[WSCC] Season 4: Q2 Highlights!
After a long xmas break, it was finally time to continue the fight for the 4th season of the WSCC. There is only one true way to reignite a championship, and that is to visit the legendary circuit of Spa Francorchamps. With every corner of the historical circuit drenched in heritage, it would be down to the teams & drivers to add a slice of history, and boy did they do just that.
Round 4: 6h of Spa-Francorchamp
Live stream above
As always, the GT3's would be the first to venture onto the circuit as qualifying began. After such a long time away, we did not know what to expect. Which chassis would suit the circuit? Who had done their homework during the xmas holidays. It was time to find out.
Straight out of the box the #13 GOTeam Racing corvette was quick along with several other corvettes, the american sports car well suited to the belguim environment. RSA Simracers, who hadn't had a great start to the season, were clearly ready to make up for lost ground, coming across the line with just 0.1s separating them and pole position. Despite their valiant attempts to stay on the front row, it would be the #29 Panica Gaming BMW who would claim 2nd place, joining GOTeam racing for the start. The championship leaders #98 Luna Racing would start P5, which would be the first time this season that they weren't on the podium at the end of qualifying, still, this was a 6 hour endurance event, so i doubt they were too concerned. As the LMP2's entered the circuit, a lonely GT3 in the hands of B.Spoljaric for GOTeam racing completed the final flying lap. Setting purple sectors it appeared to be a display of speed as they come down into the bus-stop chicane. Coming across the line they would find an extra 0.5 seconds! Seeing an impressive time of 2.13.8 to secure pole position by just over half a second. A strong performance.
The prototype grid entered the circuit for the first time in 2021. Expecting another tight qualifying session we buckled in for the duel between the top teams. Team Rookie Monsters led the pack wanting to get that clear air, with Black Hawk Racing & OnOff Racing close behind. The #01 Team Rookie Monster car, driven by M.Rekus would set the first solid lap time of the day, which was soon demoted by the #06 Black Hawk Racing Oreca with a 2.00.4.
As the #06 was on a further lap though, the #06 was disconnected from the server, denying them of developing further in the closing stages. On hand to step in though was the #66 sister car driven by C.Kiss, setting a very impressive time of 2.00.021, which secured pole position ahead of the #01 Team Rookie Monsters 2.00.1. The #79 OnOff racing car would come home 3rd, just 0.183s off pole, beating the #06 who would settle for fourth (After reconnecting to the server). The RACE
The #06 Climbs Eau Rouge ahead of the other teams
The cars lined up side-by-side once again, the race director waiting for the cars to enter the start/finish straight. As they approached the chequered line, the start of the race was announced. Green Green Green! The field erupted into life as the LMP2's raced down into T1, both Black Hawk cars covered the flanks as M.Rekus took the lead entering La Source.
The #79 & the #66 collide at the bottom of Eau Rouge on the first lap
Just behind was the #06 BHR who qualified 4th, who in turn #79 OnOff racing car alongside for company. Both cars were neck-and-neck on the approach to Eau Rouge, the #06 on the outside and close to the barrier! Both cars would make contact, with the R.Yakubovich, driver of the #06, being sent into the barrier at speed, putting an end to their race. C.Rigo would receive a 120 second S&G penalty for the early contact, placing them far down the field, with a long recovery drive ahead.
Simon Marshall goes off at Eau Rouge at speed into the barrier
Further issues occurred in the GT3 class, with S.Marshall & V.Freeman crashing at Raidillon. Despite efforts to get back to the pit lane and repair, they would both retire from the event after suffering extensive damage. After the incident, Code 80 was called by race control so that the cars could return to pit lane safely. The grid waited eagerly for the restart, with the #66 BHR prototype in front after retaking the lead on the opening lap. The Grid was released on the entry to Eau Rouge, with M.Rekus directly behind the leading car as they entered the Kemmel Straight. BHR would defend the position from the #01, but just one lap later, the #02 Rookie Monster machine would take the lead heading into La Combes!
