– Sepang Circuit, near Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, hosts round 4 of the Virtual Endurance Championship, dubbed the 8 hours of Sepang. This Hermann Tilke-designed circuit displays many of the designer’s well-known F1 features, including long straights into tight corners, fast sweeping sections, and designs that implement a sense of local culture, such as the trademark spectator stands between the two main straights.
Our SHQM #121 team comes off its strongest showing of the season, a 4th place at Interlagos. Greg wasn’t there, which explains a lot!
Team Managers: Greg Hall and Jon Uyan
Drivers: Greg Hall, Jon Uyan, Nic da Silva
Engineer: Brian van Beusekom
Sharing the track with 6 LMP3s, Greg and 12 other LMP2s hit the circuit, as temperatures rose and rubber accumulated. Greg set his fastest lap at the close of the 20 minute session, a 1:46.745, earning P3 on the grid.
P1 to P5 qualified within a half second of each other, and it showed at the drop of the green flag. Greg was immediately hounded by the Magenta Warriors #115 and Team Spirit, two teams new to the series for this round.
Due to a slip-up involving a cat and a computer mouse, Greg was passed by the two chasers, who set off to join the leaders. The pace gap back to P6 was measurable, and Greg settled into P5 for the foreseeable future.
The first pit stop occurred on lap 22, with Greg about 15 seconds behind P4. This gap would shrink to 3 seconds before the first round of pit stops, at lap 44, where Greg handed over the car to Nic.
As a result of the pit stop, our car dropped to P6, with Push Rod electing to go further on tires as an alternate strategy (spoiler alert: it didn’t work).
Nic plugged away at traffic and the gaps. Traffic was his worst enemy, and absolutely killed the times. Lap 88 brought our next driver change, from Nic to Jon. P5 remained our home, gaps of 30 seconds to P4 and nearly a minute to P6.
Jon took over in P6 (spoiler alert part deux!) and immediately passed Push Rod for P5. With us on fresher tires and ahead before the next tire changes, this proved which strategy was stronger. Jon would circulate in P5, with only a mild scare from lapped traffic to spook him. As per our strategy, 44 laps and done was the name of the game. Jon handed to Nic on lap 132, still in P5.
Did you come here looking for some action? Well, here’s your action! On lap 137, contact from an LMP3 spun Nic into a GTE headed into the Turn 9 hairpin. The result was light damage, time lost, and red mist from our pal down under. Understandable, as the contact was not necessary! Thankfully, the time loss was minimal, and did not disrupt our race.
Our next changeover was scheduled for lap 176. Nic, still in P5, was to hand off to Jon. A nasty technical issue occurred, and Jon’s rFactor 2 game crashed. For our luck, this happened just before Jon would take over the car. Nic was able to continue, as if nothing happened. Our hero. 🙂
End of race strategizing started at this point. It was decided to short-pit on Nic’s second stint, to get more time with fresh tires at the end. Greg took over on lap 210, only 34 laps after the last tire change. Magenta’s #125 was 40 seconds ahead, our only target for the race.
And here is where things got weird. Magenta;s #125 appeared to have multiple things go awry. A missed tire change. A missed tire change. Two trips down pit road in two laps to change drivers. The end result of all this? On lap 239, Greg pulled 30 seconds ahead of Magenta.
With fresh tires and Greg’s terrible luck with traffic and warping cars, Magenta closed the gap quickly. But was there enough time? By some miracle, no. The race’s end came on lap 252, and so did Magenta’s chase. The final gap? 12 seconds.
This makes two P4 finishes in a row. But you know our target is the podium, and perhaps a win. Division 2’s LMP2 field has gained so much talent over the past year, and we are fighting with every scrap we have left to make it to the top step. Stay tuned, as the four of us will always come out swinging.
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.
Team Magenta 75
ReBorn Racers 61
Push Rod Racing 38
SimHQ Motorsports 32
Swedish Simracers 30
Team Spirit Racing 1 25
IDOS Motorsport 18
Next: Race 5 moves to Europe, Portugal to be specific. On February 9th, Estoril will host the next 6 hour race on the calendar. Estoril is a shorter track, and the action will be hectic!