This year has gone by so quickly that it feels like we announced season 2 of the World Sports Car Challenge one week ago! The lessons learnt from last year have allowed us to expand the series and offer participants a multiclass racing experience that meets their requirements. Already, new and old faces have come forward to make their mark on the series, qualifying at pre-season testing at the mighty Sebring circuit in a 3 hour endurance test, the teams eagerly waited to get their chance to score some points for the first time this season.
Round 1 - Interlagos
Things were almost too good to be true, the series has boomed since last season with participation doubling since it launched in November 2017. Sadly, it was not to last. Road America, the first round of the series contained several issues when trying to use it on the dedicated tool, with some teams being very disappointed that it would not be making an appearance on the calendar.
The teams line up for the first time after Sebring Testing for R1 of Season 2
As a result of this, Organisers quickly scrambled a list of tracks that could match the prestige and challenge that Road America offered. After some digging, it was decided that round 1 would take place at "Interlagos". It did not disappoint us. Qualifying saw a great battle take place in both classes, with the #44 Reborn Racing car, driven by L.Arisi taking pole position away from the #41 Fair Racing Team car, who lined up alongside for the start. In GTE, the #13 Rapid Racing team stormed to the front, beating the other GTE car to the front of the grid. #43 Black Hawk Racing and the #88 Secora Racing team waited patiently behind, eager to claim victory at the first round of the championship
Chaos at the start of R1 as Several cars collide before T1
The safety car began the warm-up lap for the first time for Season 2. This is a big moment for the organisers, all eyes rested upon the grid as they rolled towards the green for the first time. Praying for a safe launch to the series as the teams were unleashed onto the track for the next three hours. Sadly once again it turned into chaos. The front of the LMP2 pack made good pace towards turn one with no incidents. However, further down the line the #25 Idos Motorsport tries to squeeze down the outside line after getting a decent start, before coming to a grinding halt as it clips the concrete barrier on the edge of the circuit. The #18 Triple S Racing LMP2 was collected and sent spiralling out of control, who would sadly retire later on in the race.
Team Vangaurd is pushed into the barrier at T1
The GTE field followed suit, the #13 Rapid Racing car defending into turn 1 before driving down the hill towards turn 4. As 18 cars tried to navigate their way around the first corner, the #37 car dived down the inside line without warning, resulting in the car behind not being able to stop in time to avoid making contact. The #26 Team Vanguard car was pushed into the pit wall, retiring the car. Not the best way to start the first race of the season.
A move on #13 from the #43
By the end of lap 1, the #43 Black hawk racing decided that it was time to take the lead of the race. Using the slipstream offered by the #13 Rapid Racing BMW, the Black Hawk car quickly gained enough speed to get up alongside to take the inside line in turn 1, leading the race for GTE. Secora racing would soon follow a few laps later using the same technique, the #13 BMW struggling to get up to speed to defend their qualifying pole position.
As the race progressed the #44 Reborn Racer can continue to extend its lead over the rest of the LMP2 field, with the rest of the teams scrambling over the remaining podium positions. The #20 ANBU, #14 Seawolf Netrace Motorsport team, #69 Hansa Racing Car, #07 Poland Sim Racing and the #01 Black Hawk Racing car exchanged positions throughout the event, all having their moment on the podium spots as the timer reached zero.
Further troubles would strike the #13 Rapid Racing BMW as it fell further down the order, with #32 Taco Viper Virtual Racing car slipping down the inside into Turn 3, with #25 Vorteks Simsports Porsche quickly following. M.Nizio would then have a moment in turn 1, where he would collide with the barrier, retiring the car as a result.
the #44 and #41 go side by side
In LMP2 the #41 Fair Racing team would take the lead of the race after the strategies came into play. The #44 catching up with L.Arisis behind the wheel. Both teams came to a close as the last few moments of the race were reached. Driving two wide as they approached turn 1, the #44 holding the inside line and retaking the lead in LMP2. Further down the order the #01 Black Hawk racing car would fight past the #69 Hansa Racing car as they made their recovery drive after an earlier incident. They would secure third place by the smallest of margins as they went wheel to wheel with the #07 Poland Sim Racing car for the remaining 15 minutes of the race. Both teams would go bumper to bumper as they crossed the finish line. The #01 car flashing its headlights as it held onto the last remaining podium position.
#01 and #07 battle to the finish line!
In GTE the #88 Secora Racing team would come home in first after the #43 suffered a shunt from a car that lag spiked into the front bumper of their BMW M8, sending them into the pits for repairs. The next car to cross the line was the #25 Vorteks Simsports Porsche who had fought their way up the order throughout the race. The #83 Rookie Monster car came home third in a strong performance for the first round.
