WSCC S4: Q1 Highlights!
As usual, each year CFS highlights the events of the WSCC season as they unfold. This year, we saw similar faces as well as some new ones, ready to take on the challenge ahead for the 4th season. The competition, especially in the prototype class has been closer than ever, creating some spectacular battles! In this article, we will cover the first three rounds of the season. Who was victorious, who ran into trouble and, who came out of 2020 with an advantage before we enter 2021 and Q2 of the season. Enjoy
Round 1: 3h Of Portimao > Watch it <
Portimao, a place that has held a soft spot in the hearts of organisers for many years. This beautiful circuit would host the first round of the 4th season. Elevation changes, blind apex's, deadly speeds, all mixed with the challenge of multi-class racing.
The GT3's took their maiden voyage for the year in a 15m frenzy to claim the first podium of the season. The teams took turns claiming pole position as the rubber began to settle, #87 Bros Racing Ferrari, as well as #13 GOTeam Corvette, were among the top running teams. It would be the #98 Luna Racing BMW that stole pole position away though by just 0.07 seconds. The top 11 teams all within 1 second of the pole lap.
The Prototypes were then unleashed, their V8's screamed as the cars accelerated onto the circuit limits. Eager to set the pace early on the #79 OnOff Racing Oreca put in a 1:29.9, enough to secure the top spot for some time before the teams settled in for the day. Familiar faces such as Black Hawk Racing and Team Rookie Monsters then began to push their prototypes to the limit, exchanging pole position each time they passed the finish line. Charlie.R for the #79 would join the fray after discovering a further 4 tenths and would occupy 2nd place with just 2 minutes remaining in the session, followed extremely closely by #06 Black Hawk Racing machine.
It would all come down to the final lap of the session, as the #06 claimed pole position with 40s remaining from M.Rekus and the #01 Rookie Monster car, only to be demoted by both the #01 & #02 as the chequered flag was flown! It was a front-row lockout by Team Rookie Monsters, with the gap coming in at 0.170 seconds, and the top 9 positions being separated by just 0.6 seconds, It was incredibly close!
The Grid begins its warm-up lap ahead of the first round of Season 4
Qualifying certainly set the tone for the first round of the season. Every second would count, every mistake could prove fatal. As the teams conducted their warm-up lap, the tension across the field could be felt by all those watching. Team-mates watched on as their colleagues awaited the announcement from race control, "Standby, Green Green Green!".
In a single moment, the grid burst into life, with every horsepower available that day, assigned to powering the rear wheels of these mighty machines as they dived down the hill into T1 and beyond!
T.Goya from GOTeam racing would make up x2 positions in sector 1 as #06 Black Hawk Racing car fell back, as did the #79 OnOff Racing team. The leading duo from Team Rookie Monsters would do enough to maintain the positions as the lap unfolded, M.Beavis making good use of the clear road ahead to gain an early lead against the pursuing pack.
The GT3 field dives into T1 for the first time!
In GT3 there was a flurry of changes in the mid-pack. The #91 Ferrari driven by Y.Gijsen being one to gain ground in the opening stages up into P5 in class. The #19 SIMCO Porsche would occupy P6 after the #73 ate too much kerbing on the run down to the hairpin of T5. The #69 RSA SimRacers Corvette also gaining ground further back in the order. Leading the way would be the #98 Luna Racing BMW driven by G.Bulat, followed closely by the #13 GOTeam Vette, driven by G.Verhelpen.
As the race began to unfold the classes mixed at the circuit of Portimao. Traffic management would now become a serious factor in deciding the winner, with others struggling to find a rhythm in this new environment.
As the prototypes fought through the traffic, the driver of the #02, L.Jeppersen went for a bold overtake on the #80 Porsche GT3 of Shattered Windshield Racing. Taking the outside line, the two would collide, sending the #02 off the circuit and into a spin. Thankfully, the #02 avoided the barrier and was able to continue, albeit in P5 in class as a result of the incident.
Splitting traffic & fighting for the lead of the race!
