The penultimate outing of the 35 week IRacing Powered BSRTC Pro Series – a Touring Car Championship that sees 50 of the best Sim Racers from over the world compete for a chunk of the $10,000 cash prize – was held at Sebring International Raceway yesterday.
Streamed live on ApexRacing TV’s Youtube Channel and IRacing’s Twitch TV Channel to reach a cumulative audience of over 1,000 – the event saw up to three of Higher Eclectic’s indie game community members debut their ventures during the event’s livestream at 8.15 P.M GMT in the form of 30 second ad spots.
The first of these was GoManga Interactive, a young team of independent Italian game developers brought together by Luigi Squillante, who sponsored Team Peter Newman Media’s – and one of the BSRTC’s – quickest racing driver Ashley Sutton. Sutton, 2015’s Renault CUK Clio Cup Champion as part of the official BTCC Team BMR, finished the first round of the race in 13th place after a 32nd place start before being prevented from finishing the next couple of rounds as the result of two separate racing incidents.
GoManga’s sponsorship of the driver witnessed the indie team of developers debut an exclusive teaser of their upcoming horror trip Insane Decay Of Mind: The Sounds of Silence. The tale of one Katherine Watson who – trapped in World War II era ‘St. Anger Manor’ with no escape – must fight against a terrifying past that continues to imprison her within a living nightmare, Insane Decay Of Mind is currently well within development as documented on the community. The teaser more than anything, served to announce the game’s upcoming crowdfunding campaign that is set to commence by the end of the year.
Next in line was Ashley McConnell, Lead Software Developer of the indie racing simulator Online Racing Championship. The ORC sponsored Team Laser Tools’ driver Aleksandar Smolensky, currently 4th in contention for the $1,000 prize that comes with the Championship’s PRO Driver’s title. Smolensky placed himself on the podium as a result of a 3rd place finish at the end of Round 1 followed by a 11th place finish in Round 2. He was unable to complete the final round as the result of a racing incident.
Regardless, the ORC debuted an exclusive teaser that aimed to invite sim-racing enthusiasts to download its Alpha via the game’s portal. Still within development, the ORC is all set to use a Formula One team engineered physics engine, response towards which has been rather positive among indie and sim-racing circles. Although not a part of the community yet, Higher Eclectic Ground is currently in communication with McConnell to set a collaboration in motion.
Lastly, while unable to premiere a teaser during the race, independent Isle of Lewis based electronic music label Isle Of Bass went on to sponsor the entire New Homes Digital Team of PRO Drivers Jamie Rushworth, Ellis ‘Kip’ Stephens, Jamie Fluke and AM Drivers Laura Bond and Steve Richardson. With an audience of 10,000 plus spread across SoundCloud, Youtube, Twitter, MixCloud and Bandcamp, the label promotes independent music creations spanning genres such as Drum and bass, Dubstep, House music, Electro and many more. Currently a partner of the Higher Eclectic Ground community, Isle of Bass aims to provide independent video game developers with access to talented EDM musicians from under the label.
The reason behind its sponsorship including an entire team of drivers and not a solo racer lies in the fact that the label had applied for the same well before the official announcement was amended to restrict sponsorships to solo drivers only.
Given that the race will also be broadcast live on MotorsTV UK – a counterpart of Europe’s largest motorsport – on the 10th of December, each of the above sponsors will also have their ventures advertised during the one hour telecast, via animated on-screen popups. Moreover, while each will be making an appearance within the final week of the championship at Daytona Road on the 3rd of December, several more of the community’s independent game developers are to debut their games as well.
A live stream to the races – which will commence at 8.15 P.M GMT – will be posted on the community well in advance. To learn more of how an uncanny collaboration with the BSRTC is helping Higher Eclectic Ground provide the independent game and art community with opportunities for exposure via sim-racing motorsport like never before, have a look at our announcement from last week that also outlines the criteria for independent game developers to participate.
Catch the Ad Spots At The Start Of The Race and During The 10 Minute Breaks at 51:14 and 1:39:00.
This Really Is What A Serious IRacing League Looks Like – Race 3 Of 5 Of The BSRTC Pro Series’ Showdown.BSRTC PRO Series, Features
In stark contrast to the hubbub prior to the race at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace (Interlagos) circuit that took place on the 12th of November, pre-race chatter at best was minimal due in part to the week-long maintenance that had engulfed the IRacing’s portal. As drivers huddled together to discuss alternate courses of action should IRacing’s downtime not end in time for the live broadcast on ApexRacing TV and IRacing Live, I quickly set about putting my facts together.
