iES & iELMS Weekend

TBR drivers around the globe took part in a couple of events this weekend, so without further ado, and as Mr Sim Racing Garage Barry would say “Lets get to it….”

iRacing Endurance Series – Rnd1 – 12hrs of Suzuka.

Saturday just past was the start of the new iRacing Endurance Series – a four round, official series of 12hr races held at Silverstone, Barcelona and COTA with this, the first round being held at Suzuka in Japan. With the current worldwide situation of lock-downs iRacing is seeing a huge influx of new racers so interest was expected to be high in the 4 class event. Speaking of classes, they were as follows – GTE (Porsche RSR & BMW M8), GT3 (Mercedes AMG & Ferrari 488), GT4 (Porsche Cayman) & TCR (Audi RS3) with Team Buschfink Racing fielding 2 cars, one Porsche RSR in TBR Pink piloted by Joris Thielen, Dan Page and new kid Diogo Pereirinha and the other choosing the GT3 class with the TBR Yellow AMG – ably wheeled by Andreas Forrs, other new boy Darryl Sutherland and yours truely –old man Bedford.

Qualifying for the 11 split race was due to start at an in-game time of 5.30gmt (I think…) with Joris from the pinkies setting a time good enough for, well… last of the GTE’s in the 2nd split and me pushing the Yellow Merc to a mildly respectable 12th of 17 in the 3rd split. In Joris’s defence – he admits to hating qualifying with a passion, and with neither of his team mates having balls big enough to step up, Joris had to put down his waffle and take it on.

So on to the start and hopefully the calm before the storm – traffic management with so many (much slower) cars on track was going to be key throughout the 12 hour race. Joris’s first 2hr stint went by without too many issues and he managed to climb up to 5th place before handing the car to resident TBR Iberian, Diogo Pereirnha. With track temperatures rising steadily, the first stint for the second drivers was going to be a real learning experience and so it proved with Diogo initially struggling to find his pace. Once he had settled in through he drove confidentaly and with finesse around the traffic and save forgetting to pit at the end of his first hour (managed to get back to the pit without losing too much time) had a fairly uneventful 2hrs. Frenchman wannabe Dan Page picked the car up from Diogo in 4th spot to start the next 3rd of the race. With temperatures creeping up to a peak the track was becoming pretty slick, a point proven when Dan got his ass tapped by the GTE leader, however no no damage was sustained and Dan continued on his merry way, holding his white flag for another day. Passing the car back to Joris from 3rd place. So in the first half of the race, the guys had done an immense job of climbing from last to a podium, with minimum issues or damage.

Joris drove like there was a mayonnaise shortage and he’d heard where the last jar was being held, holding P4 at around 50 seconds for the entirety of his final 2 hours, picking up just 7 offtracks in 4 hours of racing. As Diogo climbed in to the car he was heard muttering “Seven off-tracks you say – hold my beer” before speeding off in to the distance. To be fair, he has Iberian blood and to say that 26x’s was all he got is somewhat of an achievement in my humble opinion – that said, the car was handed in to Dan for the final 2 and a bit hours still in 3rd spot. So Dan’s job was simple. Just bring the car home safely and a podium was more-or-less nailed on. Sadly, no-one mentioned this to the Surrender Monkey who blasted in to the pits with 45 odd laps left to drive and totally forgot to engage the limiter, gaining a 40s penalty in the process. DAN! YOU HAD ONE JOB!! This put a fire under Dan’s chair for sure, and the final hour or so he was sweating like a sweaty thing, eventually coming home to a still highly creditable 4th place finish after fending off a raging Laurens de Rijk for the last 15 laps or so.

For us chaps in Yellow things couldn’t have gone much worse…. well they could, but not much. I started OK, lost a spot early on and then took a slow motion spin through 130r when someone decided “2 wide through here, yeah, this is fine” giving us a tiny little bend on our carbon fibre wang (iRacing plz…) Dropping back to 15th or so I managed to claw my way back to 10th – more by luck than judgement if Im honest – and handed the car to Andreas for the next couple of hours. As an IRL go-kart superstar, Andreas is used to a car (or kart) that goes exactly where you point it – and as anyone who has driven it knows, the AMG is a bit of a boat – especially with 120ltrs of fuel and a bent wang!

When I asked him if he would like to race, his response was (and I quote) “But i hate Merc – I cant drive the Merc at all anymore i tried it for like 15 min in Watkins and barely made it one lap” so to say Ikea boy wasnt looking forward to his 4hrs was slightly under-exaggerating (can you even do that? Surely under-exaggerating is just, the truth? Sorry, I digress…) That said, he did an amazing job, picking up 9th position at one point before being rudely punted by the 3rd place GT3 through the Esses, while negotiating traffic from all 4 classes – and then again a few laps later by a wild TCR. Whilst this dropped us back a couple of spots, it didn’t really give anymore damage other than a matching bend on the other end of the wing (iRacing PLZZZZ). The real damage was to be saved for our new American friend Darryl Sutherland – star of Sony’s GT Academy off of the mid 2000’s – this was to be Darryl’s first iRacing special event with TBR and I’d like to take this time to apologise to Darryl for being lumped with Ikea boy and me for the event – Sorry Darryl, we’ll make sure your in the better team next time!
Picking the car up from Andreas from around about 11th place (details are a bit grey on this) Darryl set off to grab some time back. Lapping fast and clean he managed 7 whole laps before disaster struck and a TCR spun/rejoined at a most inconvenient time, smashing the fron end of our beautiful Merc to pieces – quite how the car survived is anybody’s guess and is testament to just how much of a tank the AMG is, however 11 minutes of repairs set us back by 5 laps or so, and effectivley out of the race (as if we were ever really in it!)
Suffice to say, the next 7hrs or so were all about finishing. To be fair, the car drove incredibly well still – just lacked a little bit of top-end. Not well enough that we would ever recover 5 laps back though obviously, but good enough that Darryl was able to pass for 12th in the last hour of the race, clocking fastest class lap after fastest class lap in the process.

So in summary – we did really well in GTE and no so great in GT3. Its always the same in team races though, as long as you have fun and give it your best, thats all we can ask for – the results are an added bonus of course, but for us at TBR, its more about the enjoyment.
Next round is at Silverstone on 27th June – hopefully everyone is equally as willing to have another go?

Official results are here
The VOD from Joris’s stream is here

iELMS – Week 5 – Road America

In other news, resident Prototype pilots Niklas Hedberg and other, other new boy Antoine Blankers took part in Saturdays iELMS race at the iconic Road America in the Audi R18. After a disaster in qualifying where the boys failed to set a clean lap placed them in 13th of 14 cars in a packed 48 car field, the pressure was really on for young Antoine as the flag dropped ahead of 6 hours of multi-class racing. Pressure it seems is no issue for the Dutch rocket ship, as he soaked it up like a sponge and shot up the field, making his way to 4th position after just 9 laps. A position he and Nik would basically maintain for the next 5hrs and 40 minutes- briefly peaking at 2nd through pit cycles – the boys drove exceptionally well, fast and clean just how we like it.
Another great result for TBR, nice work chaps.

Official results are here

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