– Interlagos has been a regular stop for the Virtual Endurance Championship. The 4.2 km circuit has two sectors where you can easily overtake, but the middle sector is very tight. The weather forecast for the race is dry. The race will be in daylight conditions.
Cosimo qualified 7th position on the grid with a time of 1:20.1. Most LMP2 team times were compressed within 8-9 tenths of a second, a sign of a healthy and close competition in our Division.
The team decided on a strategy which distributed the load evenly across the three drivers, with stints of 2 hours each. Cosimo would start, then Tobias, then Don would finish.
Just a day before the race, S397 released an update which fixed the “tire swap” bug, so there would be no restrictions on driver/tire swaps.
Cosimo started the race from 7th position. Early in the race, Cosimo served a drive-through penalty that carried over from Race 2 NOLA for ignoring blue flags, which set us back from the class leaders.
Pace was steady and focused on preserving the car… but there was a scary moment in Cosimo’s final stint, when he experienced a 5 seconds screen freeze. Luckily, there was no contact with any other teams, and we were able to continue.
At lap 86 we did a driver swap to Tobias without changing tires. After the driver swap we were still 7th.
At the beginning of his 1st stint as Tobias was settling into a rhythm, he was caught off-guard by an early braking point of a LMP3 in turn 4. Two laps later he had a 3 wide moment on the back straight… another nervous moment.
After turn 4 he saw flashes in the mirror and he was worried he had done something wrong, but after watching the replay he realized that the GT was unhappy with the LMP3 car.
During Tobias’ 2nd stint there was another close call, as he trailed two GTE cars into turn 5-6. The two GTEs were fighting for 2nd in class, made contact and spun. Tobias was patient, and was able to avoid contact, but lost a lot of time. At lap 170 he handed over the car to Don. Still in 7th position.
During Don’s 2nd stint, we lost a lot of time behind a LMP2 that was off pace. Because we were 2 laps down, the other LMP2 didn’t receive blue flags, and Don was being extra cautious and not forcing a pass. It would have been easier for both if the other car would have let us pass. Don finished the race in 7th place.
After the race we agreed we had a stable setup and no problem with pace to follow most of the leading cars, but we had lost a lot of time by not making passes on slower cars in the 2nd sector. Although our “preservation” strategy did not yield a higher result in this race, we all think that is still the right approach at this point in the season. We prefer to lose some time being cautious to risking a penalty or worse, suffering heavy damage due to a collision.
Interlagos Race Chart
As reported previously, we will be sharing race data with other teams running LMP2 in VEC Division 3. Here is the race chart from Interlagos. Click the image below to view a larger version of the chart.
After two P3 finishes and the P7 here at Interlagos, SimHQ Motorsports #220 is now in 4th position in Division 3 LMP2 standings. Next up is the 8 hour race at Sepang.