Vulcan Sim Racing Weekly: Edition #15 – ‘Tis the Season to be Racing
Merry Christmas everyone! We’re back once again for another edition of Vulcan Sim Racing Weekly.
In these past few weeks of Vulcan Weekly’s absence, a lot of events have happened in and around Vulcan, including the final round of the ARL-GT Team Championship at Suzuka. With Vulcan Sim Racing (Luke McKeown and Mo Janko) in the Porsche 911 RSR sitting 4th in the championship, a good handful of points behind the top 2 teams, it left them with a very slim chance of being in with a shot at the championship, but a chance nonetheless. That chance was realised when the top two teams, battling for 1st in the race crashed at turn 1. With Vulcan Sim Racing sitting in 4th place, one more position was all they needed to be able to win the championship. Vulcan Sim Racing Black (Mick Anderson and Joel Evans) cruised in 5th place and were able to fend off teams further back so Luke and Mo could chase down the top 3. A speedy round of pit stops from the teams moved them up to 3rd and 4th respectively and the championship was in their sight. In the dying moments of the race, drama unfolded further back, with multiple cars crashing out and moving the 1st and 2nd placed championship teams into the points and ahead of Vulcan. The championship was won by just 5 points over Vulcan Sim Racing, who finished 3rd in the race and 3rd in the championship. Vulcan Sim Racing Black came home in 4th place in the race and 20th in the championship. Finally, Vulcan Sim Racing White (Jason Hodgson and Adam Gladden) had a superb race in their BMW M8 GTE racing in AM class and leading the main AM car gaggle the whole race. Getting their elbows out when passing slower PRO cars, they drove home to 3rd place in AM class at the line, finishing the championship in 11th place.
Two rounds of the CXR World GT3 Championship also commenced; Round 4 at Mid Ohio and Round 5 at Monza. At Mid Ohio, Luke McKeown in his Audi R8 GT3 was searching for a good result to put him back in championship contention. He did just that, securing some rapid first laps around the American circuit to firmly secure 2nd, 1st place being just too far out of his reach. Callam Brant and Mo Janko both secured some decent points coming home in 7th and 8th, having some furious battles along the way. Joel Evans finished 12th after running 4th and incurring huge damage after a spin and collision with a tyre barrier, forcing him to pit. Dominik Forster finished down in 22nd, having been caught by Mick Anderson’s spinning Audi, the latter retiring.
Round 5 at Monza was a rather hectic affair. A turn 1 pile-up involving 6 cars triggered the safety car, hampering Luke McKeown, who was leading and had created a large 3-second gap to the cars behind, but moving Dominik Forster up into 15th as all the damaged cars made their way to the pits. Once the race was back underway, a back and forth battle ensued at the front for 1st, with Luke eventually coming out on top and winning by just over a second. Mo Janko and Callam Brant had another consistent race in their run of consistent results, finishing 8th and 9th respectively. After the first lap calamities, Dominik Forster came home in a deserved 12th place, while Joel Evans didn’t make the flag after spinning into the tyre wall at Ascari.
Vulcan also engaged in a few endurance events in these past weeks, the first of which was the Turn 7 Racing Spa 200 community race. Myself and Jason Hodgson took part in this 200 lap race in the BMW M8 GTE in PRO class. A below par qualifying, which started us 13th overall, was made up for with fantastic opening stints from both, moving us up to 4th by the time the safety car was deployed towards the end of Jason’s stint midway through the third hour. However, just as we caught the safety car pack, the BMW was struck hard by a distracted driver behind, forcing us to pit for repairs. When a second and eventually third safety car was deployed we ended up undercutting most of the field, moving us into 3rd. As the pit stop strategies slowly played into the hands of the other teams, we slowly slipped down the order to 7th overall and 5th in PRO class at the flag.
Another endurance race taken part in was the VRS Endurance race at Spa, which Dominik Forster and I competed in, the Ferrari 488 GT3 being the car of choice. A 5th place qualifying put us in a good position to pinch a strong result, and after capitalizing on mistakes ahead, at the end of my stint we were 3rd. Deciding to change tyres and drivers on the first stop in favour of doubling later on, Dom jumped in the car and made rapid progress up from 8th place. By the time the final pit stop was behind us, we were sat on the tail of 1st place, but tyre management forced Dom to a crawl and 3rd place was cruelly taken on the final lap to leave us in 4th place, a brilliant result nonetheless!