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Monthly Update – March

161017-25GT iRacing World Championship Bathurst 6h
The season opener of the Blancpain GT Series saw our drivers return to the Mountain where they took the overall victory less then a month ago! Our car of choice since then changed from the AMG GT3 to the Audi R8 LMS which all 4 of our entries would be fielding in the opening event. Qualifying saw our drivers struggling for pace as Maximilian Benecke was our best qualifier, he put the #72 PRT Red Audi on P11, 8 places further down the road was our #71 PRT Blue Audi of Maximilian Wenig, with Damien Mcphee putting the #73 PRT Black Audi on P31 and Marc Elkemann in the #84 PRT Yellow Audi in P33. The race start which was mostly clean at the front of the field, unfortunately the #71 of Maximilian Wenig got involved in multiple incidents which lead to the retirement of the car in the first lap. And it wasn’t looking much better for the rest of our cars as both the #73 and #84 were stuck in traffic at the beginning. After the 6h the #92 TTL Esports Audi would take the victory finishing in front of the #14 FA Racing G2 Audi and the #74 CoRe Simracing Black Audi. Our #72 would end up finishing in P5 with the #73 in P22 and the #84 in P33 after suffering from a disconnect in the closing stages of the race.

Time Attack Win
Like last season iRacing again hosted a Time Attack Competition, this time with the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup with $1000 price money for the winner. It was our own Maximilian Benecke who took the first Competition and it was him again who won the second competition. Finishing an overall of 0.00.488s ahead of FA Racing G2s Sebastian Job and Team Redlines Ayhancan Guven in P3 only 0.00.726s back across 4 different tracks.

iRacing Sebring 12h
161017-25 It was then time for our drivers to move on to Florida, where we once again participated in the 12h of Sebring. We would be fielding atleast 1 car in each class, as the #7 Daytona Prototype driven by Marc Elkemann and Patrick Wolf would start the race in P5, In GTE our #71 of Jonas Wallmeier, Maximilian Benecke and Maximilian Wenig took pole position while Patrick Heinrich, Patrick Pichler and Ivo Howeller would start their race in the #73 Audi from P3 with their sister car driven by Damien Mcphee, Denis Grabovsky and Sebastian Schmalenbach lining up next to them in P4. In the DP class it was a chaotic start as trouble between Teo Martin Esports and JIM Racing Team would elevate our #7 into P3 after Turn 1, the start in the other classes however were mostly clean.

In the DP field it was a 3 car breakaway at the front as Vendaval Simracing had gained the lead over Thrustmaster Mivano Racing with the PRT White car barely holding on to the pack. In GTE Maximilian Wenig could already stretch the gap to the rest of the field, while Patrick Pichler and Sebastian Schmalenbach were fighting hard as the pack from P1-P5 were all within 2s. At the halfway point traffic began to bite as our #7 DP got hit by a backmarker GT3 which ultimately took them out of a podium finish, while the #71 still lead in GTE and our #73 car still being in the middle of the fight for the lead, unfortunately technical problems put our #74 out of the running for a podium position. In the end it would be Radicals Online taking the win in the DP class, while our #71 would come across the line winning the GTE class and the #73 winning the GT3 class.

Benecke first driver with 10k Road iRating
It was long a milestone which many had tried to achieve, yet no one managed to do it, until now! For a long time it was unthinkable to have a iRating of over 10.000 on the road side of iRacing. However Maximilian Benecke made it possible. He’s the first driver to EVER have a road iRating of over 10.000, which put him not only on the Number 1 spot of the overall road iRating charts but also the only one to have achieved this feat!

GT iRacing World Championship Sebring 3h
A busy week with double duty ahead for many of our drivers, however that shouldn’t hinder us! It ‘s time for the now renamed “VRS GT World Championship Series” to have its second round at the Sebring International Speedway. Qualifying already showed big promise as Maximilian Benecke put the #72 on P2 just barely missing pole position by 0.00.011 seconds. A strong showing also from Maximilian Wenig who put the PRT Blue Audi on P7 while Daniel Schüch would put the #84 on P22 and Denis Grabovsky in the #73 on P31. It turned out to be an absolute nailbiter of a race since the very beginning as P1 and P2 seemed inseperable over a multitude of laps, until Maximilian Benecke finally overtook the #14 FA Racing G2 car to take the overall lead, meanwhile Maximilian Wenig would be fighting the #33 Heusinkveld CORE Motorsports AMG until he finally got past for P4.

