– The second race of the P1-Gaming 24h Series takes us to Road America, a classy follow-up to the Road Atlanta race two months ago. Road America is a serene, 4-mile circuit that winds naturally through the crests and valleys of the Wisconsin countryside. With high speeds and well-known sections such as Hurry Downs, the Carousel, the Kink, and Canada Corner, this is a track that tests even the mightiest of sim racers.
SMHQ will be challenging this circuit in both classes, GT3 and Touring.
#63 – Chevrolet Camaro GT3: Brian van Beusekom, Jon Uyan
#64 – Chevrolet Camaro GT3: Greg Hall, Jordy Zwiers
#62 – BMW 125i TRG: Matthew Overton, Bill Sutter
#66 – Chevrolet Cruze: Matt Horst, Cosimo Streppone
Unexpected rain sullied the track surface early in the session. This made things difficult for the drivers, as the best laps were achieved at the end of the session as the track dried and each driver needed a clean lap with no traffic in order to climb the order.
In Touring, Matthew Overton and Matt Horst kicked off the in-team rivalry. Matthew came out the winner, setting the 8th fastest time in class with a 2:26.8. Matt followed immediately after, with the 9th place start time of 2:27.4.
In GT3, the fight was much closer than we expected. In the end, SMHQ sat on the pole for the second time in a row. Brian van Beusekom placed the #63 Camaro at the top of the order with a 2:04.96, taking pole by five-hundredths of a second! Jordy Zwiers was not able to reproduce his pole effort from Road Atlanta. The crew sent him out on mismatched tires, wet tires in the rear! With that misfortune, starting in 12th is an amazing feat, faster than 19 other drivers!
The race start…
Road America provided both peaks and valleys for the SMHQ team. Let’s start with our misfortune, saving the best for last.
The #66 Cruze, with Matt Horst behind the wheel, could not catch a break. Damage from an off at the Kink in lapped traffic took its toll early. 16 laps and the race was over a dead motor not allowing the car to continue further.
The #62 BMW ran its steady race throughout the 6 Hours. Starting from P8, Matthew kept his nose clean and kept the car in contention throughout the early morning. Bill Sutter hopped in and kept the car in P8 throughout his stints. Throughout the last hour, Bill put Matthew in the position to potentially snag a top 5 finish. However, an unforced contact caused damage that needed to be repaired. And so the car would finish where it started, Matthew bringing it home in 8th.
The #64 Camaro had to overcome a poor starting position, and Jordy got straight to work. He shot up the middle of the field at the start! Overtakes and attrition left the car in P4 after one hour. Jordy took one more position in the next hour, having Greg take over for the third hour.
In the third hour, Greg took some damage from an optimistic Porsche, leaving Jordy to continue on in P4 after repairs. Further repairs from an overtake left the car in P11! The last 2.5 hours of the race led to two overtakes for Jordy, two for Greg, and two in the last hour by Jordy to get the car back in P5! That was a lot of work to get that top five, and a podium was only a minute up the road.
The #63 Camaro had much less to overcome. Starting from pole made things easy. A small mistake early on left Brian to turn the car over to Jon in 3rd after one hour. Jon advanced to P2 after the #21 received damage. From there on, it was a steady race for our front-running team. Jon and Brian turned class-leading laps and did not have any incidents all race. They brought the car home in P2, only 90 seconds behind the leader! This is SMHQ’s first podium in the 24H Series and something we will cherish!
Jordy Zwiers – “The race was tricky too, with the drying up conditions which made it hard to make a pass. Handing the car to Greg we were in contention for a podium spot but when a car drove into a standing still vehicle he got collected so again damage, once I got back in the car I lost my braking marker completely when overtaking Speedymite and into the wall. Very uncharacteristic mistake, I have never done anything like that before. So I repaired, finished the stint and gave the car back to Greg in P10. He drove amazingly, giving the viewers some great fighting on track with Simon with the two Camaro’s going at it. He decided I should do the last stint, so I had to put something right in this stint and I drove as quickly as I could with no big mistakes to salvage P5 at the end. What a race.”
Brian van Beusekom – “I started from first, only to give it away from the next lap by missing my braking point for T4 thanks to the stutter that I had (like many other drivers). We dropped to 3rd because of it but managed to stay there. Luckily it was my only mistake and Jon did a great job keeping the car clean, bringing the car home in 2nd!”
Jon Uyan – “Very happy with how the race went for us. Brian and I had a relatively incident-free race. Except for few close calls, the touring traffic was overall pretty good, but GT3 traffic was excellent! All GT3 drivers were alert and complied with blue flag passing. Very much appreciate that!
Drying track conditions made the whole qualifying session very exciting as the track was getting faster and faster. Brian did the right call on dry tires recognizing the correct cross-over time for compounds. Around 4 minutes before the session end he set the blistering 2:04.9 lap. He was the only driver that could dip into 2:04’s in very risky conditions. This was SHQM’s second pole in a row in 24H series.
When I was getting in the car my body was a little jittery as I had to work on the setup late into the night instead of sleeping. But the end result was very satisfactory. The car was planted and on rails. In fact, when Brian said he had no qualification setup and he had used the race setup in qual, I was very proud. So, with only 2 hours sleep, but eyes wide open because of excitement, I did my first stint.
We moved up to P2 while I was driving due to an unfortunate incident that almost took Mario Tump out. Then Brian took over for the 3rd stint, and we kept switching every stop, getting fresh tires and pushing just enough. Having the best consistency among GT finishers while maintaining P2 position proves that we had this race under control, well, except for the lead car! Both Christian Tuellner and Christian Knudsen were getting more out of their Camaro than we could. Still, it was a pleasant drive for both of us as we stayed out of trouble and enjoyed the short 6-hour race.”
At the end bringing a podium finish for SHQM first time in 24H Series was an excellent result for us. The #63 car recovering and moving up to P5 after all their trouble was the icing on the cake.
Congratulations to #42 RS Racetrackart for the win and #84 SpeedyMite racing for 3rd place. Also, a big thank you goes to the race admins for their hard work and to the broadcast team for an excellent job on live commentary. P1-Gaming 24H Series is growing and becoming popular and Simhq Motorsports is happy to be a part of it.
The 24h Series next makes its way Down Under on May 26th to the 12 Hours of Bathurst. Mount Panorama promises to wreak havoc and generate lots of attrition. Very much looking forward to the Bathurst race now. We will have new Simhq Motorsports drivers joining us and we hope to have a 4-car attack on the Mountain. It will be a crazy one!