– The fourth round of the Virtual Le Mans Series takes the #199 SimHQ Motorsports Porsche 911 to Portimao, on the south shores of Portugal. Quite the hilly circuit, Portimao is strewn with elevation changes and tight corners, making handling in tight confines imperative.
Last time out, the #199, in the hands of Blazo, Brian, and Jon, finished in P8. Two points paying finishes in a row. Let’s make it a third!
Team Managers: Greg Hall and Jon Uyan
Drivers: Greg Hall, Nic da Silva
Engineer: Brian van Beusekom
Greg qualified with 21 other GTEs on the track, as the #199 Porsche 911 rounded the circuit. Difficulties with setup and driver talent resulted in a final lap time of 1:43.4, 16th on the grid, 1.2 seconds behind the leader.
Rain was in the forecast. Owing to that, Greg and Nic made a few strategy decisions that had massive implications to the race.
Greg left the grid P16, intending to go until the rain hit. This meant a slower pace to the rivals around our car.
Greg’s position on the grid would vary with lap to lap, as passes were made, offset by rival spins. Greg’s highlight was an overtake to retake P16 from the Texas Squadra Corsa car on lap 13.
Greg’s first pit stop, to refuel, occurred on lap 36. At the time of the stop, we were in P10. Afterwards, due to the strategy call, we held P6!
From this time on, our strategy, dependent on rain arriving, took hit after hit.
Within 10 laps of the pit stop, Greg was in P8. Another ten laps, and Greg was back in P10. Rain arrived at the circuit in real life, therefore Greg and Nic made the assumption the weather would not correlate to the simulation.
To stem the bleeding, the team elected to stop early, switching Greg out for Nic and fresh tires on lap 68, 4 laps ahead of schedule. P14 was our current station in life.
Lap 70 brought rain. Nic swore loudly. Greg even louder. Our first strategy call, which didn’t work, led to an improvisation that was mis-timed by two minutes! What a slap in the face. Nic had to pit again to switch to rain tires, the task in hand now to claw back from P14.
Due to our setup anticipating rain, this was in Nic’s favor. Nic progressed through the field, picking off car after car. Lap 90, 13th place. Lap 95, 10th place. Lap 105, 7th place. Lap 109, 6th place. Progress, finally!
But that’s where it fell apart.
Midway through lap 110, Nic’s Internet connection failed. A mechanical failure of the worst sort in all of sim racing. We were stuck, dead in the garage, no avenue to retrieve the car.
Irony being its cruelest in this, the cruelest of races to us. the #199 finished 16th in class. Circling back from the start to the finish, it’s the final slap in the face.
Finishing where we started is depressing, to say the least. Potential existed to post points, and that fell by the wayside. All we can do is pick ourselves up, move on, and aim higher next month.
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.
SimHQ Motorsports continues with 14 points after four races. The points leader, HYDR eSports, has 87 points.
Next: VLMS Race 5 moves to the site of the classic Le Mans circuit, to run on the short Bugatti layout. February 23rd is the race date.