The first round of pitstops arrived and the #72 would stretch the gap a small bit over P2 while the #73 on alternative strategy took the lead, even if only for 1 lap. Unfortunately for us the #71 got disconnected from the server due to server issues which took them out of the running for a top spot. Later our #73 would be affected by the same issues and would also drop a lap behind the leader. With 1 hour to go it was then Patrick Pichlers turn to fend of a charging Sebastian Job in the #14 FA Racing G2 Audi, Sebastian seemed a bit faster but Patrick was always able to cover off every attempt to overtake which would give our #72 PRT Red car its first win of the season! Also surprising, after slowly but surely making its way through the grid the #84 PRT Yellow car of Daniel Schüch and Niclas Laubisch would finish in P9! Leaving only the #71 and the #73 which finished in P24 and P31 respectively.

161017-25NEO Endurance 24h Le Mans
It was then time for a classic, The 24 hours of Le Mans. The championship leading #7 would once again start the race from pole, with the #71 Ferrari taking its first pole position of the season and the #72 starting from P7. It was Patrick Wolf who took the green flag for the first time in the season and we were off to a good start. Patrick immediately managed to break the draft to the chasing #33 Thrustmaster Mivano HPD and started to pull a gap at the head of the field. In the GTE class things turned out differently as Jonas Wallmeier couldn’t turn the pole position into an early lead as he was first overtaken by the #55 Heusinkveld CORE Motorsports Ferrari and then by the #69 Thrustmaster Mivano Ferrari. The #72 held on to its 7th place for a while.

At the end of the first hour the #7 already looked very strong with Patrick pulling a 12s gap over the opening laps, until Lap 13 where he just took a bit too much of the exit curb in the Ford chicanes, not only spinning out but also damaging the floor and more importantly the engine of the car. He would hold on to the lead until the first pit stop where some teams already took a gamble and didn’t change tires in the first stint. Fairly shortly after our first pitstop we made our second pitstop as the damage we took was just slowing us down too much. Patrick would spend the rest of his 5 turn stint charging back up the field setting a total of 3 fastest laps in the process.

161017-25In GTE things had stablized as Jonas was in a pack with the #81 and #88 VRS Coanda Simsport Ferraris with Marc Elkemann in the #72 trailing closely behind. In the Prototypes the next few hours would go by with us trading lap times with the #33 Thrustmaster Mivano HPD which we were slowly but surely catching during the night shift. As the sun rose again and the race was going towards its last hours we saw our #7 being closely behind the leading HPD of Thrustmaster Mivano Racing, Patrick who at the time was already in the car for his 7th consecutive stint then overtook Frederic Evers around the outside into Indianapolis and shortly after began to slowly pull away. With our HPD being in the lead again it was also our #71 who was back in P2 after Maximilian Wenig drove an incredible night stint catching back up to the VRS Coanda Ferraris. But sadly the night didn’t only have good sides for us as the #72 was involved in an incident on the Mulsanne straight which caused the car to once again retire from the race.

With around 5h to go Patrick finally got his deserved break and it was Maximilian Benecke who got back into the car. Unfortunately the busy schedule and tight driving time management took its toll and Max also collected the exit curb in the Ford chicanes and damaged our floor and engine even further than they already were. At the end of the stint it was then Sebastian Schmalenbach who got behind the wheel for a double stint who would then ultimately hand the car back over to Patrick Wolf for the final 4 stints. In the end it shouldn’t have been as the #7 takes home P2 and secures the overall championship! The #71 Ferrari of Jonas Wallmeier, Maximilian Wenig and Patrick Pichler also came home in 2nd place, securing them a 2nd place in the GTE championship.

Signing Gianni Vecchio
At the end of the month we announced a new addition to our team! It is Gianni Vecchio who joins us from SimRC. Gianni will further strengthen our already strong driver lineup and we look forward to racing with him!