Last month, team Apex Racing Simulators completed their objective to qualify for the 2017 Blancpain GT World Championship. The team consisted of Samuel Libeert, Simon Povey and Andy Gorton. All 3 drivers have good racing experience in the GT3 cars and needed to finish in one of the top 28 positions to qualify. The team decided to drive the BMW Z4 GT3, a car with good cornering speed and stability. With other teams within Apex Racing UK also deciding to drive the BMW, it made good sense to all stick to the same car where we could share setup information and telemetry data. The Blancpain GT WC qualifation consisted of 6 rounds; Monza, Silverstone, Zolder, Brands Hatch, Spa and Nurburgring with one of those rounds allowed as a dropped score.
Qualification didn’t get off to the best of starts at Monza, a track more suited to cars with high top speeds. The BMW was at a disadvantage down the long straights and also struggled with its heavy fuel consumption. This was more than likely going to be a dropped round after finishing 24th place. But the worst track for the car was out of the way and now it was it getting started!
Round 2 at Silverstone left the team feeling disappointed as 15th place was scant reward for the pace of the car around this track. It was rounds 3 and 4 at Zolder and Brands Hatch where the team managed to pick up excellent 5th and 2nd places respectively, which helped thrust them firmly into the qualification spots. The superb qualifying skills of Samuel Libeert pushed the team forward to fight for the leading positions.
Having scored well in the previous two rounds, a top 10 finish at Spa would mean qualification could be wrapped up with a round to spare. The BMW struggled at Spa due to the high speed nature of the first and final sectors of the lap meaning a solid if unspectacular result of P13 meant the team would need to better their Monza score at the final round to be certain of qualification.
The final round at Nurburgring saw Samuel qualify P11. By staying out of trouble and maintaining a good pace, Samuel and Simon bought the car home in P7 which meant Apex Racing Simulators finished the championship in 16th place overall and entry into the GT World Championship.
The 2017 iRacing Blancpain GT Series gets underway for the 3 Hours of Monza on April 15th, spanning over six rounds until September 9th. Be sure to catch the Apex team racing wheel to wheel with over 40 other competitors broadcasted on iRacing Live!
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