– The fifth race of the P1-Gaming 24h 2018 Season is a huge diversion for the series. Leaving the APEX GT3 cars behind, the freshly-released Studio 397 Endurance Pack rampaged the freshly-released Sebring circuit for 12 hours. This track is a challenge, as the new model has such realistic surface bumps that can knock all the fillings out of your teeth. It’s an extreme battle, and the cars will be beat up by the end.
SimHQ Motorsports will be challenging this circuit in two classes, LMP2 and GTE wearing the livery of painter Matt Horst.
#63 Oreca 07: Jon Uyan, Greg Hall, Cosimo Streppone, Nic da Silva, Brian van Beusekom (reserve driver)
#64 Porsche 911: Matt Horst, Brian van Beusekom, Blazej Myszk, Steven Hill, Nic da Silva (reserve driver)
In the LMP2, Nic took to the track in qualifying trim. With a fresh setup banged out the night before, Nic was fully competitive, turning in a time that placed him P4 in class with a 1:45.821, 0.8 second behind the lead. 9 cars in total qualified.
In the Porsche 911, Brian hit the track with his trimmed out, futuristic Volkswagen Beetle. A tough field of 24 cars meant lots of competition, and little space on track. 15th place was the final grid spot, a time of 1:58.889 the final posting.
Nic and Brian also participated in the Virtual Le Mans Series 4 Hours of Istanbul after their qualifying and first stints, leading to a long day for both drivers.
In the #63 LMP2, Nic left the grid in 4th place. Some spooky driving from other cars left Nic in 5th place, a safer place to be this early in the race. Nic handed the car over to Cosimo on lap 42, and from Cosimo to Greg on lap 84. Cosimo did report soft brakes, which were remedied later in the race.
Greg gave the car back to Cosimo on lap 126, clicking off laps per the usual. Nic, fresh off his VLMS duties, took over at lap 170, and handed the car to Jon on lap 212. During this time, we moved from P7 to P5 due to attrition.
If this sounds boring… well, our race was uneventful! No sizable incidents besides minor fender benders, no battles for position. We were consistently a second off the pace of the leaders, and it showed in the final result.
Cosimo took the car over from Jon on lap 254, and Greg from Cosimo on lap 298. Greg streamed his stints on Twitch. Nic took over from Greg on lap 338, and took it to the finish on lap 377.
No major incidents, but we didn’t quite have a competitive pace either. This turned into one large testing session for our Virtual Endurance Championship efforts. P5 is nothing to cry about, but we expected better.
Meanwhile, in the #64 Porsche…
Brian left the grid in 15th place, and embarked on the long game. The drivers decided to go as long as they could before changing tires and drivers. This meant Brian turned over the car to Blazo on lap 64, more than two hours after the race start. Blazo, in turn, drove until lap 127, with Matt taking over the car next.
Matt ended up getting slapped with the fabulous SHQM luck the worst. During the pit stop exchange from Blazo to Matt, another car hit our stationary car in pit road! No idea how that can happen. The damage was to the rear wing, leaving Matt with a twitchy car in the fast turns, along with instability in the slow stuff.
In combination with this, Brian was busy with VLMS duties and Blazo’s Internet provider failed! Matt managed to hold onto this mess of a car until lap 186, when a huge shunt led to damage, a disqualification, and a fresh car! Brian was able to take over on lap 210, giving Matt the break he so deserved.
Brian ran to lap 242, where Blazej got back in the car, his Internet service restored. Blazo did an epic run, taking it to lap 334. Matt took over to get the car to the finish at lap 338. Why change drivers for the last four laps? Because Blazo’s wheel was struggling, and there was concern it wouldn’t make it to the end. SHQM luck!
The final result for the #64: 13th in class, 15 laps behind the leaders. The hardship is evidenced by the 11 pit stops, more than anyone else in the field. Sometimes, these long races keep kicking you when you’re down.
Matt Horst – “I took over the car after Brian and Blazej ran very nice double stints each. Brian and Blazej both decided to try double stinting mediums and see if we could climb up the order through strategy and tire preservation. It was working out well until I got in the car. Bad luck struck at the end of our pit stop and driver swap between Myself and Blazej. Just as I was lifting my foot of the clutch to pull away we got hit in the rear by a car leaving his pit box just behind ours. There was some minor damage to the rear wing which I thought would not make any difference. It became apparent though that I lost a little rear downforce and I started to struggle with the rear of the car in turn 15 and 17 and eventually lost the car in turn 17. From there things really went downhill and I had several more spins and some contact with the wall a few times as well as some contact with other cars in which some were my fault and some were not. My driving was really poor on this day and I can’t blame it all on the little bit of rear wing damage, but I guess maybe it played a small part especially mentally. Things just fell apart for me after the first spin and I had possibly my worst day ever in a race car. My driving issues and some technical issues from Blazej gave us a finish of 21st place. Not what we were hoping for and I will take all the blame for that. My teammates and especially myself will look for a better finish at the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife in November.”
The 24h Series moves to its namesake event, the 24 Hours of Nurburgring, on November 24th. 24 hours on the Nordschleife will test both man and machine.