Mr Watton Returns with his sim racing weekly blog here at simrace247.com. This week in blog #3 it’s about to get busy.
Here is my third blog for the sim racing community 1/04/21
Let me start off by saying what a week! I don’t think I’ve ever driven so many miles when it comes to racing. Throw in your practice sessions and being active within the various discords and social media, it’s almost like a full-time job.
So, let me start with the Chris Haye GT3 Championship. I would also like to share my thanks to the Sim Contender for the recommendation in joining such a fantastic group of sim racers who are so so quick, these races are once a month for the whole year. I had my doubts initially, what with my own personal beliefs on my sim racing and the ever-self-critical consistency, I thought it best to push my comfort zone and see how I got on. As long as I got out of people’s way who were faster, that was the good plan to aim for.
Going for the PRO class maybe is a step too far but I will get on to that later. Practice went super well running 8th out of a huge grid of approx. 30 cars. My laps times were not mega faster, but faster than I have ever driven before. My heart was pounding at this point, I’m going to be like a moving wall for 60 minutes! Qualifying was a different matter, coming in the top 20 of drivers, this knocked me back to reality. I’m comfortable here I thought. Red to green and we are GO, GO, GO, 60 minutes of Imola. I had an awesome time, getting close to the top 10s at one point, but bang issues with pitstops. Why do I now have an issue with Pit Stops in ACC I thought. Speeding was the issue and what I’ve never done before is moved up from 1st to 2nd which disables the limiter. Make a mental note of for those reading this, it will cost you a 30 second stop/go penalty. You have been warned! This penalty pushed me right back to where I started, but I had the most amazing time. If anyone who is part of this race series is reading this, I am looking forward to the next race next month already.
Back to my Wednesday slot of ACC with Sim Racing Systems, were now at Laguna Seca! This is a track that I love to hate. In fact, I do not know anyone who does not dislike this track in one way or another. Do you like it, or do you hate it as much as me? let me know. But this time it was a different story. Practice went well, even the qualifying went well. I felt a little intrigued at this point, but I could only put it down to the Chris Haye racing the night before. Perhaps the constant driving of the same car is starting to pay off. Race mode activated, it was time to knuckle down and get stuck in for another 1-hour session. I felt so at ease. Yes, the corkscrew bit me a few times, but I got up to 5th place! 5th place! But with 10 minutes to go a Bentley that had spun at the Rahal Straight made me go off track and I started losing positions…argh all that effort. At this point I dug deep and came 7th in the end…but wow, how different to past races was this. Expecting the worse but coming top 10! Who knew?
Thursday was relax day, we all need the odd day off as sim racers I think. It just resets your mind slightly. Now it’s Friday. Fridays as ever keeps me on my toes. Two races on a Friday, GT4s and then a new series, 420R Caterhams. GT4s were great at Oulton Park. You only get 20 minutes to race this one, but I found that was enough for this mighty Aston Martin. Battling with the Porsches was fun, especially as I’ve never really driven this track with GT4s before. My Thrustmaster wheelbase was away for a warranty repair when the British pack came out, so I didn’t get a chance to do my usual in-depth racing. But yes, great fun but I just could not get past the guys ahead. Felt a bit gutted in this one but again we finished in the top 10. That then set me up for the Caterhams just after, but this time I hadn’t put any practice in….I know, I know, I’m such a bad guy!
These Caterhams though, OMG I would so love a drive of a real one of these. I’ve driven an Aerial Atom before so leaves me wondering what they would be like? hmmm. Anyway, I digress, the track this time was Thruxton. Another track I’ve not really had any experience on, other than watching on TV, left me in the dark. Practice showed this coming 23rd. haha. I’m holding my head in shame here but I can’t be great all of the time. This whole race when the light went green was just full of laughter really. The cars are so much fun to drive. All that power through the rear wheels, and being such a light car, and such a packed grid, it was just, brilliant. We got up to 11th I think until a slight off track and another Caterham understeering (odd for a RWD car) into me crashed me off, right near the end as well. Why does this always happen to me? I need to start removing those magnets from my cars.
So that was my action-packed week really. So many races. Two 1-hour races and two 20 minutes races, I thoroughly enjoyed all the time with only the odd mishap here and there. But you know what…consistency is coming, and as for that PRO class rating, and getting top 5 at Laguna, and top 5 on another race that I will report on next week, I think I might just stay there. It might even be my lucky Mr Watton merch that I’m wearing making me faster…(insert laughter here)
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