GT Worlds R1 - 6th & 20th
Round 1 of the iRacing GT World Championship would kick off at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, with our two Ferrari's ready to go into battle.
For the Logitech G #43 entry, it was a really strong start to the season. Andrew Kahl got the team off to a great start by putting the car P9 on the grid after the all important qualifying session, and being the top placed Ferrari.
The ASTRO Gaming #83 entry was qualified by Marin Colak into P21 on the grid, with two tenths costing a lot at this level in terms of track position.
Andrew in the Logitech G car got away to a solid start with the goal of jumping the two Porsches that had qualified ahead. This was achieved quite early on in the opening stint, and he was able to build a lead to the chasing pack. Yannick Lapchin would start the race in the ASTRO Gaming car however and put together a strong opening to keep the car clean and move up the order.
We opted to double stint the tyres in each of our 2 hour blocks, with a fairly even fuel strategy across the 6 hours. The strategy however was not so clear throughout the field, with several options being run by teams.
After the opening two hour stint, Andrew would hand over the Logitech G car to Simone Maria Marcenò, with the car sitting in 6th position and in a heavy fight with several cars from Coanda Simsport, Williams Esports, Pure Racing Team and Vendaval Simracing.
Also in the mix was ASTRO Gaming, with Marin taking over the reins for the middle double stint and sitting in a strong P11 before disaster struck. Nearing the end of his double stint, an internet disconnection would kick in and the ASTRO car would tumble down the order and out of top 10 contention. Absolute heartbreak
Thankfully as a pit stop was scheduled, they would avoid having to pit more times than was originally planned, and would lose a little over a minute from the disconnection. Yannick was back in the car down in P36, and would drive into the night on a mission, passing the opposition and ultimately crossing the line in P24. Not the Top 10 that we were after, but a solid recovery after an unfortunate technical glitch.
Over in the Logitech G camp, the race was going far more to plan. Simone would be running a quad stint in the car, running two double stints on tyres. He was able to expand the gap back to the two Coanda Simsport cars and close the gap down to the Williams Esports Razer car, however a lapse in concentration would see Simone spin at the end of the Kemmel straight, and the advantage gained was lost.
A quick refocus and Simone was driven. P6 was there for the taking, and we needed to hold onto our advantage. In the end the final two hours would be a head to head battle with Pure Racing Team's Jonas Wallmeier, with Simone making the pass stick in the 5th hour and managing to break the draft and get ahead by a critical 2 seconds by the final pitstop. The stops were almost identical, and the run to the line was intense. Laptimes being trading throughout, and with the track in complete darkness, Simone would cross the line in P6 - a great start to the season and a personal best for him.
Congratulations to Coanda Simsport's Joshua Rogers and Ricardo Castro Ledo on the win, and congratulations also to Pure Racing Team and Red Bull Racing Esports on rounding out the podium.
The next round takes place at the Suzuka on April 20th - be sure to check it out!