Panica Gaming hold off several teams attempting to steal 2nd place
After a strong performance in qualifying, GOTeam racing were making good ground against the rest of the field in their corvette in GT3. Further behind in 2nd place was the #29 Panica Gaming BMW driven by A.Otreba, who were being pursued by 4 other cars, all within 0.5 seconds of one another. #69 RSA Simracers was sitting third, attempting to overtake on the run down to Eau Rouge, but the BMW team were able to retake the position on the Kemmel Straight. At the same time, the Championship leaders Luna Racing overtook the #18 SIMCO for P5 in class, who themselves had made significant gains since the start of the event.
As the hour unfolded the chain of cars gradually began to spread out, with the first to depart being the #08 Mennato Boffa SimRacing corvette after losing the rear up Raidillon in a big way. Amazingly, L.Russo kept it away from the barrier, saving the team from a potential DNF situation in the process. A similar fate would strike the #69 RSA Simracers corvette, with C.Tarboton deep in the slipstream of the #29 Panica Gaming car entering Eau Rouge, resulting in a huge episode of oversteer.
Luna Racing & Panica Gaming go wheel-to-wheel exiting La Source
Luna Racing would push on after overtaking the SIMCO Porsche earlier and found themselves doing battle with Panica Gaming for 2nd place. G.Bulat made several attempts to overtake, but some brilliant defending from A.Otreba would prevent the championship leaders from taking the position away. After several attempts by G.Bulat, he would finally succeed as both cars attempted to enter the pitlane simultaneously, allowing the #98 to get the favourable entry, taking 2nd place.
Royal Blue racing keeping Black Hawk Racing at bay
Entering the 2nd hour the #66 Black Hawk Oreca found itself under attack from the #04 Royal Blue Racing prototype, who were having their best performance of the season thus far. Taking fresh tires on the first pit stop allowed the Royal Blue car to apply pressure until they came into the pits from 6th in class.
#98 Luna Racing drop out of the race after hitting the #73 Rookie Monster Ferrari
In GT3 the championship leaders, Luna Racing, would run into a stationary car at the top of Eau Rouge. With nowhere to go and with no possibility of escape, the contact caused irreversible damage to the leading BMW, ending in retirement at the end of the 2nd hour. Ready to pick up the lead would be the #29 Panica Gaming BMW, followed closely by Luigi.R in the #08 Menatto Boffa Sim Racing corvette.
At the halfway mark of the race and with just minutes before the first round of points were awarded, the prototypes dived into the pits in hopes to enter the second half of the race in a strong position. Fighting down to the wire were the #02 Team Rookie Monster car, with the #57 Fair Racing Team LMP2 right behind. With just 2 minutes remaining, the #02 led the way into pitlane. The #57 parked just ahead of the #02, with fuel and tires being taken by both cars, it was extremely close to call. The #02 began to roll out of the box, the #57 right alongside as they both headed towards the exit. Cliff.V, driver of the #57 was on the outside line when he perfectly timed the pit limiter release button. The Fair Racing car sprung into life, taking 2nd place with just moments to spare, Robern.P settling for 3rd at the halfway point.
Beautiful Spa as the #88 Bros Racing Ferrari driving into the evening
With the sun beginning to set, it was a great moment to admire Spa-Francorchamp in all her beauty. The golden glow provided by a dwindling sun created some spectacular visuals as the cars danced across the Belgium circuit, before being completely plunged into the darkness of night. Despite the temptation to admire the scenery, the battles raged on in both classes.
The #08 has a moment at the top of Radilillon
Most notable of these battles was the battle for the GT3 lead, Panica Gaming and their BMW, slowly being caught by Luca.S in the #08 Corvette. Lap after lap, the #08 closed the gap to the leader and were in a strong position to take the lead. On the run down to Eau Rouge, Luca.S set the car up for the attack down the Kemmel Straight. However, entering Radilillon, the rear end would step out, sending the car sideways in a , losing time as a result.