Better news would emerge for the #01 as they retook the lead of the race after the first round of pitstops. Ahead of the #01 was the #89 Bros Racing Oreca and the #07 GOTeam racing machine. On a charge, the #01 would swoop down the inside of the hairpin at T5 to claim 2nd place. Just up ahead, the leading #89 got caught behind a very wide Houdini Racing Bentley on the exit of T7. The Bentley stayed centre circuit, with the #89 opting for the traditional racing line on the right-hand side. Sensing an opportunity M.Beavis went to the left, splitting the traffic and going 3-wide before they all entered the fastest corner on the circuit! Having the inside line, the #01 would retake the lead of the race and, would set an unbeatable pace.
One hour of racing had just elapsed, the GT3's coming in for the first round of pitstops. The #98 Luna Racing was still firmly in command, however, further down the order battles raged on. The #26 Mennato Boffa SimRacing BMW was having a hard time holding off the #03 Ferrari from Team Rookie Monsters, who themselves were being chased by the #11 Corvette of TrackVR Racing. Separated by just a few tenths the trio of cars were inseparable as they completed lap-after-lap. Attempting to find time against his rivals, V.Boffa would rotate the rear wheels of him BMW, causing a minor loss of control. This small error would open the door for the #03 Team Rookie Monster Ferrari, with the #11 Track Vr Corvette following just a few laps later in the same corner.
The battle for 8th place rages on in the closing stages!
In the closing stages of the race, Battles in the GT3 field would escalate, with the #69 RSA Simracing Corvette going wheel-to-wheel with the #26 Mennato Boffa Simracing BMW. The two teams took turns in overtaking one another, usually resulting in paint being exchanged as they attempted to secure P8 in class. Looking on was G.Egervari in his bright green SIMCO Porsche, who would seize an opportunity on the run down to T5, taking both positions in one go!
At the same time and further up the road was the battle for P5 in GT3. A.Parkinson was pushing his corvette to its limits in the darkness to claim those few extra points. With 5 minutes remaining he had the #03 Team Rookie Monster Ferrari within his grasp. Firmly within the slipstream, A.Parkinson took the inside line and broke as late as he dared. Slowly down just in time, he claimed P5 for Track VR racing in the final minutes of this great race.
The #98 Luna Racing car would come across the line victorious in class after leading from L1, followed by the #87 Bros Racing Ferrari, #18 SIMCO Porsche in 3rd.
#01 coming home victorious at Portimao
In the Prototype category, it would be a victory for the #01 Team Rookie Monster LMP2, M.Beavis putting in a stellar performance to secure the top spot by over half a lap. Coming home in second was the #07 GOTeam racing car, another great race for them meant they started the championship in a strong position. In 3rd was the #79 OnOff Racing Oreca, some tough battles took place throughout their race, with some wise strategy and outright pace they were able to secure the final podium from some tough competitors.
What a way to start the championship. Extremely close qualifying results, close battles from start to finish in both classes. Great circuit, great racing. WSCC Season 4 had begun!
Round 2: 6h of Silverstone > Watch it <
For Round 2 of the championship, the teams visited the home of British motorsport. Silverstone would host the first 6h race of the season, which meant that double points were available for the first and only time of the 2020 part of the season.
GT3's once again took to the tarmac first, setting the best possible lap times in a variety of machinery. The #98 BMW of Luna Racing once again proved themselves the team to beat from the start, with G.Bulat holding P1 for most of the session with a 1:59.5. The rest of the field lined up behind in the form of the #69 RSA SimRacing corvette, who were able to keep the two SIMCO Porsche at bay. With the session over, only one car remained on the circuit on their final flying lap. The #13 GOTeam GT3 was on a strong lap and all eyes now rested on the footage visible from the roof of the car. Crossing the line the Corvette was thrown to the front of the grid as it posted a 1:59.02! A staggering time given the cold conditions. Prototypes next and everyone expected a good show after the previous show put on at Portimao. As before, teams took turns in claiming the top spot as the circuit became quicker. Fair Racing Team, OnOff Racing, Team Rookie Monsters, Black Hawk Racing, the list went on and on with teams that claimed the top spot. With 30 seconds remaining it was the #57 Fair Racing team on top, with the #01, #06, #89 and many more going for the lap of life. With the chequered flag flown, one-by-one, they all came across the finishing line. The #01 would claim the top spot for the prototype class with a 1.45.07, which was enough to beat the #02 sister car by just 0.001 seconds! If that wasn't close enough, the top 6 were separated by 0.061 seconds! Impressive driving from all the teams.