PRO Standings after last week’s race at Interlagos.
After an incredibly eventful last couple of rounds at Interlagos, the PRO Drivers’ standings had taken quite the toss-up. The highlight of course, being Apex Racing TV’s Sebastian Job – Number Two within the standings post Okayama, 5 points behind Engine Oil Direct’s Wojceich Swirydovicz – who after crashing out in two separate incidents on Rounds 92 and 93 had dropped down to 7th place with a gap of 110 points between him and the lead. The first of those incidents had involved Swirydovicz accidentally swinging New Homes’ Jamie Fluke’s car into the side of Job, resulting not only in the Engine Oil Direct driver being barred from participating in this week’s qualification by the race’s stewards but also a negation of points gained over Round 92.
With his lead of 118 points now reduced to 37 over Andreas Katz, the leader board was to undergo a significant amount of change especially as the 10 remaining drivers eligible for the Showdown – each separated from the other by but a handful of points –commenced the night’s race well ahead of him. Meanwhile the AM battle would be sustained by Apex Racing’s Richard Gore and Stem Sim’s Paul Smith, both of whom were separated by a meagre 3 points given their tendency to start, race and finish in close proximity with one another countless times over the season– so much so that both had ended up making contact and diving into the barrier head on at Interlagos at precisely the same time. Merely 36 points behind them was John Roberts who similar to Swirydovicz, would start from the rear of the pack as per the Stewards’ demands after a 91st round incident at Interlagos. And yet, Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (MoSport) would be no cakewalk – a point explained by the BSRTC’s Keeper Of Scores and PRO Engine Oil driver, Jeroen Keizer prior to the race.
‘Yesterday’s practice was great. It’s without a doubt MoSport will be just as amazingly action packed as Interlagos’, he stated, referring to the practice races the drivers subject themselves to on a Tuesday prior to the actual race. ‘Overtaking on the track is never easy and should you feel the need to – you will have to set it up in advance. Sure, we had that at Okayama too but, yeah. The Kia’s will rest between 3rd to 4th gear for a large part of the race, except at the hairpin between turns 5 and 6 where it’s got to go down to 2nd. The best place for drivers to overtake would be the corner at the end of the straight – although overtaking from either the inside or the outside will require a decent pair of b*lls’.
MoSport Track Layout.
B*lls or not, drivers would unfortunately have only Tuesday’s set of races to rely on for the official race on Thursday. Maintenance had ended but a few minutes prior to the scheduled 8.15 P.M GMT broadcast, forcing the organizers to restrict the usual three-hour practice to but 10 minutes along with routine 20 minute qualification – that normally comprised of a 10 minute open qualification session followed by a 10 minute top-15 shootout – to just the 10 minute open session. Lap times differed by their usual few hundredths of a second and just as the pack of 35 was retiring to the pits, an over-zealous Sebastian Job decided to cut past GT Omega’s Daniel Hunt on entry into the lane for some reason – scraping against the barrier as a result, spinning Hunt and propping him belly up before pushing past him to his pit slot. Job did file a protest against his own behaviour, before taking to the Youtube stream’s live chat to apologise to Hunt publicly and hope that his self be penalised for what he called ‘the dumbest thing he had done in a long time.’
This means that for the week that followed, Job’s protest was handed to a panel of 20 expert drivers from within and outside the series who then conducted an elaborate study of the incident. A vote was cast by each panel member at the end of the week prior to the next race – specifying whether Daniel Hunt, Job or none were responsible for the incident. The majority of the votes ruled in Hunt’s favour of course, leading Job to incur a 10 place grid penalty on the 98th round at Sebring.
Now that the penalty is served, Job has the option of appealing against the panel’s decision – in which case a replay of the incident in ‘Chase Camera’ view will be constructed for everyone involved in the PRO Series. A round of public voting will then commence, following which the penalty will either be repealed if votes stand against the panel’s majority vote or doubled (barring him from participation in the qualifiers of the next two races, for instance) if the public’s majority vote aligns with that of the panel. This only proves that the BSRTC cares and does not want you worrying about the incident reflecting poorly on the series and IRacing as a whole, for any presumptions made regarding a lack of action being taken against erratic driving.
