Week 2 of the iracing SRF challenge took place at Watkins Glen Classic Configuration – the shortest version of the track. With multiple long straights and no heavy braking zones it makes for a fast flowing track that encourages close wheel to wheel racing. The slipstream you get down the long back straight means that it is very rare for you to have a moment to yourself to relax and get yourself ready for the next section. The nature of the track holds potential for some pretty explosive incidents (especially turn 1 and the carousel), so drivers giving each other plenty of room and respect is essential round here. Considering everything, it was shaping up to be a good week of racing.
Even though you can gain copious amounts of time around this track by slipstreaming, I decided to set a time unassisted by that hole we all love so much sitting behind another car. As last week I would do only 1 qualifying session and accept my lot after that, making use of the full 20 minutes certainly paid off. I set my best time of 1:27.323 on my final lap, after a bunch of laps in the 1:27.5s and 1:27.7s.
Another 3 races this week, of which race 1 gave me my best points scoring finish. I started race 2 from the pits as an exercise – I wanted to see what was possible. Obviously I came out dead last of the 12 cars, but battled my way up to 3rd (narrowly missing out on 2nd by 0.05 seconds); a great race indeed! Race 3 started off well, with 3 of us running at the front – 6 seconds clear of 4th place after a turn 1 incident. Unfortunately I got turn 1 wrong on lap 6 and fell back to 4th place. Again, I managed to work my way back to 3rd by the end of the race.
As mentioned, race 1 gave me my best result. Everybody got through turn 1 cleanly, which meant that about 7 of us tried to negotiate the carousel all at once! It got a bit crowded, which resulted in me getting caught out by a car in front who slowed down a bit more than I expected. We had a bit of contact but no damage. Because of this, I ran wide through the carousel and came out 9th and last. I managed to pass 1 or 2 people, as well as benefiting from a couple of guys spinning. I caught up with 2nd and 3rd on lap 11 to make it a 3 way battle. Entering turn 1 on lap 16 I was 3rd – following 2nd place closely when he had a moment. I narrowly missed him, but sadly 4th couldn’t avoid the slow car and they came together. That incident gifted me 2nd place, and therefore 91 points. A good comeback drive, as well as being the beneficiary from others’ misfortune.
Next week we visit the great Interlagos. Another fan favourite, but still a very challenging track. My only worry…….. turn 1 off the start!!!
Week 3 and 4 is going to be tough – mainly because of a short away break to relatives from Friday to Monday, which means week 3s races will have to be crammed into a short space of time. Week 4s races will also be slightly compromised due to a lack of practice going into the week on a brand new track.
Wishing everybody a great week of racing!
See you on track………
Division 3: 10th