Season 2 of 2014 proved to be an extremely fruitful season for the Apex Racing UK team. We had team members competing in various different series with great success. Here is a chance to find out how they all performed in their particular series.
Alex Simpson – WCS
Following a successful first season and first 3rd of the WCS series, I was really confident we had a good chance to push our way into the top 10 in the series standings. The changes to the car caught the team out a little but after the set back of Phillip Island we soon found the performance we were hoping for.
We had a couple of tough races in season 2 and didn’t maximise the performance of the car but still continued to clock up good points. The second 3rd of the season closed with our best performance in history securing 2 top 10 finishes at Twin Ring Motegi.
We are happy to announce that during season 2 Apex Racing UK aliened themselves with Ronin Racing in an attempt to push both teams into the top 5 fight. The project has gone completely according to plan with 2 top 5’s and many top 10’s.
We hope that the final 3rd of the season will be even better and that both Apex and Ronin drivers find their way onto the podium.
Hunter Manley – iRacing Grand Prix Series – 15th
After I’ve struggled and had a couple of bad seasons in the past, I finally was able to complete a full season and get my pro license. I was worried about the last two weeks because I had a 18 and 45 point drop weeks to get rid of, but luckily I found a few races and was able to add 177 points to my total. Hopefully my next seasons will go even better and see you in season 4!
Sebastian Job – iRacing Grand Prix Series & Neo Endurance Series – 14th & 2nd
For season 2 I set a target to get myself a Pro license, racing in the FW31. I also competed in the NEO GT series with Clive Lawrence and Lee Thompson as my teammates, choosing to drive the BMW Z4 GT3.
For race 1 of the NEO series I managed to qualify 2nd on the grid, splitting our closest rivals, Radicals. They had two very fast teams, so I focused on trying to get ahead of them. Unfortunately Clive had problems with connection, so that left me to get the points. Throughout the race I had great battles with the Radicals guys, but after short fueling and running out over the line, I could only manage a second place.
Lee Thompson raced as Pro for round 2, meaning I could only watch for this race.
Going into round 3 at COTA we had a 75 point gap to first, however we were still very much in contention considered that a team could get a maximum of 200 points in a single race. Motivation was high for me, and the race couldn’t have gone much better for me and Clive. I finished 4th in my class, with Clive 2nd in his. During the latter stages of the race we were leading the championship by the smallest of margins. One position change could win it or lose it. Unfortunately for us, the Am driver from the Radicals team managed to gain an extra two places in the last twenty minutes.
At the end of the race the gap between us and first was just 8 points!
For the F1 car this was my first full season driving such a high downforce car. I had done a few races before, but never more than two or three tracks. My season started fairly late, doing my first races at Spa in week 3. I managed to pick up a good chunk of points, getting a good start for the rest of the season. After I had done 6 weeks of the maximum 8 I was in a position to get my Pro license. I decided that most people around me were not a huge threat, and finished the season early.
After season 2 had finished I was in 13th place, earning my Pro license. Hunter Manley was just 6 points behind me in 14th, meaning that we now have two more Pro drivers.
Clive Lawrence – Neo Endurance Series – 2nd
Season 1 2014 was a successful season for me with a couple of wins and a number of top 5 finishes in the newly released RUF RT 12C Track. For Season 2 I had signed up pre-season for the NEO GT Team Endurance Series as an amateur driver so anything official was going to take a back seat.
ARUK had 3 teams set to join in the series of which I was in Team 2 partnered with Sebastian Job and Lee Thompson(both playing the part of the PRO driver but taking it in turns to race per week)
The opening week of the 3-round series was at Road America and it was myself and Seb due to race. Most of the practice sessions saw us topping the time sheets for our respective classes even though we were up against some very tough competition.
Qualifying went very well with me on pole for AM and Seb somewhere in the top 3 for PRO. Alas, my connection wouldn’t stay up and I ended up finishing the race somewhere near the back of my class. Seb had a terrific race to finish 2nd which kept us in the running.
Round 2 was to be held at Silverstone and this time partnered up with Lee. Again we were pretty much topping the time sheets in practice. Lee messed up his qualifying and would be coming through the pack. I qualified within the top 3 for this race. As the race unfolded I found myself leading my class even after a couple of spins. Lee was climbing through the field nicely until an unfortunate mishap with a back-marker meaning his race had ended.