Prototypes begin the race in the rain
Moving onto the race and, disaster. A certain admin (Cough) forgot to remove the rain from the server after the forecast had changed to a dry race in real life. However, race control decided to go ahead with the race, with most teams then having to dive into the pits to change over to their wet compounds. Slightly embarrassing I must say. This, however, would prove to be an element of the race that would create some spectacular moments in WSCC history.
#77 Houdini Racing come into pitlane for a change of tyres
After a quick dash into pit lane, the field began to settle down in a somewhat different order. A new challenge presented itself, with the #01 going wheel-to-wheel with the #57 and #33 from the Fair Racing Team. The #57 led the attack, applying pressure to M.Rekus who was in charge of the leading #01 Rookie Monster car. Coming into Club corner, the two went side-by-side in the treacherous conditions. After some countersteering, the #01 went slightly wide on the exit, allowing the #33 driven by C.Gonzalez into 2nd place after 30 of racing.
#33 & #01 come together as the two fight for the lead!
It still was not over though, M.Rekus the driver of the #01 took 2nd place back from the #57 after the two Fair Racing Team machines switched places and, even clawed his way back behind the now leading #33. On the run down to luffield, the #33 went defensive, going as low as possible to deny M.Rekus the inside line. As they approached the braking zone, the #33 changed over to the racing line, with the #01 opting for the inside line. Sadly, contact was made as the #01's from wing clipped the diffuser of the Fair Racing Team's LMP2. The #33 slid into the barrier at speed, with the #01 receiving a 30 seconds S&G for the incident. The sister #57 Fair Racing Team prototype would retake the lead, followed by the #06 of Black Hawk Racing.
#19 SIMCO do battle with #87!
In GT3, the #18 SIMCO Porsche held a comfortable lead over the #98 Luna Racing BMW, with the #19 SIMCO doing battle with the #87 Ferrari from Bros Racing. Separated by just a second, the two teams lapped consistently, the gap changing only when traffic became an issue. After some tense situations, the #87 would enter the pit lane, taking an alternate strategy which would widen the gap, for now.
Just over two hours in and the rain had stopped! The game had changed entirely as a dry racing line began to emerge. The circuit, still drenched, would now provide two options to teams. Do they stay on the wet compound tires, or do they risk taking slicks but be forced to stay on that narrow strip of dry tarmac.
Luna Racing fight with the #18 SIMCO for the lead!
One team taking the risk of slicks was the #98 Luna Racing BMW. With A.Karkuszewski behind the wheel, the team gained ground against the #18 SIMCO Porsche and was now in a position to strike! Both cars flew out of Village, the BMW firmly in the slipstream of the leading Porsche as they approached Luffield. The BMW went to the inside, the car twitching left and right as the slicks searched for grip on the wet surface. As they entered the apex, minor contact was made as they fought over the dry racing line, with the BMW holding the inside line, they took the lead of the race in GT3.
Further bad news would strike the #18 as the Bros Racing Ferrari, driven by D.Erstling would also show strong pace in the changing conditions and, with just a few minutes before the halfway mark (when the first round of points would be awarded), the #87 would make its move as both entered the apex of T1, stealing that podium position when it mattered.
The #57 performing well in the drying conditions
In the prototype class, things had spread out considerably, with the #06 Black Hawk Racing car leading the race over the #07 from GOTeam racing by 10+ seconds. In third sat the #57 Fair Racing Team and just outside the podium positions was another strong performance from the #79 OnOff Racing team.
