– The penultimate round of the VEC season takes us and our competitors to Silverstone. This is our second event racing at a converted airfield, though you would hardly notice it from looking at the track design. Silverstone is a demanding track, with fast sweeping corners and esses that demand the utmost in aero efficiency, and slow switchbacks that require quick reflexes.
Last time out, our SimHQ Motorsports #121 Oreca 07 placed 7th at Sebring, driven by an errant disconnection. Perhaps we will have a better result this time?
Team Managers: Greg Hall and Jon Uyan
Drivers: Nic da Silva, Brian van Beusekom, Greg Hall
Engineer: Jon Uyan
Nic led the fight in qualifying for this round. He brought the thunder from down under, though unfortunately lightning did not strike hard. P6 was our spot on the starting grid, with a 1:43.4 posted to the time sheets.
Leaving the grid P6, Nic settled into an wise and calm early strategy. That is, we’ve been beset by bad luck constantly. For once, it would be great to get out of the first stint unscathed! Patience was a virtue, as others would be struck by bad luck in the early stages. TeamRGPL served a stop and hold penalty. Team Spirit was also hit with a drive through for track cuts. With that clean running, Nic found himself in P4, handing the car over to Greg on lap 42.
Soon after, Idos Motorsport and RevolutionSimRacing would also serve penalties for track cuts. Greg found himself in P2!
A short battle with Team Spirit for position would end with Anthony Jans destroyed by one of those “quality” rFactor 2 game freezes, effectively taking Team Spirit from competition.
Greg hit the pits during the resulting Code 80 on lap 57 for a free fuel fill. This put the car off cycle, but a free stop under caution is always worth taking advantage of. However, this will come into play later. Greg continued on, handing the car over to Brian on lap 78, still in P2, about 40 seconds behind the lead ReBorn Racers car, and 30 seconds ahead of Idos Motorsport.
Brian brought the car along cleanly and with speed to lap 120, where he handed the car back to Nic. It was at this point that Idos managed to leapfrog us with a faster pit stop! Nic settled in behind the joystick man, Lazaros Filippakos, and the hunt was on! Nic was on Lazaros’ tail from that first pit stop until lap 144, when Filippakos made a mistake in Copse. Nic slid by, and extended the gap to 10 second for the next driver change, from Nic to Brian, on lap 163.
By the way, have I mentioned how difficult it is to pass here!? Brian now knows the pain.
Brian, on fresh tires, immediately got stuck behind RevolutionSimRacing, a car that was on 30 lap old tires. And. Could. Not. Make. A. Pass. Mind you, the tires on these cars drop off fast, and the aero wash and instability is insane. So on a high-downforce track like Silverstone, you need some assistance to get close and make a pass. And props to RSR, they did not make that mistake. It took until lap 176 for the RSR car to pit, and then Idos was able to pass us on lap 180. P3 it is, for the time being.
Lap 184, and Brian made his first pit stop. Unfortunately, the stewards caught us speeding, and that turned into a 10 second stop and hold penalty! Not good. This effectively brought the gap to P2 Idos to 50 seconds, making P2 a difficult achievement. Our focus turned to preventing P4 RSR from passing us.
Do you remember lap 57, when Greg stopped on the Code 80? Well, that threw us off the pit cycle. This meant we needed to stop one extra time, for 8 laps or so worth of fuel. RSR didn’t need that stop. We knew we needed about 40 seconds of clearance to beat RSR.
Lap 210, and Brian threw the car at Greg, to take it the last 2.4 or so stints. After RSR pitted, Greg was only 20 seconds ahead of RSR, which had fresher tires. Greg pushed, lap after lap, to extend that gap.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. After the last pit stop on lap 254 to add that splash of fuel, we were 20 seconds behind RSR. And that’s how it would finish. P4.
Missing the podium hurts. I thought we had this one, but it was not to be. What we will do, however, is throw everything we have at Le Mans. It’ll be a grueling 24 hours, and it will be worth it.
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 Silverstone.
ReBorn Racers 129
Team Magenta 95
Team Spirit Racing 1 73
Push Rod Racing 60
Idos Motorsport 56
SimHQ Motorsports 55
Swedish Simracers 38
Doug Henson Racing 30
Next: It’s the big one! The 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 2nd-3rd.