Round 2 - Slovakia Ring
The teams approached round 2 with caution after concerns of "flying LMP2 cars" littered the Discord channels. Despite the concerns raised, the track did not change, with teams having to brace themselves for the several "mountains" located at several parts of the circuit. Of course, this was round 2, Slovakia Ring. Once more, it was L.Arisi in the #44 Reborn Racer car that took pole position, displaying once again that he is the fastest man on the grid in the lmp2 field. Also once more the #41 Fair Racing car lined up alongside for the start line with the rest of the grid also close behind.
The safety guides the teams on their warm up lap
GTE was extremely close, with just tenths of a second between several of the teams! It really was a closely packed session with the most minor mistakes, carrying such large consequences. It was, however, the #43 Black Hawk BMW who took pole position. Alonside, with their best every qualifying result was the #32 Taco viper Virtual Porsche, with A.Otreba behind the wheel for the green. The winners from last round (Secora racing) finished the session in P6, with several other teams adjusting well to the Slovakia Circuit.
The #20 crashes at Turn 3
Once more the green flag was flown, this time without any incidents in turn one. An early attack from the #20 ANBU car would put the #41 under pressure as they snuck up the inside line. Pim Van Ark who was driving the #41 was having none of it though and defends aggressively on the outside line of turn 2. The #20 would line up behind the #41 on the run down to turn 3 but would crash into the barrier after out-braking themselves, falling to the bottom in class at such an early stage of the event.
#88 claims P2 from #32
In GTE the #43 Black Hawk car made its escape while the #32 Taco Viper Virtual Racing car, #13 Rapid Racing, and #88 Secora Racing team fought between one another for the remaining positions. The #25 Vorteks Simsports car was also showing strong pace but would sadly crash into the barrier at the end of Sector 2 as they tried to avoid a slow #20 ANBU LMP2 car. The #32, driven by A.Otreba soon came under attack from the #88 Secora Racing, with G.Bulat taking the inside line into turn 1. G.Bulat would carry on to catch up with the race leader (#43 Black Hawk Racing) and would stay attached, with neither team being able to gain an advantage.
#01 and #41 go flying
The #01 Black Hawk LMP2 Car was also displaying good pace during the event, but close behind was the #41 Fair Racing car driven by P.Ark. As the two teams entered the second half of the event, they went two wide over one of three crests with both cars going airborne for a split second. The #41 would take the position, continuing their charge towards the #44 Reborn Racer team, who was still leading in class.
Further down the order in GTE plenty of battles unfolded as pit stops and different strategies took place. The #77 F1Bros Racing team came under attack by the #40 Mad E-Hawk racing team as they entered turn 1, moving up the order into 7th place. Also struggling to defend their position was the #32 Taco Viper Virtual Racing team, as the #13 Rapid racing BMW, who had a strong race, closed the gap in the last 30m of the event. They both entered sector 2, with the #32 going wide into turn 5. The #13 car seized the opportunity, climbing up into P3 in class.
#88 and #43 make contact
Battles also took place between the #43 and the #88 cars as they tried to claim that overall top spot before the
chequered flag. The battle raged on for several laps before the #88 took the lead after making a move down into turn one. #43 was not ready to yield just yet though, fighting fiercely and using the slipstream they took the inside line into turn 3. The #43 manages somehow to get alongside the #88 as both navigate their way around the corner at speed, both on the absolute limit. As both cars exited the corner, they make contact, with the #88 being sent off track limits into one of many barriers located at the Slovakia Circuit. The #88 would still be able to continue but would fall several places after requiring repairs.
#40 takes on the #39 into Turn 1
The #40 Mad E-Hawk car would continue to impress the organisers as they charge onto the podium after doing battle with the #39 Cheeba Hawk car. A strong performance from both teams, but sadly only 3 cars can claim they had the glory of stepping on those podium points. That doesn't mean there weren't points to be had though, as the #14 Seawolf Netrace Motorsport teams went toe-to-toe with the #83 Rookie Monster LMP2 for 3rd in Class. A mistake from the #14 would allow the Rookie Monster car so make an easy pass, before driving into the distance to secure that podium LMP2 spot. The #14 would also lose a further position to the #69 Hansa Racing car, finishing in 5th place after what was a strong race.