#04 Royal Blue Racing enter the pit lane a few seconds before the 3h Mark
Also on a strong run was the #04 Royal Blue Racing prototype. After running into issues at Portimao the team seemed eager to push hard at Silverstone to make up the points. Sitting in P5 the team had to enter the pits with just a minute before the 3h mark. The audience watched to see if the x2 Team Rookie Monster machines behind could steal the points while the #04 sat in pitlane. The #01 went past with plenty of time to spare, with the #02 exiting club with just a few seconds to spare. Coming across the line, P6 would go to the #04 by just a few tenths between the two! Very close indeed.
With the halfway point reached, Silverstone, descended into darkness for the remainder of the event. With rain still sitting off the racing line, braking points disappeared, creating a truly treacherous environment for those going around the circuit. As the casualties began to mount it became clear that silverstone was starting to show its sinister side.
#79 OnOff Racing fight in the darkness with #01 Team Rookie Monsters for 3rd
C.Rigo, driver of the #79 OnOff Racing LMP2 found himself in a bitter struggle for 3rd place which was held by M.Rekus in the #01 Team Rookie Monster machine. C.Rigo would make several attempts to take the remaining podium position from the #01, but M.Rekus defended the position brilliantly, placing the #01 in the right place, at the right time. Both came across the line separated by just a few tenths!
The #57, who had performed strongly, ran into an incident on the final corner which would ultimately end their race, allowing the #07 GOTeam LMP2 to secure their 2nd place finish for the second time this season, taking the lead of the championship in the process.
Leading in LMP2 was the #06 Black Hawk Racing Machine. They had kept out of trouble and changed tyres at the perfect moment. Pushing with consistent lap times in changing conditions meant they were able to increase the gap against the competition.
#13 GOTeam Corvette comes under attack by the #19 SIMCO Porsche
Moving over to GT3 the battle for P5 heated up as the #19 SIMCO Porsche attacked the #13 GOTeam Corvette. In the darkness, the headlights flickered and darted from one point to another as they closed together. An opportunity would present itself after G.Verhelpen attacked the kerb on the entry of Becketts, unsettling the corvette and sending it into a slide. Preventing it from developing into a spin G.Verhelpen countersteered, saving the car, but in the process lost momentum, allowing the Porsche through on the run down into Sector 3.
#98 Luna Racing coming across the line in their BMW M6
Coming across the line in 1st was the #98 Luna Racing BMW. Complications for the #18 meant they fell down the order after leading the race, who themselves would finish 3rd, with their sister #19 car coming home in 4th. Second place would go to #87 Bros Racing Team. They attacked during the night to take the second-best spot available for the second time in the season.
That would conclude the action at silverstone for the year, with the tables being changed significantly after the 1st and only double points round in 2020. What a race.
Round 3: 3h of Catalunya > Watch it <
For the first time in WSCC history, the calendar would visit the circuit of Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain. Famous for being on the formula 1 calendar, this circuit was a welcome addition to our roster of high-quality circuit thanks to the rf2 modding community.
The GT3's would once again put on a show as they vied for the top spot in qualifying. The BMW's of Luna Racing and Mennato Boffa SimRacing claiming the front row, their cars well suited to the circuit. Behind would be the Ferrari of Bros Racing, with the #18 SIMCO Porsche occupying 4th in class. During driver briefing driver had been told to stay off the green run-off area before T1, which sadly both the BMW's used and were therefore sent to the back of the grid. The #13 GOTeam Corvette ran wide on the exit of T3, who was also DQ'd and sent to the back of the order. This left the #87 Bros Racing Ferrari on pole position, accompanied by the two Porsches from SIMCO racing.
In LMP2 the #01 Team Rookie Monsters would claim their third pole position in what is so far an unbeaten streak. As always though close behind was a gaggle of cars ready to take advantage of any mistakes made during the race. Alongside for the start was the #06 black Hawk Racing machine, looking for their second win this season after a strong performance at Silverstone. #79 OnOff Racing were in third, with #57 Fair Racing Team on the second row in P4, the top 6 all posting times within 0.6 seconds of the pole lap time!
The field Enters T1 at Speed!