Round 94 – B*lls To The (Tyre)Wall.
Not surprisingly, it would be Peter Newman Media’s Ashley Sutton involving himself in the b*llsy outside-inside overtaking that would grant him a win on the first round at MoSport. Sutton, despite having set the fastest lap in practice, had begun the race in 6th place to quickly move through the ranks of GT Omega’s Steliyan Chepilevsky and Laser Tools’ Aleksandar Smolensky in 5th and 4th place respectively over but a span of 4 laps.
Euro Chip’s Andreas Katz and New Homes’ Jamie Fluke in 3rd and 4th place turned out to be the next in line, as Sutton exhibited significant dominance in overtaking both PRO Drivers from the outside of Turn 8 on two separate instances – although Katz admitted later that he was simply taking it easy. ApexRacing’s Sebastian Job on the other hand would prove to be the only resilient force – managing to hold his own against Sutton’s outside line manoeuvre and even set him sideways on Turn 8 for a few moments- conceding to the Peter Newman driver only by lap 12 to finish in 2nd place.
New Homes’ Jamie Rushworth, GT Omega’s Daniel Hunt, Stem Sim’s David Baker and Hunt’s team mate Michael Schellbach wound up the top 10 – having formed a train that span but 2.2 seconds and finished nearly 10 seconds ahead of Engine Oil’s Jeroen Keizer in 11th place. Although Schellbach had begun the race in 13th place, the round’s first of two major back-to-back incidents involving team mate Yulian Genovski in 10th place on Lap 1 served to place him ahead even as he’d come dangerously close to being wiped out in the ruckus.
Genovski – post an inside line through Turn 2 on Lap 1 that placed him beside Baker – lost all control as he moved into Turn 3 from the outside, making contact with Baker’s rear as a result and setting himself into a drift that nearly put the Stem Sim driver and team mate Schellbach behind him in into the barrier. While Baker and Schellbach made it through miraculously and comparatively unscathed, a coincidental nudge by Keizer served to end Genovski’s sideway action – sending the GT Omega driver into the barrier, though not without having ApexRacing’s Blackhall establish contact first.
Genovski immediately ricocheted back on track, causing Stem Sim’s Ben Palmer in 18th place to brake promptly in an attempt to avoid imminent carnage. Unfortunately Palmer’s braking had caught Euro Chip’s Rob Fagg behind him unaware, causing him to accidentally shove the Stem Sim driver into the tyre barrier opposite Genovski as he made contact with the dizzy GT Omega driver himself. Looking back at the events that had transpired with Genovski, team mate Russell Laidler who finished in 17th place after a 15th place start wasn’t pleased with Keizer’s involvement. ‘I had a good start in race 1, but that was put on hold after Jeroen Keizer saw my Teammate Genovski having a moment and decided to drive through him rather than use the middle pedal and slow up.’
As vehicles swerved this way and that, Stem Sim’s Paul Smith and Peter Newman Media’s eponymous driver in 24th and 25th respectively, prepared to descend down the hill towards turn 4 only to have Smith bounce off Newman’s side, wind up sideways and send a dodging Andrew Whitehead behind him into the barrier with a force suffiecient to effectively end the Engine Oil driver’s race. As Smith now faced oncoming traffic, he was barged into by PRO Driver Lee Thompson – who was in the midst of his first Showdown race after a two week absence – subjecting the ApexRacing driver to mortal damage that would end his race by Lap 9.
Stem Sim’s Paul Smith Faces Oncoming Traffic As Andrew Whitehead Drives Towards The Barrier
Fortunately for Smith, Peter Newman’s Simon Field would wind up making contact with ApexRacing’s Richard Gore – damaging the AM championship’s then leading contender’s car and preventing him from finishing the race altogether. Field would later involve himself in an incident that would have him flip Euro Chip’s Lee Berridge’s car around Turn 7 on Lap 5, ending both of their races in the process as well. While the gap between Smith and Gore continued to differ by but 3 points, Engine Oil’s John Roberts’ 22nd place finish managed to place him ahead of Gore in 1st place of the AM Standings.
