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Monthly Update – August

161017-2524h Le Mans
It was then once again time to travel to Le Mans, the 24h classic in France gathered some of the fastest teams on iRacing to hold down a brawl again. We would contest the race with a total of 3 cars, 2 Porsche 919 Hybrids in the LMP1 class and a single Ferrari 488 GTE in the GTE Class. Our lead car, the #7 Pure Racing Team LMP Red Porsche was piloted by Fabrice Cornelis, Patrick Wolf and trialist Patrick Christoph Moser while the #8 PRT LMP Yellow Porsche was piloted by Daniel Schüch, Denis Grabovsky and Marc Elkemann. The #71 PRT GTE Blue Ferrari was lead by Maximilian Wenig, Jonas Wallmeier, Gianni Vecchio and Maximilian Benecke. Qualifying showed big promise in the GTE class as Maximilian Wenig managed to claim pole position ahead of Williams eSports’ Laurin Heinrich. In the LMP1 class the qualifying went down as a dissapointment, Patrick Wolf could only manage a P4 in the #7, while Marc Elkemann qualified his car in P7.

161017-25Not bothered by the Qualifying result Patrick Wolf already started charging in the first lap, overtaking both Radicals Online and SimRC’s Porsches in the first lap to then hunt after the leading car of TTL Esports. The #8 was also slowly moving through the field, fighting with the Porsches of TX3 by LDLC and Sorg eSports while trying not to lose the cars ahead. In GTE, the fight was on straightaway, while both Maximilian Wenig and the chasing Laurin Heinrich could create a gap early on, both were inseperable throught the entirety of the first stint. Meanwhile in LMP1, traffic started to become a factor as Patrick started to close in on the lead car and started applying the pressure, about half an hour into the race Joshua Rogers then started to make mistakes as a slowdown penalty allowed Patrick not only to close in on the TTL Porsche but even to take the lead. Unfortunately the Australian suffered a netcode collision that damaged their car immensely and slowed them down a lot.

It was then time for the first pit stop. While both the #7 and #8 pitted in lap 13, a few cars went a lap longer, saving them up to 3 pitstops by the end of the race. The strategy also played a big part in the pitstop cycle as some cars didn’t take tires while both of our cars took them, shuffling them back into P3 and P5. In the meanwhile misfortune struck for the chasing Williams eSports car, a disconnect cost them a lap, meaning our #71 was now comfortably leading the GTE class. About 1h20m in then, fights started to break out again, as Patrick Wolf caught back up to the now leading Radicals Online Porsche it was clear that he had to go by quickly as the next pitstop cycle was just around the corner and the lead car was going around 2 seconds a lap slower than he was doing at the time. Hybrid management made it difficult to pass, while both cars were quite speedy on the straights, using the boost at different parts of the track made it very difficult to stay ahead even if you were going a lot quicker. While that fight was going on Marc Elkemann in the #8 also closed up to the back of P3 and P4 and managed to overtake them pretty easily. With about 2 laps to go until the pitstop Patrick Wolf then managed to pull ahead of Kazuki Oomishima and started pulling a gap until the pitstops. The call for our cars was then to not take tires which elevated the #8 into P2, making it a PRT 1-2 in LMP1 while the #71 was still leading in GTE.

161017-25After everything had settled, it was then just plugging away at the circuit, not making a single mistake and more importantly surviving the rest of the race. Unfortunately that was not what happened with the #8, a spin over a curb in the Ford chicane damaged the floor of the car which meant that not only the aerodynamics were damaged but also the engine and more importantly the Hybrid regeneration were damaged , meaning we had to retire the car with 18hours to go. At the 12hour mark it was still the #7 leading by almost a lap over the rest of the field while the #71 was also still leading but being chased down by the Williams eSports Ferrari which had taken back 2nd place after their disconnect.

But in the end it didn’t matter, after 24hours of staying (mostly) clean the #7 of Fabrice Cornelis, Patrick Christoph Moser and Patrick Wolf win the 24h of Le Mans in the LMP1 class, while Maximilian Benecke and Jonas Wallmeier complete the “Grand Slam” by winning the 4th 24hour race in a year together with Maximilian Wenig and Gianni Vecchio, they win in the GTE class.

 

161017-25VRS GT iRacing World Championship
As the penultimate round of iRacing’s GT World Championship, the teams visited Japan’s Suzuka Internation Racing Course. Its variety of corners in combination with a smooth tarmac surface makes it a real challenge for drivers as well as engineers. With our Red car on top of the championship standings with a 48 points advantage over Coanda Simsport #8, it was very important to maintain this solid advantage until the last round in Silverstone.

The average weather conditions gave the drivers a bit of confidence which made the qualifying quite interesting. The pole time was set by FA Racing G2’s Frederik Rasmussen with an advantage of only 2 thousands of a second in front of our Red machine’s pilot Max Benecke in P2. The Blue car managed to qualify for P5 exactly 1 tenth off the pace. Black and Yellow started the race from P10 and P30 respectively.

The start of the race was rather clean with no major incidents in the field. Our Red car got passed by Coanda’s Mitchell DeJong and therefore ended up in P3 after the first corner. Max Wenig in the Blue car was able to defend his position against TTL’s Josh Rogers. Rasmussen seemed very dominant in front and had no problems in leaving the following cars behind and increase his lead lap after lap while other teams were struggling on old tires. The first pit stop mixed the field with a couple of cars taking less fuel and therefore gaining some positions like the Williams Esports Mercedes which both of our cars, Red and Blue, managed to pass within the stint. The TTL Esports Audi got into trouble when losing the rear end in the famous 130R corner which also gave our cars another position back. Another unlucky incident happened to the #18 Coanda car of Jörn Jens having technical issues leading to a time loss of about 13 seconds. At the end of stint 2, our cars found themselves in P3 and P4.

161017-25For the short last stint, Ivo Howeller (Red) and Jonas Wallmeier (Blue) were piloting our cars to the end. With Ivo having the shortest stops of all front cars, he was able to blast some fast lap times and impressively decrease the gap to the leader down to 3.9 seconds, coming from 10 seconds after exiting the pits. Jonas, on the other hand, had a quite relaxed stint. With more than enough time to the cars behind as well as a rather unrealistic chance of catching the ones in front, Max W. and he decided to bring home their solid fourth position. In the end, Coanda managed to pass the, up to then leading, G2 car which made them bring home their first win of the season.

With both championship contenders finishing the race in front of our leading Red car, the advantage shrinks to 18 points for the last round in Great Britain. This is where the, so far more than exciting, championship will finally come to an end.