– It’s time to hit the historic stretch of the VEC calendar. Sebring is the first stop of that journey. This remote Army airfield has played host to sports cars and endurance racing since 1950, returning the action to the runways after the end of World War II. The track history is rich, and past race winners are immortalized along the front straightaway. This 3.65-mile track is one that will break cars, its rough and bumpy nature laying waste to even the strongest cars. Can we endure for 12 hours?
Our SimHQ Motorsports #121 Oreca 07 placed 8th at Estoril last month, driven by bad beat after bad beat, none of our making. Will our bad luck ever leave? That’s a question for another race report, unfortunately.
Team Managers: Greg Hall and Jon Uyan
Drivers: Jon Uyan, Nic da Silva, Brian van Beusekom, Greg Hall
Engineer: Brian van Beusekom
Sebring marked a return of private qualifying. For the drivers, this means 45 minutes of hot laps to nail your best times, with no obstructions! Armed with a fast driver and a fast setup, Greg nailed down P2 on the grid. Front row parking!
From P2, Greg had a good view of the race start. This was the brightest moment of our race!
Greg served our legacy drive-through penalty from Estoril on lap 5, dropping immediately to 9th place. So, as we say, the hunt is on. Killing the gap lap after lap was the aim, and on lap 21, Greg was immediately behind the DHR #18 and Push Rod Racing for the position.
On lap 22, everyone entered the pits. DHR slowed up very early for the pit lane, and the chain reaction collision damaged DHR, Push Rod, SimHQ Motorsports, and Idos Racing! It was something straight out of rush hour traffic. With a slightly damaged car, Greg soldiered on. Greg passed DHR on lap 33, pushing our car back into P5.
Lap 44, Jon took over. The pit stop took us to P8 due to repairs from the prior pit incident, differing tire strategies, and TeamRGPL catching a lucky code 80 pit stop. Jon would soldier on in P8 for a while, holding the gaps to the cars in front and behind. A screen freeze caused a spin, quite a fright, but thankfully no damage was incurred.
Lap 84 saw Brian hop into the car. Brian sat in the car for four straight fuel loads, about 2.6 hours! Epic! Unfortunately, he was “gifted” a rest by rFactor 2, which chose to boot him from the server in the strangest manner, just before his second pit stop.
Once he rejoined on lap 123, we were in P8, 3+ laps behind P7.
With this disappointing development, we would spend the rest of the race killing this gap. In the interim, lap 157 would find Swedish Simracers with a DNF, allowing us to move into P7 at that time.
On lap 165, Brian handed the car over to our cheery Aussie, Nic. The goal was to hunt down Idos, still 3+ laps ahead. Nic powered down through a double stint. When he turned the car over to Greg on lap 205, the gap was 2.5 laps. Greg pressed on to lap 247 with another double stint. By this time, the gap was about 2 laps.
Nic threw down the gauntlet on another double stint, clocking the laps in. Lap 288 was the point in time, and Greg hopped back in the car, 1.5 laps behind Idos. Greg had an eventful double stint to put time in, including a spin after contact while attempting to catch a lap back from Magenta Warriors. Greg eventually caught and passed Magenta again, earning a lap back from the car that held P4 at that time.
Greg turned the car back to Nic on lap 329, with just under 1 lap of a gap to Idos when he returned to the track.
Nic pressed. And pressed. Lap after lap, we saw the gap shrink.
On lap 372, however, Nic had a spin in T13 and a GTE impacted his right front. With that damage, the car was slower, and the gap stopped shrinking.
In the end, P7 was ours, about 30 seconds short of P6. We spent 7+ hours trying to kill that 3 lap gap, and to come up short, well that hurts. One of these times we won’t have these game glitches, as the disconnection took us out of contention for the podium. It’s frustrating, but we love this hobby.
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 for Sebring.
ReBorn Racers 104
Team Magenta 95
Team Spirit Racing 1 73
Push Rod Racing 50
SimHQ Motorsports 43
Idos Motorsport 38
Swedish Simracers 30
Doug Henson Racing 30
Next: Race 7 returns to Europe, to that big island off the shore. Silverstone is the place. April 6th is the date.