Last weekend saw the running of one of the iRacing Special Events for 2019, the Bathurst 12hr held at the iconic Mount Panorama circuit in New South Wales, Australia.
The event was scheduled to run just 7 days after the real-life Bathurst 12hr event (which it has to be said, was an absolute CRACKER of a race) so the hype across the iRacing community was real and with more than 830 teams registered, the competition was guaranteed to be fierce!
With the option of entering any one of 6 cars split in to 2 classes (GT3 – Merc AMG GT3, Audi R8 GT3, McLaren MP4-12C GT3, BMW Z4 GT3 & Ferrari 488 GT3 or the Porsche Cup car) TBR registered 2 teams, both choosing to run in the GT3 class with the highly favoured Mercedes AMG GT3. TBR Blue consisting of 2 Ozzies, a (fake) Frenchman and an Irish bloke and TBR Sweden consisting of….well, 4 Swedish fellas!
So come 13.00 GMT on Saturday 9th February, Andreas Dahlstrom of TBR Sweden and Corey Ott of TBR Blue lined up to tackle qualification. Following the standard iRacing process of 2 laps on a closed circuit and as track position is important at Bathurst, especially at the beginning of the race, it would be super important to set the fastest lap possible. Andreas set a 2.00.383, good enough for 14th spot in the 5th split, while Corey’s time of 2.00431 was good enough for 11th in the 6th split.
On to the main event. Corey had already raced in the Aus time zone 12hr, (which had started 12hrs pervious) so it was no surprise that he quickly settled in to a rhythm, picking off 4 places within the first 7 laps, and then proceeding to take another couple before pitting on lap 31 and handing the car to Dan Page from 3rd place. Once the pit cycle had finished, Dan found himself in a close battle for 6th with 2 other cars. This battle raged for several laps until lap 47 when unfortunately, a tangle with a back-marker caused an incident which would see the car in the pits for 20 minutes of required repairs. Although Dan and Corey chose to continue, another incident on lap 94 had the guys making the sad decision to park the car.
TBR Swedens race had started in a similar fashion, although without Corey’s meteoric charge to the front. Picking up places steadily for the first 15 laps or so had Andreas running in 10th by the time he took a slightly early pit on lap 30. Coming out of the pit cycle still in 10th Andreas had settled in to a battle with 3 other teams for 9th place. A mistake on lap 53 had him lose 3 places before pitting on lap 60 and handing the car to other Andreas – this time, the less beardy one, Andreas Olsson. Driving in his usual calm and seemingly effortless manner, Mr Olsson clambered his way back up the field to 10th place before pitting again. Lap 120 had Andreas O pass the car to TBR’s painting and design supremo, Jocke Ljunggren from 9th place. With Jocke maintaining the Swedish momentum, picking up places here and there and 2 hours later giving the car back to Andreas O from 7th place. A quick hour later, the car changed hands once more and Super Fake Fin Magnus Vallström took over for a 60 lap stint. By this point in the race, the gaps between the cars had grown a fair bit. Magnus had TBR Sweden running in 4th place, a lap down on the car ahead of them, but on the same lap as the car directly behind them. Switching back to Jocke on lap 274 for another hour before Magnus finally brought the car home having been driven by 4 different people, in 4 different locations in Sweden, for 12hrs equaling 342 laps, and just 10 incident points combined, in an incredible 5th place!
So a really cracking result for Sweden and a potentially decent result for Blue, spoilt by a momentary lapse of either communication or concentration on the fastest corner of the circuit. On to the next Endurance event in 2 weeks time at the super bumpy airfield track in Florida for the 12hrs of Sebring.
TBR Blues results are here.