By datarez 0 Comments
Endurance racing and Controversy
This past week was the first week of the new iRacing Blancpain Endurance Series for 2015 season 4. This season is special though because over 300 teams are competing to finish in the top 40 teams to qualify for a pro license and eligibility into the iRacing Blancpain GT World Series in 2016 which will offer up real prize money.
The iRacing series is modeled after the real life Blancpain Endurance Series that races GT3 cars. GT3 cars are quickly becoming the most popular racing cars on the planet in real life racing because they allow for traction control and ABS brakes. These aids are fantastic when you’re a rich executive that wants to spend his fortune on race cars when you’re in your 40s. For the same reasons of ease of drivability, these are really fun cars to race in iRacing too.
iRacing has 4 GT3 cars that race in this series. The McLaren MP4, BMW Z4, Ruf “Track” (Not a real GT3 car. It’s modeled after a Porsche GT3, but kinda not really) and a Ford GT GT3 spec (Well we think. The GT that was in the sim previously was GT2 spec and not real sure they got real data to bump it down to GT3 accurately.)
The races are 3 hours long and you race as part of a team of 2 to 4 drivers. iRacing added the ability to swap drivers during a pit stop a few season ago. Giant Bomb members have 3 teams in action in this series.
High Octane Motorsports - BMW Z4 - @phouchg with his non GB co-horts.
They actually run this race three times and you can enter it all three times if you want. Saturday 0900 UTC, 1900 UTC and Sunday 1700 UTC.
This first week was at Monza. This is a fast track that heavily favored the McLaren and the Ruf. They are just really fast down the straights while the Ford and the BMW struggle to keep up on pace. We should be better matched at other tracks this season with more twisty bits.
The GB teams didn’t run the first two times, just the Sunday one. High Octane ran the 2nd Saturday one and did great with a 2nd place finish in the 5th split. See their highlights below:
On Sunday all three of our teams ended up in the same split. It was just khann and myself in the GBeast car with iron1c unavailable. The two GB teams didn’t qualify well. Turns out there might have been a reason for that. More on that later. I did qualifying in the GBeast car and started the race. Since we were right near the back of the pack in a 40 car field in a 3 hour race I just fell back to the real tail of the field to let the carnage happen without me. I was able to move up a bit after things settled down during my first stint but we were going with a strategy of a lot of lifting and coasting in the raft to try to save fuel. It was a required plan to get the Z4 to last the whole hour to only do the race on two stops.
The Ford Giant Bomb team had fallen back a bit but were still trucking along. High Octane was doing well within the top 10. After the first stop I handed over to khann and he was doing some great consistent lap times. His pace and consistency was better than mine so he was going to do a double and drive the last stint as well. But a comedy of errors befuddled us I had forgotten to setup the settings for the pitstop. So when khann came to a stop it did not refuel the car nor change the tires. Remember how we were saving fuel before? That meant we had come in with less than a lap of fuel remaining. He tried leaving the pitbox and backing back into it to trigger the right stop, but driving backward down pit lane can get you disqualified. We had no choice so he went back out to try one more lap around but changed the fuel map down to the safety car setting to see if it would make the lap. He was almost back but put in the clutch in an attempt to save more fuel but it caused the car to spin. We had to take a tow and then I got back in. So what was looking like a possible finish just outside of the top 10 saw us back in the 30s.
We finished in the 21st 3 laps down eventually. GB Ford finished in 19th with some last lap fuel worries and High Octane finished in 3rd.
We knew were going to be disadvantaged coming out of this first race at Monza because our car is just too slow in a straight line compared to the Ruf and McLaren. With our blunder we are lower than expected but it’s still a lot of fun to do these team events. And then our thoughts turned to the next race in two weeks at Road Atlanta. Or did they?
Yeah all those results got wiped off the record now. So remember me talking about out bad qualifying? iRacing introduced a dynamic surface model this season. The track will take rubber from more cars running on it, marbles can develop and the track temperature can change. We’ve had dynamic weather for a little bit but it was just ambient temperature mostly in the past. Now what kind of skybox you get will determine if there is more sun shining on the track, warming it up and therefore making it slippery. Or a cloudy skybox can mean enough grip to make you feel like a hero. Turns out there was a problem where in qualifying different teams could have gotten different skyboxes. Also there may have been cases where even during the race the track surface may have been a different temperature for some teams. Not exactly equal running.
So iRacing probably made the right decision to wipe the results but that was a whole lot of collective time for naught now. Oh well. We’ll make up the Monza race later this season it looks like. It’s still a bit unclear on when. But eh, we’re starting over so.. Go Team Giant Bomb, we're still in it!