Daytona Road was the destination for Simtech Racing this weekend (3rd April 2021), 2nd outing at this circuit after the 24Hr endurance race that took place in Janurary.
3 Simtech Racing teams took to the track for this event, Simtech Racing, GT3 #1, GT3 #2 and GT3 #5 (I feel I need to point out that numbering has no bearing on the team, we increment the team number as needed).
Simtech Racing GT3 #1 drivers: myself, Muzzy and Bram.
Simtech Racing GT3 #2 drivers: Joseph Keaveney, Scotty Angelo and Dean Catherwood.
Simtech Racing GT3 #5 drivers: Peter Jones and Callum West.
Simtech Racing GT3 #1 and GT3 #5 were in Split 5.
Qualifying for STR GT3 1 was myself, and although the lap was OK I feel there was just a little more that could have been done, but we qualified 5th in the 50 strong field, STR GT3 5 qualified 37th, and in the split above STR GT3 2 qualified in 12th.
With all cars trying to hold position for the first few laps the the racing was close but not overly aggressive, knowing that an incident in the notorious hard braking points at this circuit has the potential to cause a major pile up kept drivers honest and patient.
However it was hard to be patient for an extended length of time when the drafting plays such a big part and it wasn’t too long before the positions started to change around, at some point during this spell of the race STR GT3 5 had an incident which enforced an early pitstop on them, but they were not about to call it a day, even with the car lacking power and were soon back out in the thick of the racing.
STR GT3 1 were soon on the tail of the 3rd position car of Frobo212 Racing and a race long battle was to follow but not always this close, they drove an extremely good race.
Throughout the first stint there was little drama (just how I like it), but good racing, lapped cars were happy to allow the leading pack through where possible whilst having their own battles.
Soon it was hand over time and what seems to have become a bit of a recurring theme we rolled into our pit box in 1st place, however we rejoined in 6th as some cars had taken a very early pit stop during the mid stage of the first stint, a tactic that was soon to become clear to us.
Muzzy was out of the pits and straight into a series of good battles for his entire stint, pounding away at the laps and keeping the car safe.
Some good quality racing ensued which was very enjoyable to watch and seeing both Simtech cars on track together was a rare moment as Peter and Callum were also pounding away at the laps with their underpowered Ferrari.
Soon it was time for the last handover, Muzzy brought the car into the pits again in 1st place (we believe about 3rd overall) but the afore mentioned pitstop strategy was becoming obvious, there was approx 1 hr 10 minutes to go in the race, and the Ferrari could manage about 55 minutes on a full tank, so as Bram took to the track we started to test our previously used fuel saving techniques (coast into corners and adjust the fuel mapping to a leaner mixture), but after about 3 laps we were still not confident that this would get us to the end of the race, so we decided on a early fuel stop, with a generous guess to what was needed to see us through, we slightly over fuelled which in the scheme of things cost us about 3 – 5 seconds on the leader.
So with an early stop to fuel us to the end Bram set about cutting through the traffic, with the laps running out he took 2nd place and started chasing the leader who was 30 seconds down the road, and it was quite a chase, whilst this chase was ongoing STR GT3 5 were cutting through the traffic and into 28th.
Bram never got the chance to have one final run on the leader as the chequered flag came too soon for us, but he had done a great job closing the gap to 10.5 seconds, however we were pleased with our 2nd position and STR GT3 5 were very pleased to nurse their car over the line in a very respectable 28th position.
STR GT3 2 had an interesting race in their split, being caught up in a couple of accidents that were out of their control finally bringing the car home in 30th position, so once again all Simtech cars finished the VRS race and more experience was gained.
The next round is Lime Rock Park 10/04/2021 and we will be looking to field at least 3 teams.