#43 and #93 make contact with fatal results
If that wasn't enough, the Leading GTE car made contact with the backmarker GTE of Triple S Racing, sending both cars spiralling off track and into the barrier, the leading #43 suffered severe damage, losing their rear wing and crabbing all the way to the pit lane where they would lose the lead and several positions. All of this of course was good news for the teams who had been fighting for the remaining positions, as the #13, #32 and #40 Mad E-Hawk race cars moved up into the podium positions.
The lead for LMP2 was also up for grabs as the #41 brought down the gap to the #44 Reborn Racer Car in the final stages. As they entered sector2 the #44 carries too much speed entering corner 5, running into the gravel trap where they lost several seconds. The Fair racing team #41 decided that it was time to take the lead of the race, going two wide for 2-3 corners before seizing the inside line down into turn 8!
#44 and #41 go side by side for the lead!
In the end, the #41 would claim victory in LMP2 after a great battle with the #41, with the #44 Reborn Racers coming home in second place. The #83 Rookie Monster LMP2 rounded out the podium positions in LMP2. GTE saw a new winner in the shape of the #13 Rapid Racing BMW M8, followed by the #32 Porsche for Taco Viper Virtual Racing, with the #40 Mad E-Hawk racing car lining up in third after a great final push in the final half of the race.
Round 3 - Silverstone
Before we broke up for Xmas we visited the home of British Motorsport. Silverstone was just last Sunday for round 3 of the series and already we had seen some intense racing. The LMP2 field was tied for both 1st, 2nd and third place, just showing how competitive the field is this year. This then was the last chance had to claim that top spot before the new year.
The grid visits Silverstone for Round 3
It was a dominating qualifying session from the #44 Reborn Racer driver L.Arisi as he claimed and kept the top spot from the word go in LMP2, however that does not mean he had an easy life. The #41 kept within 0.3 seconds of the team at all times, responding to the pace as and when required, creating a two-horse race before the green. Lining up on the second row was the #69 Hansa Racing car along with Team #20 ANBU LMP2.
In GTE, a last minute dash to the line would allow the #43 Black Hawk Team to secure 2nd place in class ahead of the #88 Secora Racing BMW. However, it was not enough to steal the top spot from the #37 Cheeba Hawk Porsche, driven by C.Severt. Lining up further down the order was a very competitive GTE field, with only tenths between the qualifying times before the green.
#20 collides into "the loop"
The LMP2 field has a ropy start to the race as the Leader failed to start the race at the designated line. Several teams tried to take advantage of the situation by accelerating early, but with limited track space available this led to a bit of contact between the teams. The first casualty would be the #20 ANBU as they misjudge the braking into turn 3, collecting team #01 of Black Hawk Racing and the #69 Hansa Car.
#43 leads the field into Lap 1
In GTE, Black Hawk racing took the lead before turn 1 as the #37 struggled to get up to speed in time. In the background Team, RSI who started from P5 would drop down the order as several teams scramble to get an early advantage. The GTE field navigated their way onto the Wellington straight where they would meet a battered #01 Black Hawk LMP2 car. Running off the circuit and trying to regain some form of posture, D.Potor darts back onto the track, sideswiping one of the Cheeba Hawk cars. What followed was a massacre, as cars travel at speed in all directions, along with bystanders and drivers unable to navigate safely through the narrow gaps that presented themselves.
Several cars crash on Wellington Straight
#20 challenges #14 for P3 in LMP2
As time went on the madness began to calm. #88 Secora racing would claim P2 from Cheeba Hawk Eracing with a bold move down into Vale. The two cars would stay side by side until they reached the exit of Club Corner, the BMW making a quick getaway. In LMP2, it was the #14 Seawolf Netrace Motorsport team who scrambled to 3rd in class, they realised quickly what was going on at the start and slid down the inside, claiming several positions. It was not to last however as the #20 ANBU car played out their recovery drive, taking the outside line into Vale, they quickly laid claim to the last remaining podium position.
Team RSI (Porsche) move up the order in GTE
The Defending champions at Team RSI also had a job to do. Already two rounds had passed and they had yet to see a podium finish. They went to work, moving against the Corvette C7 from Rookie Monsters as they entered Luffield. Employing a 3 stop strategy, D.Vidimari and his teammates would hold nothing back to climb back up the order. They climbed up the order, even getting into P1 in class as the other teams dived into the pit lane. As they re-emerged a familiar sight was presented to us. The #88 Secora Racing BMW closed in behind with a battle looming in the distance. Both cars went side to side as they entered Hanger straight, team RSI being compromised by the LMP2 from Rookie Monsters. #88 Secora Racing car retook the lead of GTE before reaching Stowe.