Moving into second place would be the #18 SIMCO Porsche who was the fastest car on circuit at the time. They Locked onto the Leading BMW with 2 hours remaining, closing the gap at pace. As both cars crossed the start/finish line Milan.S attacked the inside line into La Source, taking the lead at Spa!
The #01 suffers technical difficulties with just moments to spare.
As the field dwindled in number, the leading prototype led by 5 seconds with Matt.B behind the wheel. The LMP2's would enter pitlane with just 25 minutes remaining, with the #57 Fair Racing Team giving chase as the sprinted for the chequered flag. A few moments after exiting pitlane the #01 would suffer a hardware problem at home, the gears changing rapidly without input. Matt.B would try to get the car home, but coming down to Pouhon, the car would skip from 4th to 1st gear, resulting in instant engine failure, followed by the #01's retirement. This turn of events would hand the lead over to Cliff in the #57 Fair Racing Team car, followed by the #02 Rookie Monster driven by Robert.P. With a comfortable lead it seemed certain that FRT would obtain their first victory of the season. However, on the final lap of the race, the FRT car would grind to a half with just 3 corners left! Cliff would report back to the team that he had suffered from a screen freeze, with no way of seeing where he was going to finish the race!
The #02 Rookie Monster LMP2 take their first victory!
As the FRT team tried to figure out a way to get the car home, the #02 RM LMP2 would take the lead and their first win of the season, Robert.P bringing the car home in an emotional moment for what was otherwise a dramatic event. In GT3 it would be SIMCO's first victory of the season in their green Porsche, hard work and consistency would pay off, with the #87 Bro's Racing Ferrari coming home a solid 2nd place with just 15 seconds between them.
With Spa now complete, she reminded us that the race isn't over until you cross the line that final time. What a way to enter 2021!
Round 5: 3h Of Mid Ohio
Live stream above
After visiting the Belgium hills, the WSCC went to Mid-Ohio for the first time in its history. Narrows tarmac combined with limited overtaking opportunities would certainly provide a unique challenge not found anywhere else, with teams somewhat intimidated by the task ahead.
Qualifying opened once again giving the teams an opportunity to dip their toes and find a rhythm. The circuit being so short meant that time were close in both classes, with the GT3 field once again being dominated by GOTeam racing in the #13 Corvette. Alongside for the start would be the #111 Mennato Boffa SimRacing BMW, with TracksVR Racing with Andrew.P rounding out the top 3. In LMP2 it would be extremely close once again with the #06 Black Hawk car claiming pole position by just 0.057 seconds! OnOff Racing came home 2nd best and the championship leaders in the #01 Rookie Monster prototype would settle for third just 1 tenth of pole.
The top three teams enter the first corner side-by-side!
With the grid starting between Turns 4 & 5 the grid prepared for another action packed start. After the announcement from race control the leading LMP2's sprinted for the first corner! BHR would be centre in a 3-wide approach into the braking zone, OnOff Racing and Mantas.R on the inside in the #01 RM car. Fighting through sector 2 Mantas.R would take the lead, with the #66 Black Hawk machine getting into 3rd as OnOff racing are put off-line while fighting for 2nd.
The #99 Alten Motorsport car gets caught up in an incident at the start.
In GT3 there was a huge collision in the mid-field as the #99 Alten Motorsport Corvette collided with the Bros Racing Ferrari on the straight. Though the Ferrari would continue without issue, the corvette was sent into the barrier at speed, resulting in a code 80 by race control. The #99 would attempt to repair the damage, but would ultimately retire after what was looking to be a promising weekend for the team.
On the restart it would be the #01 LMP2 that led the field into the Hairpin of T5 before shooting down the backstraight. However, with cold tyres the car went wide onto the grass, the most minor of deviations resulting in a loss of momentum and allowing the #06 Black Hawk car to take the lead.
With the classes mixing early on it became clear that the race was going to be one of patience and traffic management. Orders in both classes began to change as the multi-class element of the event impacted the teams. As the first hour came to a close it would be the #01 Rookie Monster LMP2 leading the race ahead of the #06 following just 6 seconds behind, the sister #66 car occupying 3rd.
