[Rf2] CFS Petit Le Mans 2020 - The Build Up!
Ever since we went into lockdown the sim-racing world has exploded. People from all parts of the globe have bought equipment both new & old to partake in what can only be described as the only sport replicable in the virtual world. Two weeks ago, rf2 shocked the world with the first ever Virtual 24h Le Mans, gaining the attention of the motorsport world it was the first and potentially the only time that a virtual event would be provided centre stage on such a scale. As the world slowly returns to normality, CFS will host its annual Petit Le Mans to showcase the baby sister course of Road Atlanta in hopes we can once again highlight just how far sim-racing has come in recent months.
But what is PTLM you ask? Why am I only hearing about this now? Fear not, we have you covered there.
The Circuit & The Event
Stretching a mere 4km Road Atlanta comes in as one of the shortest circuits on the endurance racing calendar. Opened in 1970 it was used for the World Endurance Championship. Quickly the circuit earned a reputation for being one of the most difficuIt locations to navigate safely. The Petit Le Mans itself came into being in 1998 and was founded by Don Panoz as part of the IMSA Championship, holding it's place as one of the iconic events with the exception of 2004.
The track is fast-paced with elevation changes up and down the course to make things interesting. If that wasn't enough, the course is narrow, with overtaking opportunities hard to come by and just one available racing line throughout sector 1 and 3. Several crutial corners have blind apex's with little run-off available to compensate for any mistakes made. If a driver fails to recover, then slippery grass and steel barriers await them in quick succession, making this one of the true driver tracks left in the motorsport world.
If the teams are able to stay on the grey stuff, then they have only just won half the battle. There are three classes in this event, meaning that track space and positioning is a vital component to claiming the title. From start to finish drivers will have their concentration stretched to the limit as they navigate their way through dense traffic while setting consistent times. If this were Le Mans, the field would be spread out, but not here at PTLM as its guaranteed drivers will be forced to blend with other classes of car each and every lap!
Still not difficult enough? How about starting from early afternoon, the scortching hot sun baking the tarmac, blistering tires to the edge of adhesion. Then the sunset, temperatures begin to lower but the beams of light pierce the cockpit, blinding the driver as he ducks and dives through traffic. Then comes the night, plunged into darkness with nothing more than the headlights of your competitors to show you the way. Headlights flicker everywhere in the mirrors as drivers desperately attempt to identify the type of car up to their tail.
As mentioned before, Road Atlanta is but a mere 4km. However, those 4km are a harsh, relentless assault on the senses and mind. To endure this race for a full 10 hours and to come out on top truly is something to cherish, even if it is in our virtual world. The Teams & Cars Taking part in this race are experienced teams. They come from all over the globe with a wealth of experience, ready to share their knowledge to overcome the challenges ahead. Some have never been to RA before, others have had the honor of claiming victory, or close to it. Some have come to go one step further than the previous year, others to defend what they have already claimed.
Whatever their reasons, they wont be let off lightly. Victory here is only something that hard work, dedication and experience can achieve. Each will be presented with their own set of tasks, each will have a different experience, but what classes are taking part and how do they differ from one another? LMP2
Defending their crown the #01 Black Hawk Racing Team is good to go.
The prototype class is the fastest of all three classes. It has a 600hp twin turbo V6 encased in a carbon fibre monocoque. The bodywork is developed and designed to cut through the air with maximum efficiency, creating downforce that very few vehicles can match.
While being the fastest class, it also has the fewest participants, reserved & retained for the most experienced of teams to ensure that the top participants carry with them the experience required to navigate through the many challenges they will face during the course of the event. Being the fastest class on track means drivers will need to read and adapt at breakneck speed, Opportunities will come & go in the blink of an eye as lap times will come in at just over 1 minute! Overall victory will be decided by decisions made in those split seconds, the ones who adapt and know when is the right time to pass will be the ones who reap the rewards.
Claiming victory in 2019, the #04 Team Rookie Monster Corvette will defend it's title.
Some of the fastest production cars on the market. Companies flaunt their best to prove to the world that their vehicles are the fastest in their class. The GTE category is also home to a diverse mixture of talent and teams. Each one customised to reflect their team colours as they hope to bring their vehicle home. Porsche, Corvette, BMW and a few Aston Martins all line up side-by-side in this deadly dance in hopes they will be crowned king this year. Being the "Piggy in the middle" is certainly an interesting position to be in. Having been there many times myself, it forces the driver to concentrate on what's ahead and behind all at the same time. Road Atlanta will provide little respite for those looking for peace of mind as the GTE's will come up against slow moving GTC's as well as being assaulted by the numerous Prototypes vying for track position.
HYDR racing once more ready to defend what was theirs from last year. The #09 ready to do battle!
The Flat 6 GTC's are the slowest class available for this years PTLM. Though, don't take that as a sign that they are the most boring to drive. They have no ABS, no Traction Control and a ton of power to push the Porsche off the apex of the corners. Drivers will have their hands full as they wrestle the car into submission while having their eyes glued to the side mirrors.
As the tires become worn the threat of locking up will become a real danger to this class of car. Management and overall health of the tires will be a key factor in being able to post consistent lap times to extend that lead over the competition.
Whatever class you think is best, they will all have their work cut out for them. There is no easy road to victory at PTLM and that is why so many keep on returning each and every year to take her on! Take a look at the list of team and drivers taking part in the race!
As part of our 2020 efforts and in response to the pandemic that is affecting our world, CFS will be supporting The Trussel Trust this year! All of the entry fee's collected for this event will be forwarded to the charity with hopes that we can also raise awareness & further support during the live stream to help those in need.
The Trussel Trust have a nationwide network of food banks and together they provide emergency food and support to people locked in poverty, and campaign for change to end the need for food banks in the UK. They support more than 1,200 food bank centres in the UK to provide a minimum of three days’ nutritionally-balanced emergency food to people who have been referred in crisis, as well as support to help people resolve the crises they face.
Help us raise funds on the day by donating either directly to the Trussel Trust website, or via our justigiving page. Trussel Trust Website: https://www.trusselltrust.org/what-we-do/ Our Just giving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/chequered-flag-simsports
Whether you donate or not, we hope you enjoy this years PTLM with us here at CFS!
Watch last years race (2019) @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FocnVenZp0U&t=40198s Tune in live on: Saturday 27th June 2020 10:45 BST (GMT+1) https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPHly3PiaHFQtx9wrWMw-lw/live Stay safe and have fun! Cheers CFS