Round 3 was at Circuit of the Americas and once again partnered with Seb. This round took me a while to get use to the track as I hadn’t done any of the official races only a couple of weeks previous so I was coming in green to this week. Seb was still on good form and getting within the top 5 of each practice session. I was getting quicker as the week went on. Qualifying saw me qualify in the top 3 again(as did Seb).
The race was a lot tougher than the previous weeks as there was a lot less time between corners to rest and stamina really came into play. Seb managed 4th or 5th and I got 2nd in my class. This is probably the best result we could of hoped for given the competition on the day – they were unbelievably quick!
Overall we narrowly missed out on the championship by coming 2nd but the effort and experience was amazing.
Jesper Pedersen – iRacing Grand Touring Cup – MX5 Champion
My season 2 was very different from what I thought it would be. I had been out traveling the the world for 3.5 month and before that I did not have much or motivation to race either. So the start of the season, my goal was to get back up to speed. I hope it would go rather quickly!
I picked the Mazda Cup trying to win the ticket for the real MX-5 shoot out in the US. I was a bit rusty and competition very fears but was still in top 5 pace. After a few bad results, due to bad lock I was just outside top 10. At the same time I got new work and that did not fit in well with the 1am GMT top split races. So I decided to keep with the car, but not go for the championship in season 2, but try again in season 3. Hopefully the rust would be off by the time the new season would start.
So after the Mazda Cup disappointment, I had two choices do Mazda Cup races or do the Grand Touring Cup. It was a few weeks into the season 2, but I had done a few races in the Grand Touring Cup so I was overall no. 2. So decided to stick with Grand Touring Cup.
Week after week my pace got stronger and stronger, and closed the gap slowly but steady to no. 1 in the championship.
I could have had better performance by creating setups week after week to suit each track better. But after 4 weeks on the same setup, I made it a challenge to see if I could win on the same setup the whole season. Smart? Nah. Fun? Big time. Possible? With luck.
With performance getting better I was surprised even with the setup choice that I made early on. I kept getting a new world record almost every week.
In the end of the championship it got really close. My closet rival Brad Wotton had a huge 263 point score in week 1, I was trying to close the gap in. In second last week I passed Brad with only 4 points. So last week was going to be the decider for the championship.
I knew my chances was slim since I was going on a family vacation Wednesday in week 12, the last week of the season. I had to get a good result in a high strength of field Tuesday night before I left for the US. Normally the first day in a week is terrible for good points. To make matters worse, I had little to non practices before hand. To my surprise it was a really great strength of field, so I had to make it count. I started 2nd and had to win. After what felt as a extremely long race with even more extreme lap times, I won the race with 0.3s!! That gave me my biggest point scoring race and a 91 point gap to Brad in 2nd. Next morning I went on vacation with the hope it was enough of a gap to win the championship…
To my relief it was enough to win the championship, with 91 points! I was very happy that I actually won a official series championship. I have only completed 3 season ever in official series, so that I have won one, is a huge satisfaction! Especially when this was supposed to be a season where I got to grips with sim-racing again!
But all this could not been accomplished without the help of the whole team. They have helped me all season, but especially the last few weeks they have been a huge help. Therefore this is not my championship but our championship!
Also a big thanks to the sponsors supporting the team. I’ve revived a Leo Bodnar cable before the season. To give me a higher resolution on my Logitech G25 pedals. The cable have been a huge help, and helped me improve my consistency but also give last few tenths needed. I’m sure 11 world records would not have been possible without it!
That sums up a really great season, the next one will hopefully bring the same amount of success, in the Mazda Cup.
John Broadmeadow – Proto GT Challenge – 5th
For season 2 I made the switch from the GT3 series to the HPD ARX-01C in the Prototype and GT Challenge after finding some decent consistency and pace during pre-season testing laps. The season started at one of my favourite tracks on the service at Road America, and I was able to build confidence with the car to help me through the rest of the season. I took part in every week of the season apart from at Suzuka due to other commitments and it was great to return to multi-class racing after a season away.
