Sports Car Endurance – Round 5 – 4hrs of Interlagos
Sunday afternoon it was time for round 5 of the Sports Car Open, being held on the hot and sticky Brazillian curves of Interlagos. With TBR fielding a car in each class, we had decent representation – and with the LMP1 boys sitting in 2nd place overall, everything to race for.
Qualifying for SCO is slightly different to most events – running solo but limited to just 4 timed laps, choosing the right moment in a 20 minute window to take those laps is especially important with iRacing’s new weather and temperature change feature.
Matt Farrow took on the duties of quali for TBR Blue in the P1 category, leaving it to his very last lap to post a time of 1.15.825 for third on the grid, crucially just ahead of championship leaders Radicals Online. Thrustmaster Mivano took pole with a 1.15.541 with VRS Coanda second on 1.15766.
In the PC class (HPD) Fraser Williamson set a 1.23.089 on his first lap, a time good enough for 5th on the grid. Pole was taken by CoRe SimRacing with a 1.22.764 – the whole 12 car PC field covered by less than a second.
The TBR Pink Porsche RSR GTE entry had Dan Sosulski setting a 1.28.585, placing them firmly in the mid field in 11th of the 19 car field.
With such a short lap, traffic management for all 3 cars was going to be super important, and with this in playing heavily on the mind of all 3 drivers, they took the green flag. For all Matt’s quali pace, he seemed to be struggling a little with the race setup, losing a place early on and then 2 more before pitting on lap 34. However after his stop, Matt gathered himself and gained a couple of spots back finally handing the car to Tom Michelmore on lap 68 from 5th position.
Fraser start had gone a little better, picking a place up on L3 for 4th and then making a pass on Riley Simracing for 3rd that would prove crucial later on in the race. Fraser seemed to have the bit between his teeth and stuck a pass on AVA Vervatic on lap 23, placing the fastest lap of the race in class in the process, before pitting 5 laps later. Places switched later in the stint when AVA Vervatic re-took 2nd place on L47 before Fraser pitted and handed the car to Teemu Toikka from 4th spot.
In GTE, Dan had dropped a place at the start, however 3 laps later put an awesome 3 wide pass in to T1. From here, Dan gained a couple of spots -then lost a couple before pitting around L44. Dan stayed in the car for the next stint gaining positions here and there before finally handing the car to Joris Thielen on lap 77 from 4th position.
In the battle of the LMP1’s Tom was pretty much maintaining 5th or 6th, depending where other cars were in their pit cycles eventually climbing to 4th before handing the car back to Matt for the final full stint. Matt emerged from the pits in 6th and found he was stuck in a battle with Radicals, briefly getting ahead when they took an early final pit before dropping back to 6th to the finish.
Teemu had slipped back with the pit cycles, however he had quickly found his groove and climbed back to 4th within 3 laps before taking second place 10 laps later. Pitting aroun lap 82 Teemu set off on his second stint in much the same way he had his first. Settling in to consistent laps in 2nd place, not too far behind the CoRe car, who pitted a little early giving the lead to Teemu. By the time Teemu pitted to hand back to Fraser on lap 123, CoRe had fallen away giving Fraser a 20 second lead. A lead he maintained to the end of the race in emphatic style, finally finishing a lap ahead of Riley Simracing in 2nd place.
TBR Pink, with an early finish to Dan’s second stint, had fallen almost to the back of the GTE field, however as other teams took their stop, Joris quickly climbed back up the field and gained 3rd place by lap 90. Things were looking really good for Pink, maintaining P3 for lap after lap until Joris pitted for the final time on lap 121. Unfortunately, this brought him back on track in a gaggle of cars competing for 4th place. The racing was hard and close but pretty fair for the most part. Joris finally brought the car home in 7th, which on the face of it might seem disappointing having been running comfortably in 3rd, but is still the best finish of the series for the guys.
For the overall standings, TBR Blue’s position of 6th, while still a fantastic result, dropped them to equal 3rd with Thrustmaster Mivano and just 3 points ahead of VRS Conada – a podium is still on the cards with it all to play for. Yellow have a very long shot at a podium in the final round, but they would need a win, with Riley not scoring at all to gain 3rd place… and with Heusinkveld snapping at their heels, they don’t have room to relax at all. For the GTE guys, a top 10 is a potential, if distant shout. In reality, the guys will just be hoping to prove themselves once again at the final round at Sliverstone in just 3 weeks time.
Official results are here.
iRacing Esports coverage of the event is here.