New Homes’ Laura Bond meanwhile finished in 14th place ahead of her 17th place start, despite reaching but an inch’s distance from the tyre barrier on Turn 8 after being unable to sustain herself on the outside as Euro Chip’s Hefford moved to her inside on Lap 3. Hefford was later put into the tyres at nearly the same spot by Blackhall on Lap 12 who, despite enjoying a considerably better race in 12th place as opposed to his recent ones, dropped down to 19th as a result of the damage sustained. Bond’s team mate and AM contender Steve Richardson proved to be less fortunate than her however, after contact with Laser Tools’ Robert Graham and a subsequent barrier collision in 25th place served to set him back two places on the final lap.
Lot of incidents, yes we know. And so, worried as we were that you might conclude that the BSRTC is giving sim-racing motorsport a bad name after witnessing the entire ordeal on MotorsTV UK, we’d like to inform our readers that each of the incidents involving Ben Palmer and Rob Fagg, Peter Newman and Paul Smith, Simon Field and Lee Berridge, Jake Blackhall and Steve Hefford & Steve Richardson and Rob Graham were protested against. All events – with the exception of that involving Blackhall and Hefford – were ruled out as incidental race occurrences.
Through it all, Swirydovicz had stealthily found his place in 13th place – a whopping 19 places ahead of where he had begun. With every one of the PRO Standings’ top 10 drivers – except for New Homes’ Kip Stephens who finished in 18th place ahead of his 22nd position grid start and dropped to 4th place in the standings as a result – having finished ahead of Swirydovicz, the gap between Katz and him within the standings had now been reduced to but 20 points.
Round 95 – Playing It Cool.
The drop in temperature by nearly 4 degrees Fahrenheit did not bode well for the drivers. That, coupled with the cold tyres the drivers had on along with what Laser Tools’ Rob Graham called s***t IRacing physics, would turn Clayton Corner into a descent to hell for the first couple of laps. As Friction Racing’s Colin Cunniffe drifted off into the field opposite Turn Two endlessly, Laser Tools’ Graham had lined up alongside team mate Scott Malcolm’s outside for entry into the very same corner in 22nd place.
As Malcom braked in a straight line in preparation for his descent down the hill, Graham was already out of control – battering himself into Malcolm’s side under braking with enough force to send his team mate into the track barrier on his right in reverse, before crashing into it himself. Their races had more or less come to an end, though not without taking several others into the pit with them – Peter Newman Media’s Steve Burke had already lost himself well before the Laser Tools fiasco, drifting past them to land in the field where Cunniffe had a while ago before crashing into the barrier at its end.
Sigh. Just another day with the BSRTC.
As Euro Chip’s Hefford rammed into a rebounding Malcolm to push him in New Homes’ Steve Richardson’s way in 26th place, Ben Palmer of Stem Sim Racing and Apex Racing TV’s Lee Thompson were already mid-air – after Thompson had ended up nudging Palmer’s side in a fashion similar to the way Graham had Malcolm’s, sending the Stem Sim driver into a still-petrified Graham’s side before being hurled into the air along with him. AM contender Paul Smith of Stem Sim Racing completed the Malcolm-Hefford sandwich, forcing the Euro Chip driver to meet Apex Racing’s AM representative Richard Gore in a head on crash despite Gore’s hard braking measures.
The bloodbath’s sole survivors would be GT Omega’s Julian Genovski (Who quickly lost control and crashed into the tyre barrier at Turn 3 by himself anyway), Euro Chip’s Lee Berridge – whose approach to the crash site was delayed by an out of control Simon Field on Turn One in 33rd place before going on to remarkably finish in 19th place- and Engine Oil’s Andrew Whitehead. John Roberts then would be the only AM championship contender to finish the round, being as New Homes’ Laura Bond would face disqualification after an incident that would put an end to team mate Jamie Fluke and Colin Cuniffe’s races as well.
Once again, it is important that the cold track and tyre conditions be taken into account before conclusions with regards to the BSRTC’s drivers mentality be made. As Graham stated later, ‘Really no one else should have been involved as were on the outside of the corner. Guess it just was a ripple effect.’ Regardless, Graham and Bond would be barred from the following week’s qualifiers based on votes cast against their respective incidents.
To top New Homes’ abundance of fortune, Ellis ‘Kip’ Stephens – who had led the round for two and a half laps from his pole position start like a ‘wiley ol’ fox that knows every trick in the book’, as Russell Laidler later put it – was shoved into the tyre barrier by leading PRO Driver Swirydovicz at the Esses, after the latter’s overtaking attempt from Stephen’s outside led him to lose grip and put a full stop on the New Homes driver’s race. Swirydovicz may have gone on to finish in third, though not without Stephens having his say over the airwaves – ‘I’m glad Woj (Swirydovicz) wrecked me, I was getting bored of racing for points to stay near the top. The gloves are off now – I’d still like the f***ing 90 points back though.’