The #13 led the GT3 field, chased by #11 TracksVR Racing
In GT3 the leading #13 GOTeam Corvette entered pitlane during a brief Code 80 after having some battles with the #11 TracksVR car. Entering the final corner the #11 would attempt an overtake on the outside line, a very ambitious manoeuvre. Braking late the car would touch the grass with the rear-left tyre, sending the vehicle into a spin and even entering pitlane in the process, losing several positions.
The #26 Comes out on top after a clean first half of the race!
A strong show from Mennato Boffa SimRacing as their #26 BMW made its way to the front, followed closely by several teams such as the #18 SIMCO & #87 Bros Racing Ferrari. Also fighting for position in the top 5 and chasing the podium was the #11 TracksVR Corvette as well as RSA SimRacers.
The #06 Leads ahead of the #01 before the final round of pit stops.
Entering the final hour of the race it was the Black Hawk #06 that led in the LMP2 class, with Robert.P giving chase with just a few seconds separating them. Also in with a chance of victory was OnOff Racing in the #79 who occupied 3rd in class. All three would conduct their final stops with around 15 minutes remaining, all entering the circuit with just 5 seconds from 3rd to 1st. The #01 would lead exiting the pitlane, Mosaab.A in the #06 Black Hawk machine and Charlie.R in third.
The #01 Makes a bold move onto the inside of the Carousel, resulting in contact
With traffic being so dense the #06 attacked lap after lap in an attempt to reclaim the lead. Robert.P defended beautifully, parrying the strikes at the right moment. With just a few minutes remaining, the #01 would collide with the #11 TracksVR racing machine who was fighting for position. This would result in a +5 second penalty post race for the #01 who would finish in 3rd as a result. Taking victory then would be the #06 Black Hawk Racing prototype, their second victory of the season.
The #26 comes home victorious, another new victor this season!
In GT3 it would be a new victor in the form of the #26 Mennato Boffa Simracing BMW. Keeping their nose clean and executing their plan to perfection they would come home with an advantage of just 2 seconds over the #18 SIMCO Porsche, propelling the team into the top 10 in the overall standings. A strong result for the #18 SIMCO, showing the teams consistency as they add yet another 2nd place this season, Balas.K bringing the car home.
Lap after lap TracksVR Racing attacks Bros Racing for 3rd
Also fighting across the finish line was the #87 Bros Racing Ferrari and the #11 TracksVR Racing Corvette. They had been vying for the final podium position for 15-20 minutes, Colin.S attacking lap after lap. They would both come home within 1 second of one another, displaying just how close the competition is this year as we enter the second half of the season.
Mid-Ohio certainly taught us some lessons, changing from the wide roads of Spa to these tight & technical hills was certainly a challenge for the teams. Having said that, it forced teams to adapt & overcome the challenges of traffic management like never before while providing close, competitive racing. An excellent event at a brilliant venue.
Watkins Glen: Round 6.
Live stream above
The high-speed circuit of Watkins glen would host round 6 of the series. With double points available along with plenty of overtaking opportunities meant many teams were eager to get underway. GT3's began their 15m frenzy as qualifying received the green flag and, as always, it would be a close fought battle for pole position. The #13 GOTeam Racing Corvette would claim pole position by just 0.2 seconds over LUNA racing, who themselves were followed by the #18 SIMCO. Rounding out the top 5 were two of the Mennato Boffa SimRacing machines.
LMP2 was just as close with several changes occurring before the chequered flag was dropped, the #06 Black Hawk Racing car topping the charts. Alongside in 2nd would be the #57 DSG Motorsport team, formally Fair Racing Team as they displayed their new colours for the first time. Sitting in 3rd would be the #02 from Team Rookie Monsters and, rounding out the top 5, #33 DSG Motorsport and #04 Royal Blue Racing.
The teams begin the warmup lap, ready to take on the 6 hours of the Glen
The Glen waited patiently as the grid formed for the task ahead. As the warm-up lap began, tyres were heated, brakes were primed and drivers waited for the announcement from race control. Green Green Green!
