Once again we challenged our community and they answered in kind. The 90m of VIR saw drivers take their machines to this deadly narrow piece of tarmac located in the United States. GTE and GT3 cars lined up two by two for the start of what would be a gruelling race.
Cars lined up two-by-two for the start
The qualifying session saw the front runners push another to the upper-most limits. D.Vidimari would steal pole position for Team RSI in GTE, his teammate T.Urbinati would hold onto 2nd place for a long time, before Fair racing's P.Holt split the two RSI cars, claiming that P2 spot. Just outside the podium was T.Jansen, not able to find that extra tenth to secure P3. The Rest of the GTE order was also close behind, all setting 1:41's as the session ended.
In GT3 it was F1 Bros Racing driven by D.Castillo-Sims that secured the top spot, an eager B.Kiss lining up alongside in his Mclaren 720s. Chaos Engineering and Team RSI occupied the second row after a hard-fought qualifying round, looking forward as the safety car completed the warm-up lap.
A mistake from P.Holt allowed T.Urbinati into 2nd place
From the low rumbling engines came a burst of energy as the drivers began their 90 sprint, the GTE's leading the way down into turn 1. D. Vidimari held onto 1st place, denying P.Holt of Fair Racing any opportunity to take the lead. The first lap completed, P.Holt would seize up the rear of his Porsche 911 RSR into the first braking zone. Not one to miss an opening, T.Urbinati claimed the inside line, beginning his attack on his team-mate who was just ahead.
Team Simco take the lead in GT3
In GT3 the top 5 were wheel to wheel for the race start. Team Simco's B.Kiss showed his eagerness by reminding D.Castillo-Sims that he was still there, exchanging paintwork with the front and rear bumpers on both cars. The Porsche held onto the lead for a few laps, but the pace of the Mclaren shone through in the end. Running down the back straight towards Roller Coaster the Mclaren took the outside line. Using the track available B.Kiss would then claim the inside line for the next corner, a brilliant move to take the lead in GT3 at the early stages.
A.Feletto gets sent off track as the #77 moves onto the inside
Meanwhile close behind was A.Feletto in the Team RSI Audi R8. Keeping a close eye on the leaders he showed that he had the pace to contend for the overall win at this event. Sadly it would not come to fruition as the #77 GTE from MRT RaceF1 would make a questionable challenge through the esses in sector two. A.Feletto was sent spiralling out of control and into the barrier, resulting in extensive damage and a DNF.
T.Urbinati makes a mistake, causing extensive damage
Further casualties would be claimed by the VIR circuit as the race unfolded. T.Urbinati would run wide on the exit of South Bend, powering down to avoid losing time, the Porsche began to oversteer towards the tire wall. The car impacted hard, with the rear axle leaving the ground from the sheer momentum carried. Another sad end to another strong competitor.
Team Seawolf and MRT fight for P4 in class
Fighting for the top 5 was the #12 Seawolf Netrace Porsche and the #77 MRT Racef1 Team when side by side on the run down to sector 3, the BMW appeared to struggle as the race unfolded, allowing the Porsches to pounce, claiming the positions. M.Tocco, who was the #12 Seawolf Netrace driver, would then choose to pit early as he began to chase down his team-mate who was occupying P3 in class. After a quicker stop, he would claim the remaining spot on the podium in GTE, his team-mate unable to respond. The two would cross the finish line with just 0.6 seconds between them, a true display of consistency within the team.
Chaos Engineering catch P2 in class to unlap themselves
In GT3 Team Simco had extended their lead over the F1 Bros Racing Porsche. Further down the order, Chaos Engineering were on a recovery drive of a lifetime. Driven by K.Sharp they caught up to P.Hertz, another F1 Bros Racing Porsche who was holding onto P2 at the time. Using the slipstream, the Mclaren 650s would unlap itself and begin the charge to regain lost ground. In the final stages of the race, P.Hertz would enter the pit lane, allowing Chaos Engineering onto the podium in P3.
Both Seawolf Porsches cross the line with less than a second between them for P3 in GTE
The flag finally dropped as the sun began to set at VIR, D.Vidimari taking the flag for GTE and Team RSI. A tough race for Fair racing and P.Holt, as he crossed the line in 2nd place. Then came the two Seawolf Porsches, crossing the line together as a team. In GT3, team Simco and B.Kiss had done all that was required to claim victory in class, the Mclaren 720s still displaying front damage from the battle for the lead. D.Castillo-Sims brought home the F1 Bros Racing Porsche in 2nd, followed by Chaos Engineering in 3rd.
It was a brutal race, despite there only being 15 starters, VIR showed us why it is such a revered circuit in the motorsport world. Narrow tarmac, high-speed corners and merciless barriers. Those that survived deserved to make the chequered flag, it takes more than just being quick to be successful here.
Until next time, thanks for reading.