The largely anticipated Blancpain GT championship takes of with a 6 hours race at the mountain. The best of the best racing each other in GT3 cars. And the level was high here. Only iRacing pro drivers can compete in this series. The SoF was 6443 in the race with 50 GT3 cars lining up at the grid for an exciting first race. One more thing to know.
Recently iRacing changed the BoP for the GT3 cars. Most of the teams raced the Audi GT3 car this race. With some BMW’s and a couple of Mercedes, McLaren’s and Ferarri’s. Although, 8 Audi’s qualified in the top 10 with one McLaren and one BMW. The first Ferarri was in P14 and the first Mercedes in P20. One change this season. iRacing announced to keep BoP up to date during the season. So the cars that are not on top now could be on top later this season.
Qualifying proved how close the field is in this series. The top 10 where divided by 0.5s. Top 28 within 1 second of each other and almost the whole field within 1.5s. TTL Esport with Joshua K Rogers took the pole with a 1:58:461 ahead of CoRe SimRacing black, Vendaval SimRacing Blue and the new FA Racing G2 Logitech team. SimuCube Inex Racing Blue rounded out the top 5 in the first McLaren. And to prove for once more how high the level is in this field. Big teams like Evolution racing, Thrusmaster Mivano, Radicals online and MSP Phoenix Racing didn’t make in the top 25 in qualyfying.
Tame the mountain
To have a good result at Bathurst you first have to finish. And Bathurst is one of the hardest tracks to have a clean race at. The walls are close at the mountain and the speed is high. Survival is the key. But overall there where no major incidents in the first lap. This is the Pro series after all. On the first line TTL had a great start already leading with 2 seconds. CoRe and Vendaval changed positions. A couple of laps later CoRe lost their podium spot to FA Racing G2.
In the early stages of the race Joshua K Rogers was the only driver doing laps in the 1:59 while the other teams had to do it with low 2:00. After 40 minutes there was a strange incident with Juan E Lopez. The Vendaval driver went straight into the wall in the last corner. Looked like a hardware failure.
After the first pit stops TTL already had an advantage of 12s on FA racing G2. And the gap continued to grow for Joshua K Rogers. It also looked like most of the teams double stinted the tires. CoRe Simracing black dropped back to P8 after 1 hour 30 minutes into the race. While VRS Coanda #8 got into P3 after 2 hours of racing. After the second pitstop some interesting things happend. Some teams tried to triple stint the tires. Mitchell deJong took the lead after triple stinting the tires. While TTL Esports lost the lead after taking a full stop service and was racing in P5. Vendaval blue was able to take lead from VRS Coanda.
Halfway through the race FA Racing G2 was able to take lead in front off TTL Esports where Joshua Rogers took the wheel again. Pure racing team red with Maximilian Benecke worked their way up to P3. CoRe SimRacing black to P4 in front of 2 Vendaval Simracing cars. VRS Coanda fell back to P8 after leading the race for a while. Different strategies and lead to a lot of position changes this race.
Joshua Rogers had great consistent pace and he made it a hard race for Sebastian Job and Frederik Rasmussen in their FA racing G2 car. The Australian racer was flying on the mountain. Together with his teammate they managed to get a 6h Bathurst race with 0x incidents. Talking about surviving and taming the mountain.
With 1 and 30 min to go most of the positions had been taken, although in the end it was a really close one between TTL Esports and FA racing G2. After the last pitstop TTL were stuck a bit behind the ODOX Motorsport car. Losing a bit of time. FA racing G2 took back 10s from 15 to 5 seconds after the final pit stop. But TTL driver Rogers out paced Rasmussen this time.
TTL Esports with Rogers and Hamstead won the BGTWC round at Bathurst after an amazing race with FA racing G2 with Rasmussen and Job. They where the only drivers who could keep it close to the leaders. Behind them CoRe Simracing Black took the 3rd and the last podium spot. ODOX Motorsport and Pure Racing Team rounded out the top 5. Behind them Vendaval White and race leader halfway through, VRS Coanda #8. Great race from Euphoria racing GT finishing P8 starting from P35 on the grid. Also Heusinkveld CoRe and Evolution RT #28 and #29 managed to finish in the top 15 after starting from the second half of the field.
The first race off the iRacing 2018 Blancpain GT Series World Championship is in the books. Let’s hope every race of the championship will be this exciting. The next race is at Sebring International Raceway.
Pictures: Maik Paluch creations https://www.flickr.com/photos/firemike-creations-hd/