Introduction

– Circuito do Estoril, located on the Atlantic coast of Portugal, hosts round 5 of the Virtual Endurance Championship. The 6 hours of Estoril is hosted on this tight and treacherous track, with 2.6 miles of slow corners, dangerous armco, and a long front straightaway that allows for slipstreaming. F1 last came here in 1996, however VEC takes over the track and its modifications for safety that have been instituted since the early ’90s.

Our SimHQ Motorsports #121 team has scored two 4th place finishes in a row, at Interlagos and Sepang. Hope is to improve on this, and finally step up on that podium.

Team Managers: Greg Hall and Jon Uyan
Drivers: Jon Uyan, Nic da Silva
Engineer: Brian van Beusekom, Greg Hall

Qualifying

In a new twist, VEC utilized private qualifying during this weekend’s festivities. This means a clear track to extract your best lap times, but also a lack of urgency and strategy that makes qualifying… fun. Nic managed to put the car 4th on the grid with a 1:21.282.

Starting 4th - as good as it was going to get at Estoril

Race

Starting in 4th, Nic entered an intense battle with Swedish Sim Racers. Team Magenta, the prior owner of P3, would serve a penalty, leaving Nic in P3. The drivers were quite equal, and lapped traffic would be the determining factor. Rickard Norgren slipped into P3, Nic to P4. But nary a second would separate the drivers over the first 20 laps of the race.

On lap 22, however, this battle would come to a screeching halt. On entrance into T1, a GTE driver missed their braking marker and slammed into our Oreca P2 at mass speed. The damage was done. To the pits, our stricken car went, and the repairs took 5 laps. Once again, our car was at the bottom of the order, and not of our doing.

Crash number 1 at Estoril

Only a half hour into the race, this rather unfortunate event turned our race into a fight to salvage whatever points we could get. P10 was our position, but attrition would accrue. Swedish Simracers would have a failed driver swap, and Revolution SimRacing appeared to have massive damage. In addition, InSped ran into issues on the track, but much like us was able to continue. Add all these mess-ups, we sat in P7, 2 laps behind TeamRGPL in P6. Waiting for others misfortune was our best opportunity.

But (there’s always a but, isn’t there), misfortune found us again. Lap 122 found a LMP3 losing control, exiting T6. It came to a stop on track, perpendicular to the flow of traffic. Two GTEs ran into this car at full speed, and our Oreca 07 was bounced into the Armco. This required our car to leave the server, as the Armco would not release its hold on the car. 8 laps lost to this incident, and we were sitting back in P8.

Crash 2 at Estoril

After all this heartache, P8 is where we would finish. Sometimes, races just don’t go your way. This was one of those times. All we can do is dust ourselves off and come back, once again stronger due to the trials that have preceded us.

A big thank you to P1-Media for their support, along with Champion Motorsports and The Crew Chief. We at SimHQ Motorsports are proud to have these great sponsors along with us through the season.

The race chart tells the tale. Like the sister SHQM car in D3, the vertical spikes ruined the day.

Race chart for car 121 at Estoril

Points

Team Magenta 90
ReBorn Racers 86
TeamRGPL 67
Push Rod Racing 50
Team Spirit Racing 1 43
SimHQ Motorsports 35
Swedish Simracers 30
IDOS Motorsport 28

Next: Race 6 crosses the Atlantic, taking us to Florida for the historic 12 Hours of Sebring. March 9th is the date.