– After the rush of excitement from scoring a podium in the last round, the most junior of the three SimHQ Motorsports entries in this season of the VEC suffered a race to forget but pushed through and came out with some valuable experience.
Due to having racing commitments in another series, the team was much less well-prepared than normal, and was still doing the Dangerous Dance of Setup Indecision the night before the race.
Blazej Myszk has clearly been given the qualifying hat this season and proved his mettle once again, putting the car in 5th position despite the dubious preparation mentioned above.
This was the best starting slot of the season so far, and will serve as notice to fans and rivals that the squad is not just making up the numbers. Further evidence of their potential came with news that Myszk was almost immediately on the radio complaining that he would have been in 3rd position had he managed to string all of his sectors together!
Overall, the Division 4 grid competition continues to thrill, with positions 3 to 14 having just half a second covering them all this week.
The race began with continuing tension among the front-runners, but Blazej had just found a bit of space to settle into his rhythm when, on lap 3, the #399 saw its race destroyed by a sudden technical failure (disconnect) that left the car nearly three laps down by the time it left the pits. Myszk showed a professional attitude immediately, however, by continuing to post lap times that were easily among the fastest on the circuit.
Over the next couple of hours, he also endured a few hairy moments and contacts from other competitors which lost the car more time for repairs. This included coming round Turn 1 and seeing a stranded car on the outside of Turn 2 which then began to reverse into the middle of the track. The #371 World of Simracing Am car not only picked a bad moment to extricate itself, it did it slowly and tried to line itself up on track rather than going rapidly across the track to a safer area first. Myszk was left unsure which way to go and contact was made.
The lead GTE was over five laps ahead by the time the #399 welcomed its second driver, James Andrew. In a brave and experimental move, he decided to take on the used tyres from Myszk’s final stint and keep them for two more. To say that this turned out to be a mistake would be kind. Although he made no serious errors, he was haemorrhaging time to the field ahead and, more importantly, being caught by the trailing #371, which was making a better attempt at a recovery drive after their own repairs.
Andrew eventually pitted and put on new tyres, at which point he was lapping at a respectable rate again. Unfortunately, the chasing car had smelled blood and was still creeping slowly closer.
Earlier tactical conversations having produced poor results, Myszk and Andrew now realised that they had to make a good call, and soon. Some maths was done, and as soon as the final pit stop window opened, Myszk, being the faster driver, was put back in the car, with Soft tyres for good measure.
Quickly proving to be the fastest GTE car on track at that time, he started reducing the lead that the #371 had gained while he was in the pits. When the World of Simracing Am entry emerged from its own final stop, Blazej had a comfortable lead and the means to protect it.
No points gained from a finishing position of 13th, but plenty of extra evidence that this car can do well this season, especially if they learn from their tactical decisions here.
Team 399 is currently in 5th place of 19 cars entered in the VEC Division 4 GTE Championship.
The next race is a big one! The 8 hour event at Sepang.