other coming out of Tosa which looked a bit wierd. This left only BlackAdder being the only other Prototype car on the lead lap.
We took the checkered after leading 107 out of the 109 laps, a pretty fine and domnitating result despite not perfectly executing the race.
Congrats to Pure Racing Team and KRT Motorsport for winning the GT3 and GTC classes.
A shoutout to thank our sponsor Heusinkveld Engineering and see you next time at Motegi!
#151 - SFH Corvette Daytona Prototype – 1st
GES Round 1 – Road America 4 hours
The SFH iRacing season kicks off with an up and down race at the classic and fast track of Road America. Long straights, tight corners, the carousel and the kink make it a great track for some Saturday night multiclass racing.
Summer preparation and practice.
During the off season a lot has changed in the equipment department. We are very pleased to have Heusinkveld Engineering on board and helping us with their wonderfully engineered equipment. The forces required to optimally use Heusinkveld Engineering peripherals made us all switch to aluminum profile racing rigs which, besides being stronger than your average $100 desk, also looks a lot cooler!. Unfortunately we didn’t have a ton of time to thoroughly get used to our stuff due to work and for some new business.
Definitely we were looking forward to the season. Preperation was typically short being a 2 hour shakedown session on the Wednesday before the race. Some minor changes required to the setup and we felt good to go.
Server practice gave us enough confidence we would be competitive although lacking a bit of track time. The track is a fun one to drive and the lap times were up where we felt they needed to be.
First half of the race.
The start of the race… well it was a big mess for the Prototypes. Games played and multiple people passing the leader before the start finish line of which the rules are quite clear about. We held station, but lost quite a number of spots. SimRC.de were the biggest victim by getting an in game black flag.
Douna slowly made his way forward and got into a fight with the TFR car. Dennis felt being faster, but we seemed to lack quite a bit of top speed. Eventually P2 was ours and the hunt for the last Backmarker ahead of us began. That Backmarker Racing team did have a lot of pace, it had more lap speed then us on traffic free laps. Strangely enough TFR got back to our bumper right before the first stop. The second stint Douna had to re-pass the TFR car because we had a poor stop with some repairs. Another solid stint, but we did lose time on the leaders.
On the third stint things were looking good at the beginning, but this stint we got treated with a fair amount of bad luck catching traffic in all the wrong places. Although we were able to pass most of them swift and safe, we did lose a quite a bit of time. 2 laps before it was time to hand over the car to de Wit, the car hooked on the curb and spun us and sliding into wall backwards. The TFR car closed up the gap as Dennis was finding his way back into the right direction. The car being a little bruised the lap in which we were going to do the drive change provided quite some action. The TFR car got a run on us and Dennis shut the door to the inside lane only allowing TFR to go around.
Second half of the race.
Douna overshot the pitbox costing us a little extra time on pit road and therefore also losing a position to SimRC.de which had mostly recovered from their earlier misfortune. Choosing not to take the minute repairs De Wit found himself in 4th and 6-7 seconds behind the TFR and SimRC.de teams. Slowly getting closer to the teams that were in sight ahead there was an unpleasant surprise. Race control jumped into our communication channel and told us we received a drive though penalty for blocking. As Douna was away for a little bit to freshen up after his stint we appealed and asked Race Control to allow us to give that appeal once Dennis returned.
We were forced to take the drive althrough without appeal after which our race was pretty much over. We lost 4th to Thrustmaster Mivano and now had huge gap to those in front. More bad luck struck as De Wit got spun while lapping a car in Turn 3. The last stop and judging the repair time, there was nothing to gain and with a sizeable margin to 6th place that seemed to be it for the day. Closing in on the finish TFR got a penalty allowing us to bring our car home 4th position.
After the race we did get our appeal, the dutch saying “Mustard after the meal.” Pretty much covers it.
Congrats to Niklas and Kyle, Pure Racing and Buschfink Racing for their wins.
The racing was good and we are looking forward to the next events!
#151 - SFH Corvette Daytona Prototype – 4th