– After 3 races and sitting pretty in P3, 14 and 4 point gaps to top runners respectively, we will be trying to close the gap to top runners while staying ahead of the chasing pack. As the VLMS race reassured a lot of teams (we included) attrition will play a role at Suzuka during crucial 8 hours.
Team Manager: Jon Uyan
Setups: Jon Uyan
Engineer (Pit Wall): Jon Uyan, Greg Hall
Drivers: Jon Uyan, Jordy Zwiers, Brian van Beusekom
Reserve Driver: Jules Goux
We qualified second.
The #29 Simhq Motorsports P2 had a feisty run at what may be the worst multi-class track on the schedule, Suzuka. This weekend’s team consisted of Jordy Zwiers, Brian van Beusekom, and Jon Uyan, with a crippled Greg Hall providing Engineer support.
Jordy qualified P2, and was able to lead the race until lap 18 when unforced contact from a GT caused an early pit.
Jordy commented, “Having qualified second, we were focusing on the car ahead. While under pressure, the leader went wide at Spoon, allowing us to grab the lead. After some chaos behind there was a big gap which was growing steadily. Everything was looking well, up till the point a GTE had an unlucky spin and unfortunately hit our car. This cut our stint short and put us outside the pit sequences and left us with damage repairs. We dropped a lap down after we got going again, so now it was time to gain all the lost time back, a tough task with such a big gap to the leader. But we kept our heads down up till the point where we were 15 seconds behind the leader, but then a badly timed code 80 followed allowing our competitors to get a free pitstop when we just did one.”
After this contact, the #29 was off-cycle on pit stops and rotated through the top five as cars made their stops. Jordy gave way to Brian after 41 laps, Jordy was back in the car on Lap 87. A Code 80 caution at lap 113 allowed the #29 to sync up with other cars’ pit cycles, placing us in P3 after the rotations were complete. Jordy was able to pass MVRE #26 on track, returning the #29 to 2nd place for Brian to take over on lap 137. Jon took over the car on lap 183, needing to stretch his fuel to finish the race on two more stops. However, poor traffic luck allowed MVRE #26 to catch and pass Jon with 18 minutes remaining.
P3 for the #29 is our third podium in four races this year.
I was in engineer position thru the qualifying and first 3 hrs of the race. Jordy and Brian did an excellent job with softs after I convinced them that was still an option vs mediums. Last few days leading up to race my tire testing showed softs were 1 to 1.3 sec faster depending on medium stints (first stint or second stint). Of course, traffic in race reduced this gap between the compounds a little but softs also provided better handling and better grip off-line when going thru GT traffic. If it didn’t work I was to blame of course but boys did deliver and used the compound to our advantage for sure.
As it has been every race since the start of the season bad luck strike again only 18 laps into the race. Additional repairs, dropping a lap down to leaders, out-of-cycle pit stops etc.. Jordy’s performance w/softs was unbelievable, close to qualifying lap times made us climb back up the positions, from P8 to P2. Brian on his last two stints kept the car in P2 especially after a Code80 that made all the top runners dive into pits and made everyone on same pit rotation again.
When I got into the car for the last 3 stints I felt great. It took a bit of time to get used to rubber on track and braking points. Softs were doing well but my pace was not that great. We lost time to #26 MVRE on track and also during my first stop. With Greg’s suggestion and to be on the same strategy as #26 I switched to mediums. But struggled a lot thru the hairpin. We were carrying a minor suspension and body damage. GT and LM-P2 traffic did not play to our advantage when it counted.
Closing laps #26 caught up to me and 2 laps later I got bogged down out of the last corner when a GT decided to change line in front of me. Following him very close I had to lift quite a bit to switch my line and that gave a big advantage to #26 right behind me to put on a pass on the S/F straight. I knew I still had chance to fight him since he was low on DF and I could close the gap thru twisty S1 and S2. This time with the help of lap traffic I was keeping him at bay. But just a few laps from finish a 13-lap down LM-P2 car decided to pass me on the front straight and chop my racing line then brake-check me going into T1 killed all my chance to fight for that P2 position if there was any.
All-in-all a good race for us. Another podium and we are still hanging with the leaders for the title.
Standings in VEC Division 2, P2 class:
1st place – Real Championship 1 – 88
2nd place – MVRE Motorsport – 71
3rd place – SimHQ Motorsports – 64