– Race 5 of the Virtual LeMans Series season takes us to Brazil for the 4 hours of Interlagos. In the season standings, the Simhq Motorsports LMP2 currently lies in 3rd place with 42 points, trailing 1Aco (68) and TeamRGPL (44). SimTech Motorsport (40) nips at our heels.
Brian van Beusekom and Jordy Zwiers plan to push their skills to the limit around the 2.677 mile (4.309km) circuit, ever aware of the dangerous front straight, unpredictable traffic, and changing conditions.
Team Manager: Greg Hall
Engineer (Pit Wall): Greg Hall
Drivers: Brian van Beusekon, Jordy Zwiers
Reserve Driver: Jon Uyan
At Interlagos, Brian van Beusekom was due to be the lead driver for the #48 Simhq LMP2. In the lead role, Brian took the car and qualified in P7, 7 tenths off the pole time. A random car glitch cost Brian his fastest lap at the end of the session.
Starting in P7, Brian had to serve three drive-through penalties, damage incurred from the last round at Suzuka. These three penalties put the #48 about 70 seconds behind the lead after 15 minutes had passed, with the car in P9. Brian was able to pass the Gaming Events #50 for P8 before he was to swap with Jordy Zwiers into the car.
However, Jordy had VR issues trying to join the race server. This left us to modify the race strategy, asking Brian to stay in the cars for 10 more laps on a short fuel fill. This fuel fill was needed at some point during the race. However, doing it so early took away our strategic flexibility.
Jordy took over on lap 43, in P13 due to the penalties and extra stop. He then went on a tear, making it back to P9 by lap 59. However, two contacts on lap 96 and lap 100 caused by other cars eliminated a lot of Jordy’s time gains.
Brian took the car back on lap 107, still in P9. From this point, the Simhq Motorsports car only needed one more stop, while the remaining cars needed two. This was our strategic advantage.
On lap 128, a Code 80 caution allowed the #48 to change strategy and was the key move of the race. This service moved the #48 into P6. This strategy change required a quick splash for fuel at the end but saved time overall due to changing tires under caution. P4 and P5 ahead needed a full-service stop, while the #48 was good to go to the end.
And this is what happened. Brian made his final, 10 second stop on lap 143. The remaining drivers had to stop longer, and Brian was able to jump the cars as they were serviced.
The final result was P4 for Brian and Jordy as the clock turned to zero. A great run for the team, overcoming multiple incidents and penalties that stood in their way.
Brian van Beusekom – “After qualifying 7th I was a little disappointed because the time I set was 4 tenths slower than my personal best. In my first stint, it was all about staying out of trouble and serving our penalties, which I think went pretty well. When I got back in the car for the final two stints my pace was pretty good and I was gaining time on the cars around us. Eventually, I ended up behind the Seawolf car who proved very difficult to pass. I lost a lot of time behind them which allowed the RGPL car to catch and pass me with the help of blue flags that I had for the race leader. After that, the battle with Seawolf ended with a contact after which we decided to pit. At the end of the final pit rotation, we came out in front of Seawolf and even in front of RGPL, who were close behind because I lost a lot of time-fighting Seawolf. The last 15 minutes I was pushing as hard as I could and managed to keep RGPL two seconds behind until the end, bringing the car home in 4th.”
Jordy Zwiers – “A great race from Brian. This time it was his turn to do most of the driving and he did a solid job finishing P4. After over a minute worth of penalties from the last race, we were over a lap down, but with our main title contender out of the race we were hoping to score as many points as possible, which in the end I think we did with P4 considering the penalties we had to overcome from the Suzuka race!”
2018 VLMS standings through race 5:
Simtech Motorsport: 55
Team RGPL: 54
3Wide Motorsport: 47