The Daytona 2.4 promised so much. I purchased the Riley Daytona Prototype and the Daytona Super Speedway a week or so before the race anticipating getting a reasonable amount of practice in and just have some fun.
Then the snow came, a week off work meant a week of thundering round the Daytona Road Course. I completed an obscene amount of practice much to the dismay of my other half and my “to do list”! The Riley is such a fun car to drive, by far the best sounding car I have driven on iRacing (helped by the iSound app) and I really enjoyed the novelty of having to blip when downshifting, just not necessary in the Star Mazda and of course is never going to happen in the FW31!
I was becoming more and more comfortable in the car as the week progressed and was delighted to have pipped Liam and Dean as highest placed ARUK Riley driver in qualifying which put me 49th overall from 876 participants. Everyone had been bracing themselves for what the new build would bring released just the day before and all though I was perhaps less comfortable in the slow infield section it really didn’t feel that different. Saturday night arrived and after an hours delay after a Denial of Service Attack I found myself in the 2nd split along with Samuli in the MP4.
8th on the grid would put me right in the middle of any incidents in the first few couple of laps and my concern for trying to survive for the entire 2.4 hours meant I dropped 6 or 7 places in the opening laps even whilst others had already ruined their evenings. I managed to settle into a rhythm during my first stint and managed to keep my nose clean for the most part. My only incidents resulting from taking avoiding action from others spinning. I really started to enjoy myself as I progressed through, now running in the top 10 with 2 other prototypes for close company for a good portion of the race.
Then disaster. 70 laps and 2 hours into the race I made my final scheduled pitstop of the race, completed my outlap with little drama, when out of nowhere I blew my engine entering turn 1!!! I couldn’t believe it, I had read during the week that others had done the same in practice so I was already weary of over revving the engine whilst downshifting (though had never had a blown engine myself in the couple of hundred laps I must have completed in practice). I really felt I had done nothing different to the previous 69 laps and to say I was gutted was an understatement.
I am quite happy to concede this is just a game (or a simulation!) but after investing so much time just for the one race and having to conduct some rather delicate negotiations with the other half so I could even participate, to have gotten so far into the race and come away with nothing was really quite upsetting! A top 10 in the second split was calling and luck (or perhaps skill) was not on my side as normal. This would have been by far my strongest result since joining iRacing.
The previous 69 laps had been great fun and it had been by far the longest race I have ever tried to compete in but it went really very quickly. I am already looking forward to next years event and am determined to start 2013 Season 1 in a much more positive manner in the FW31.
Roll on Sonoma!!