DGFX Endurance Season 6 – Round 1 – 4hrs of Silverstone

As already mentioned here, DGFX is reputed to be one of the best Endurance series in the iRacing service, feeding the well renowned NEO it’s a series that gives the “lesser knowns” a chance at glory on one of the big stages.

In their wisdom, Team Buschfink Management had decided that for Season 6 a team of (and I don’t think anyone will be offended by this statement) “second tier” drivers (maybe third or even fourth tier in my case!) would be put in the Ferrari 488 GTE to represent TBR Green. So it was that Team Buschfink United Sweden consisting of Magnus Vallstrom, Andreas Olsson and myself would pitch up to Silverstone late afternoon last Saturday with the aim of surviving winning 4hrs against 59 crazies in cars from 3 classes. P1, P2 and by far the biggest class GTE split in to Pro and AM classes.

DGFX rules state that whoever qualifies the car must do the first stint, and since our 3 minute pre-race strategy meeting had decided that Andreas would start the car in the GTE Pro class, it was he that went out for the 15 minute open (GTE only) session. To his and everybody else’s surprise, the young man from Scandawegia stuck in an excellent 1:41.469 to qualify 12 in class. So the strat’ was that Andreas would do 1st stint, gain a ton of positions and hand over to me. I would lose them all and finally hand over to Mad Magnus who would drive like a crazed Banshee for the final 2hrs or so and gain them all back again….plus a few more with the aim of a top 10 final position. Sounds easy right (especially my bit) however all the best laid plans tend to go to shit as soon as the flag drops….

As it turns out, the plan went pretty well for the first 45 minutes or so. Andreas was driving consistently well and fast enough to gain several positions. Sitting in behind the Geodesic Racing Gold car of Roderik Wittenberg until the first Full Course Yellow (FCY) dropped. As I mentioned, our plan was to switch drivers at the end of the first stint…45 minutes was about 10 minutes early and we took the decision to do a semi-service on the car, just taking fuel but keeping Andreas in the car. This gained us a further 3 positions on track, placing us ahead of the cars we had been battling up to this point. Unfortunately, things started to unravel about 7 laps later when we got turned around at the T11 chicane by Roderik, dropping us back 5 places. Shortly after this at L41, a second FCY was dropped and the (with hindsight , poor…) decision was made to pit and take a full service and driver change.

So now I’m in the car… Caution ends after 3 laps or so and I manage a stellar 3 laps before a lazy spin drops us down to 15th. With Magnus whispering Swedish Gobbledegook in my ear I get my head down and manage to go the rest of my stint without incident, and whilst I’m probably running a second a lap or so slower than Andreas, I end up gaining a couple of spots. Whether this is due to my amazing driving ability, or the pit cycles will never be known….but let’s say it’s the former OK?

I think its fair to say, that Magnus is the quicker driver out of the 3 of us so hopes were bubbling under for a clean run to allow him to get up to speed and catch some places up. 4 laps later another FCY comes out… At this point, we are about 15s behind the car in front, but we have the GTE leader in between us. Race Control (RC) allow all the cars IN FRONT of the leaders a wave-by, meaning that they can pass the Safety Car and join the back of the queue, unfortunately for us this put us effectively a lap behind the car in front (you still following this?) Eventually, the FCY is lifted and Magnus gets in to his stride, catching back up to the guys in front approx. 12 laps later until, guess what… another FCY drops. The timing is actually pretty good for us, Magnus pits and takes enough fuel to last the rest of the race and leaves the pits….

This is where the controversy begins. Under every FCY so far, when the pits have opened RC have announced that the pit exit is closed. This is to prevent cars leaving the pit and joining the pace-line mid-pack. Once the line passes, they announce pit lane is open and everybody leaves. In this instance, RC didn’t announce that the exit was closed. So Magnus, along with 15 or 20 other cars take their service and leave straight away…. Into the middle of the pace line. The net effect being that we (according to the post-race analysis by DGFX) gained 4 positions in the pace-line. The reality is… somewhat clouded. In the end, we came home in the same spot we started. P12. However we remained on the same lap as the GTE winners – Graphite Racing GTE, and just a handful of seconds behind the next 3 or 4 cars, however, the official results have yet to be published by DGFX, so this might change over the next day or so…

So all in all, I think we have a right to be a little disappointed by the result. We drove clean, consistent laps. Managed the traffic well and save the small spin by myself (losing about 30 seconds) and Andreas’s rear-ender (probably another 30 seconds or so) we would have been firmly in the top 10. Should we have stayed out when the 2nd FCY came out… yeah, probably, but hindsight is a wonderful thing and this is a learning experience for the 3 of us. Im sure we will take the lessons learned with us to Daytona for the 6hr race on November the 10th and promptly forget them…..

 

Congratulations to the (provisional) podiums in each class.

P1:

1st. SimXperience Element SimRacing Fire

2nd. Kinetic Racing #83

3rd. Scuderia REC //Unicorn

P2:

1st. Bad Cactus Racing Cholla

2nd. NOMAD Sim Racing HPD

3rd. Team Heusinkveld #111

GTE Pro:

1st. Graphite Racing GTE

2nd. GermanSimRacing GTE DGFX

3rd. Team Vikings – Ragnarok

GTE AM:

1st. PCDC Motorsports Red

2nd. Blacksheep Motorsports #323

3rd. AVA Vervatic #393

 

The unofficial/official results are here.

Coverage of the entire 4hrs by GSRC is here.

EDIT

The DGFX guys last night released the final results from the 4hrs of Silverstone. I’ll let Kyle Birnie explain:

“@everyone After much discussion and deliberation amongst myself, Ed, and the Competition Committee we cannot sit back and do nothing about what happened during the 2nd to last FCY especially since more than 1/2 the field at the time was involved and more than 1/2 of those involved were affected negatively by the events that occurred. However anything drastic would be uncalled for since this was as much of Race Control’s fault for the cause of the issue as it was the teams and drivers.

With that in mind, we figured out that on average every position gained or lost equated to 0.6 seconds per position either gained or lost. Our final decision which we feel is an acceptable middle ground is that we will take however many positions gained or lost, multiply that by 0.6 and either subtract the resulting number (if you lost positions) or add the resulting number (if you gained positions) from your final finishing position and time on track to give us our new unofficial results.

If anyone questions the method of how we did so, we watched the replay of when the cars crossed the S/F to take the checkered flag and noted the hour, minute, seconds, and how many frames they were INTO that second. From here we added or subtracted the adjusted time to your total time for a new finishing time.

From here we will now issue any post race penalties that are needed, which we are currently working on.”

So in the corrected results, TBR Green came 10th in GTE Pro.

The final results can be found here

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