A fight for 6th ends badly just a few minutes after the start
As the grid climbed the hill for the first time the #33 LMP2 would make early gains into 3rd behind their teammates in the #57. In GT3 LUNA racing would take the lead after winning the drag race against the leading #13 Corvette into the bus stop. Action would continue down the order as after just 5 minutes of racing there would be a big incident on the Inner Loop between three GT cars going 3-wide.
DSG Motorsport lead in their new Paint Scheme
Further troubles would strike the #13 GOTeam GT3 as well as the #06 Black Hawk LMP2, both cars entering the pitlane within the first hour and therefore losing several positions in the process. In the prototype class, it would be DSG Motorsport leading the way, followed closely by OnOff Racing in the hands of Charlie.R who had made up several positions since the start.
The #33 DSG LMP2 would make several attempts to demote Charlie.R to 3rd place at the start of the second hour, the #79 double stinting their tyres which led to a lack of pace. Max.S was behind the wheel of the #33 and would give chase for a good 20 minutes before opening the door at turn 8. Using the GT3 traffic he would pin OnOff racing behind the slower car, allowing the #33 to move up into 2nd place.
GOTeam Racing & Luna Racing exchange 1st place throughout the event
Simultaneously in GT3 it would be a battle between Luna Racing & GOTeam racing for the lead in class. The teams would exchange positions several times during the laps, both goings side-by-side for pretty much the entire lap. The battle would only end when the #13 entered pitlane, their strategy slightly different due to an incident at the start of the race.
#03 Rookie Monster GT3 holds off the #29 Panica Gaming BMW at the 3h Mark
Several other battles would take place up and down the order before reaching the halfway mark of the race. With points being awarded at the 3h mark it would be the #29 Panica Gaming BMW chasing down the #03 Rookie Monster Ferrari. The two teams had been fighting for at least an hour as their tactics came into play and, the #03 would be ahead by just 0.3 seconds as the 3h mark was reached, securing P5 as a result.
Just after the halfway mark the #57 would retire after suffering technical issues. A sad day in what was turning out to be the teams first victory for this season. The sister car, the #33 would remain out on circuit and fight for podium positions before running into issues themselves. DSG would come home a respectable P5 at the chequered flag.
The #01 Leads after the #57 runs into technical difficulties
As darkness fell onto the circuit of Watkins Glen it would be the #01 Rookie Monster machine leading ahead of the #06 Black Hawk prototype. Robert.P would put in some excellent stints to extend the lead up to 25 seconds at the final pitstop. They would come home victorious at the chequered flag. The #06 would come across the line 14 seconds behind, a valiant attempt to catch the leading LMP2, but still not close enough. In third would be the #79 from OnOff Racing. Nicolas.L bringing the car across the line.
The #13 Crashes in the final hour while leading, resulting in extensive damage
GT3 was dominated by the #13 GOTeam racing corvette who had recovered brilliantly from an incident at the start of the event. Leading the field by a large margin and expanding the gap over the #98 Luna racing car victory seemed certain. Sadly, however, a rejoining BMW would collect the #13, causing substantial repairs. the #13 would still emerge in P2, but carrying damage the #87 Bros Racing Ferrari would come within half a second and apply pressure onto the damaged corvette. With just a few minutes remaining, the #13 would barely hold onto 2nd place, the #87 settling for the last podium position.
Luna Racing take home victory at the 6h of the Glen!
With the race now over, it would be the #01 that would extend their championship lead, the next rival being OnOff Racing who finished 3rd. After Round 6 it would still be the #87 Bros Racing Ferrari retaining their championship lead, with #18 Team SIMCO in 2nd after what was a bad afternoon at Watkins Glen for the team. Luna Racing close the gap after claiming 50 points but, would still have allot of work to do due to two retirements at Spa & Mid-ohio.
Entering the next phase of the championship, what will await the teams and drivers? The circuit of North & South america lay ahead, but, who will adapt to the challenges and claim the WSCC trophy? Only time will tell.
Thanks for reading.