As the grid ran down towards T1 the #06 Black Hawk car opened the door to take the lead against the pole-sitting #01 machine. Also on a good start was the #66 Black Hawk car, demoting the #79 who occupied 5th at the end of lap 1.
The Luna Racing #98 fighting its way through the field
In GT3 there were minor changes in the mid-field, with the top 3 places stay the same. Further down the field though was the #98 Luna BMW that had its time deleted after qualifying. On a mission to gain ground quickly, G.Bulat went on an overtaking frenzy. Utilising the dense traffic in the first few laps, G.Bulat made it into the top 10 out of a grid of 22 GT teams, very impressive. Some bad news would strike the #111, which was a new BMW entry for Mennato Boffa SimRacing, colliding with the #88 Bros Racing Ferrari at the start and losing a wheel as a result. The car would make it back to pitlane, but several laps down from the competition after repairs.
The leading LMP2's Splitting traffic one more at the final corner.
As the LMP2's caught up with the GT3's for the first time it began to impact the pace of the front runners. The leading Black Hawk #06 found itself stuck behind some GT traffic as it entered the chicanes. Opting for the outside line, it proved to cost more time than intended. Ready to pounce was Team Rookie Monsters in their #01 prototype, splitting the traffic to take the lead of the race.
the prototypes entered the pits for the first time, causing a flurry of changes in the order. The #79, opting to double stint their tyres took the lead of the race over the #06 & #01 chassis. A fierce battle ensued as the three teams battled for the top spot. As they entered the final chicane, the #01 went for the inside, making minor contact with the leading #79. The Black Hawk #06 took advantage of the situation, setting the car up for a strong exit onto the main straight, taking 2nd place in the process.
Battles for P4 between the #18 (left) #08 (centre) & #11 (Right)
At the same time in GT3, there was an ongoing battle for P4 in class. The #19 SIMCO Porsche was under attack two corvettes from Mennato Boffa SimRacing & TrackVR Racing. Staying in tight formation the #08 made several attempts to overtake the green car ahead, but with some strategic placement, was able to defend the position. Trying to open as many doors as possible, the #8 corvette went for a bold overtake into "Wurth". riding the kerb, the car became unsettled, tapping the Porsche at the front, which sent the car into a slide. Unable to avoid the chaos ahead, the #11 Tracks VR car arrived on scene, sending the #08 into the barrier at speed.
Fighting for 2nd place in the final laps of the event!
In the closing stages of the event, the fight for the lead continued. Three teams entered the final phase with a shot at claiming the overall victory. The OnOff Racing #79 entered pitlane from the lead with 5 minutes remaining, a short splash & dash to before re-entering circuit limits for the final time. As the car got back underway, the #01 and #06 Oreca's flew down the main straight, claiming 1st & 2nd respectively. The #79 would gain ground on the #06 in the final few laps, coming home with just 0.5 seconds between the two teams!
In GT3 a similar fight for 2nd was taking place. During the event the #98 had amazingly worked its way back up the order and into the lead, leaving the #87 Bros Racing Ferrari to do battle with the #18 SIMCO Porsche. The Porsche had the pace and attached itself to the rear bumper of the Ferrari. Knowing there would only be a single opportunity, B.Kiss searched left & right for a gap to open.
The battle for 2nd between #18 SIMCO Porsche and #87 Bros Racing Ferrari
The Ferrari, driven by D.Erstling, would present little chance for an overtake to happen though. Keeping the gap at a modest 4 tenths, it ensured that the 2nd place position would remain in the hands of the Bros Racing team as they crossed the line for the final time!
Catalunya certainly left a mark on WSCC. It provided all the aspects that one could wish for when you host an endurance race. We had battles down to the wire in both classes as well as several more through the rest of the race too!
Catalunya at night right at the end of the race.
As always, we cannot capture all the great moments in each of our events and, there was certainly a lot more that could have been included in this article. Either way, the first quarter of the fourth season of the WSCC has been spectacular, with many more great locations coming up to provide more great racing. Bring on 2021!
We hope you enjoy your Xmas holidays
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