Introduction

– Race 6 of the Sim Racing Club Virtual Le Mans Series season brings the cars back to the island of Great Britain for the 4 Hours of Silverstone. The tight and twisty track promises to provide plenty of action. As it is always the rainy season, we expect ever-changing conditions during the race, as the 5.9km track will transition from sunlight to sunset, from dry to wet. These conditions will put Jordy Zwiers and Brian van Beusekom to the test once more.

The season standings have become very tight after Interlagos. Going into Silverstone, 1Aco leads the way with 68 points, but then it’s a big jam.  SimTech Motorsport has 55 points, and then SimTech, TeamRGPL, and SMHQ sit in a jam tied for third at 54 points.

Team Manager: Greg Hall
Engineer (Pit Wall): Greg Hall
Drivers: Brian van Beusekon, Jordy Zwiers
Reserve Driver: Jon Uyan

Qualifying

As expected, practice saw rain showers come and go. The qualifying session, though dry from the sky, saw an ever-drying track as the sun and the cars whisked water from the racing surface. In these changing conditions, Jordy Zwiers was able to wheel the car to 8th place, as the car setup was more tuned for dry conditions.

A strong comeback after more bad luck

Race

Rolling off the grid in 8th place, Jordy was immediately in the thick of the action. Cars were flying off the track in the difficult conditions.

Throughout his first stint, Jordy alternated between 4th and 8th place, driven by cars causing contact and making things difficult for the SMHQ driver. It’s as if the car has a target on its rear bumper!

Pitting on lap 23, fresh slick tires were the choice.  Jordy continued on, pushing to P6. But then, on lap 35, the skies opened up!  The rain came down hard, and Jordy switched to wet tires at that time. Rain showers were sporadic during this window, and with attrition and Jordy’s speed, the SMHQ car boosted to 4th place!

Unfortunately, on lap 51, an optimistic maneuver by another driver left Jordy with damage. At that time, we made the call to switch Brian into the car. Lap 53 saw Brian leave the pits with fresh wet tires, a minute lost due to damage repair.

This, due to typical SMHQ luck, went awry. Brian’s new pedals, for some reason, reset their load cell pressure settings.  This left Brian with about 30% braking power!  Jordy had to resume running the car, hopping back in on lap 57, another minute lost due to an unplanned stop. We sat in P12 after this sequence of events, dejected and out of the points.

Jordy went back to work. On fresh wet tires, and with track conditions in his favor, Jordy pushed up to P6 by lap 77. At this point, we had to get Jordy out of the car due to drive time limitations.

Brian took over in P8 and pressed on. True to our luck and timing, the rain came back hard, and on lap 80, we went back into the pits for wet tires. The rain did not let up for the remainder of the race.

Brian was able to make up one position due to attrition, bringing us to P7. Our last pit stop was on lap 99, with Brian 35 seconds behind P6. We knew P6 was in trouble, as they last pitted with 53 minutes remaining, and either needed to stop again or save a lot of fuel. As the race went on, it was obvious the latter choice was their decision. The gap dropped steadily. 25 seconds. 20 seconds. 15 seconds. The last lap came, and Brian was on the back bumper of P6. A passing maneuver into Stowe did not stick, unfortunately, and P7 was where we would stay.

Overall, P7 is a success given all the trials and fits this race gave us. The brake pedals. The undeserved contact. The weather timing versus our drive time limits. We’ll get out of here with four points and regroup for Sebring. Well done to Jordy and Brian for strong drives.

Post-Race Comments

Brian van Beusekom – “When I got in the car and exited the pits, I immediately noticed something was wrong because I completely missed my braking zone for T3. The rest of the lap I had trouble in every braking zone, having to brake almost twice as early because I had no braking power for some reason. It was so bad that I had to give the car back to Jordy. When I was back out of the car I found out why I had trouble: the load cell in the brake did not calibrate.”

Jordy Zwiers – “Times were looking good in practice so I was looking forward to qualifying and the race. At the beginning of qualifying I could keep pace with others but at the end of qualifying I could not hook up a lap, which meant we would be starting 8th. After a few contacts on my rear corners, the rear downforce was ruined and it was not fixable until I got spun around. After that the car was much better, but then another 60 seconds of damage and it happened later in the race. Unfortunately, Brian had some pedal issues which put us really far back but he kept the car out of the wall in difficult driving conditions. Not a good race all in all but we will be stronger at Sebring.”

4th, for a little while

Championship

Standings after Silverstone:
1Aco: 86
3Wide Motorsport: 72
SimHQ Motorsports: 60
TeamRGPL: 58
Simtech Motorsport: 56
Simtech: 54

VLMS