My main highlight of the season was a very strong finish in the final few rounds. This started at Sebring with a strong finish in the main race of the week to bring home 145 points, followed by getting the best points score in the HPD of the week at Montreal (141 points), and finally getting my best points of the season (150) in the final week at Silverstone. This allowed me to pull away from my main competitors at the best possible time.
I had a couple of low points during the season as well. The first was at Watkins Glen where I struggled for pace all week and only picked up 32 points, meaning a drop week for me. I was also disappointed with Interlagos, as despite having decent pace I made a mistake from the lead in my only race and dropped positions. Finally, Road Atlanta brought a couple of poor races for me, as I crashed out of 2 races in a row. Luckily though, I had already finished another race in a decent position to minimise the damage.
I also took part in the NEO GT series in the PRO class. Despite not having the greatest finishes, including issues with my pedals before the final round at CoTA, I finished incident-free at Silverstone and with only 1 at CoTA, and it was a great team series to be a part of.
I finished 5th overall in the Prototype / GT Series, and 3rd in my division (2), therefore it was a very successful first season for me in the car and I am looking forward to a difficult new season in the World Sports Car Series in season 3.
Samuli Kumo – Radical Racing Challenge – 7th
For 2014 Season 2 I decided to treat myself by returning to Radical Racing Challenge series and not worry about points too much. For me, Radical SR8 has always been my all-time favorite car in iRacing and the one I’ve had most success with, primarily because it just fits my driving style and I feel much more connected than with any other car. Admittedly, season didn’t quite start of smoothly at Laguna Seca, but strong finish at Mosport confirmed I still had the pace and I was able to secure 7th overall for the season among seasoned veterans . Naturally, the car has changed a lot since the last time I raced it in 2010 and there were couple tracks I really struggled with and kept experimenting a lot, but that’s the process you have to go through to find out what works.
As for the Season 3, plan is to stay with Radical SR8 because the groundwork was done during Season 2 and I should be able to keep competing even if I have less time available for weekly practice. Car doesn’t seem to have changed radically with the Season 3 tire update and I feel the changes have been beneficial to my driving style.
Lee Thompson – Radical Racing Challenge – 10th
The opening rounds of the WCS were a tough start to season 2, its so competitive I just couldn’t get in to the races. As the participation started to drop off through the season, just sticking it out meant I began to get on the grid and just pick up a few points by just surviving the races! Very pleased in the last round to get a top 20 result for the first time at Twin Ring Motegi and had some fun battles on the way!!
On the side I have had lots of fun running in the Radical Racing Challenge, this is a great car with a small but very close community. Happy to pick up some wins and finish 10th overall in the standings, unfortunately poor participation means its a difficult series to run with limited time and opportunity for races. I really need something I can drop into whenever I have the chance rather than having to wait just for a couple of races at the weekend!
The focus for season 3 is obviously the WCS and again I just need to stick it out through some difficulties with the car and tyres and it may give me the slimmest of chances of getting close to a top 25 position and the opportunity to participate in 2015!
I am expecting to run the World Sportscar Series this season as my bit of fun on the side, probably in the HPD as it feels pretty easy to just jump into without a lot of practice and hopefully it seems some team members will be running the car to provide setups for me to jump into!!
I am very much looking forward to receiving my Oculus Rift DK2 any day and hope to start a new YouTube series for our team channel using this amazing piece of new technology!
John Godfrey – Apex Racing UK Academy Member
Newly signed to the Apex Academy, and in my first full season on iRacing.
Championship results include series champion in the BTCC support series (VW Jetta) and third in the Spec Ford Racer scoring 3 race wins in the VW Jetta 4 race wins in the Skip Barber official series and 2 licence promotions.
A big thanks goes to Conrad and LJ for flying lap replays and setup support.
Championship results include 2nd in the BSR Star Mazda series and 4th (Division 5) in the official series scoring 10 race wins on the way and 2 licence promotions.
A big thank you goes to Alex Simpson for setup and driving support throughout the season.
Categories: Alex Simpson, Clive Lawrence, Hunter Manley, iRacing Grand Prix Series, iRacing World Championship Grand Prix Series, Jesper Pedersen, John Broadmeadow, Lee Thompson, Radical Racing Challenge, Samuli Kumo, Sebastian Job, Special Events