AOR GTE League Season 4 – Round 11 – Daytona

Daytona, a track that always creates a great deal of discussion between the TBR guys. Some (me) think its crap. Others (Ben) think its amezzin and would drive it all day every day if he could be bothered. Obviously with this being one of his favourites, and with it having been run all week in the official iRacing IMSA series, Ben had done a couple of races and was feeling pretty confident of a decent result in his Ferrari 488GTE. Fo me on the other hand, I’d done maybe 20 mins of practice and was pretty well off the pace… however, I know that with a keen strategy and the fact that the Porsche always seems to be better after the pitstop, I was confident that I could get some points on the board.

So, on to qualifying and Ben sets a good lap, good enough to place him in P9 with a 1.42.382 – right at the sharp end of the Pro/Am battle. For me, a 1.43.250 was only good enough for 21st of 26 cars, 3rd in the Am cup. Interestingly though, my closest rival in the overall had not shown up for the race….

On to the race itself and 80 minutes of Daytona… yay!

Ben’s race started out pretty well, quickly climbing to P7 by lap 4 before a tangle with a wild Frenchman dropped him back in to the clutches of Stevie Chambers around the 11/12 spot. Sitting in behind Stevie for the next 10 laps or so was good for fuel strategy, but feeling he could go faster Ben managed to squeeze round Stevie before deciding to take an early pit on lap 23.

My race started in a similar vein – gaining 5 spots early on before a small tap and spin at the bus-stop dropped me back to my starting position of 21st! From here, I got in to a fairly violent scrap with Merlin Cooper, who seemed to be off pace but was positioning his car in such a way that it was very hard to pass, and another angry Frenchman, Philippe Gaillard – who had heaps of pace, but was clearly driving on the edge and kept binning it! It was at this point I feel like a bit of a cop-out. Since Jake Towns hadn’t shown, and my lead in the league was pretty high, I didn’t actually need to finish the race. I could take the round as a drop round and still maintain my lead. So come time for a pitstop, at exactly 60% race distance, I parked it from 20th spot.

Ben on the other hand, had something to prove (that he could finish a race :oD ) and carried on ploughing his way through the field. As the pit cycle progressed, he found himself in a battle with Sebastien Reithmuller and that man Stevie Chambers again. This battle would take the next 15 laps or so to resolve, with Stevie coming out in 10th, just ahead of Ben, with Sebastien in 12th.

So for the overall – having not scored in the last 2 rounds, Ive still managed to win the AM cup with a round to spare. Its safe to say that had Jake joined this race, and Sam Blackwood had a bit better luck at the start of the series, the  overall battle would have been closer, but the battle for P2 is still on with Stephan Kamke’s improvement throughout the season bringing right up to Jakes bumper on corrected scoring. Ben is easily sat in the top 10 of the Pro/Am cup, with a potential spot to be gained at the final round at Monza next week.

Congrats to overall winner Christoph Holstein, with a massive winning margin over 2nd place.

Results are here.

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