With Petit Le Mans just a distant memory for those that competed, round 4 of the Apex Online Racing GTE league would see us spending 80 minutes weaving our way through the flowing twists and turns of the Road Altlanta circuit in North America. Chatting with Ben Warren before the race, neither of us had competed in PLM (I was in Spain, Ben was doing Ben stuff)… also, neither of us had done any practice at all and both dislike RA anyway… so yeah, probably not going to go to well for TBR at this one. Just to recap, Ben sits in 16th overall, 8th in the Pro/Am cup. Im in 15th overall, leading the AM cup with 3 wins out of 3. TBR are 6th in the team champs. So a lot to play for…
So Quali comes around, and its truly meme weather (I think that’s what the kids call it…) so lap times are in the .16’s as opposed to the 17/18’s of the official series. I throw in a satisfyingly quick 1:17:466 good enough for 24th of 27….. What? Man, this really isn’t going to go well…. Ben (now stating that he actually likes RA) slips in with a :16.5 for 15th with pole being a 1:15.2 Like I say, meme weather.
So Ive got 80 minutes to catch & pass Jake Towns (nearest rival) who’s up there in 19th and has done about a squillion laps this week with PLM and IMSA official races… Start goes OK, theres the usual first few laps of shenanigans and Im up to 18th, sadly, this would be at the expense of Ben who having climbed to 11th crashed out on L6. His quote in Discord – “Lasted 10 minutes, and now I hate RA again…” ☹
For me, the race was just another case of “try and hang on to the faster guys coat tails and see what happens.” Turns out that using the race as practice works ok, although Jake was having a decent run too and now some 15 seconds ahead of me. I came in to the pits after an hour of racing in 11th, and for the first time this season, seemed to get a perfect stop, coming out of the pits in 17th, but crucially just 3 seconds behind Jake. Unfortunately for me, a lap or so later the lead pack caught me in all the wrong places and after letting them through, I was around 9 seconds behind Jake and Sam Blackwood (also an AM driver). Sadly, 2 laps from the end Sam got tangled with a spinning Ford which lifted me to 13th and catching Jake, but without enough laps to make a difference, 13th is where I finished…
So overall, not a great race for either of us. I managed to maintain a decent advantage over the rest of the AM drivers in the AM cup, TBR stayed in 6th in the Team cup and Ben maintained 8th in the Pro/Am. Next round is Belle Isle, a track I don’t even own… so yeah, not sure if I’ll drive or not… we are allowed 2 drop weeks though….
Results are here.
The view from Soren Kruse is here.