When asked later if the points really made any difference to him, he retorted – from 7th place in the PRO Standings – ‘Of course it is! I’m racing for points to stay near the top, and show people how it’s really supposed to done when you call yourself a Professional driver!’ Not surprisingly, the much quieter Engine Oil Driver would go on to be barred from the following week’s qualifiers. Moreover, since the incident with Stephens had resulted in him earning 90 points in comparison to the latter’s naught – those points would be revoked from Swirydovicz’s MoSport winnings. Stephens, despite that, was not happy. ‘I LOST 90 points when he wrecked me. I’m still not f******g happy.’
My F*****g 90 points!
Scuffles aside, the New Homes flag was held high by the team’s sole surviving member Jamie Rushworth who had begun the race from 12th place on the grid. Post coming dangerously close to a premature finish in 5th place on Lap 3 after GT Omega’s Michael Schellbach had set him sideways on Turn 6’s exit and set him back two places behind Jeroen Keizer in 7th, Rushworth had not only managed to place ahead of them in the next lap but also move in to third place behind GT Omega’s Russell Laidler and Euro Chip’s Robert Fagg in 1st and 2nd place respectively, after the Swirydovicz – Stephens fracas.
Fagg’s subsequent Lap 8 field-trip on Turn 2 and Laidler’s following drop in pace due to a less than perfect tyre setup – which led the GT Omega driver to run wide into the grass at turn 7 and finish in 10th place – only served to cement Rushworth’s victory. His lead of over 1.5 seconds over the rest of the pack had managed to keep Peter Newman Media’s Ashley Sutton – who jumped up 10 places from his 18th place start by Lap 8 to finally finish in second place – at bay. ‘Standard New Homes quality I’d think. There’s a reason why our Facebook team chat was called ‘Don’t Get DQ’d’ for ages’, mused Rushworth when asked about his much superior consistency over the rest of his team.
As Stem Sim’s David Baker wound up in 6th place to maintain his 8th place within the PRO Standings – having conceded to Sutton, Swirydovicz, Keizer and Schellbach from being in 3rd place at one point of the race – he was closely followed by Euro Chip’s Andreas Katz who managed to stay ahead of PRO competition Sebastian Job, Steliyan Chepilevsky and Daniel Hunt in 8th, 9th and 11th place respectively. The gap between Katz and Swirydovicz now stood at 28 points while that between Job – once number two contender for the PRO Drivers’ until last week – and the Engine Oil driver stood at 95 points from the ApexRacing TV PRO’s 6th position in the Standings.
Kip Stephens insisted this be put in.
Round 96 – I Dive Bombed F****all, mate.
Ashley Sutton pulled out a second win for the night from his Peter Newman Media hat after having begun the round in 14th place while team manager Peter Newman dominated the starting grid’s pole. As Newman dropped behind Apex Racing TV’s Jake Blackhall by the Esses on Lap two to hold his ground in second place for up to 6 more laps – Sutton had whisked his way up to 11th place by the end of Lap 1 that saw him overtake Engine Oil team mates Jeroen Keizer and Wojceich Swirydovicz, the latter of whom had come dangerously close to painting the barrier along the Mario Andretti straight with Engine Oil colors after a minor tap by Sutton left him fishtailing, before blowing past Job’s tryst with the pit-lane divider.
Yes, Job’s race had come to a deafening end as he accidentally, albeit harshly, set Euro Chip’s Rob Fagg into a spin in 7th place – only to have GT Omega’s Steliyan Chepilevsky behind him crash into the Apex Racing TV driver as he braked to let Fagg regain his composure. While Chepilevsky would go on to finish in 8th place without qualms – except for Sutton deciding to challenge him to a bout of tandem drifting by Lap 4 that is – Job would finish the race in 25th place, one lap behind the rest of the field. Fortunately, he would still make it to 4th place in the Standings – given how both Jamie Rushworth and Daniel Hunt that were ahead of him on the leaderboard had found themselves in race-finishing incidents.
As Michael Schellbach crept along Engine Oil’s Dan Blake’s outside on Turn 10’s exit at the end of Lap 10, Blake had run wide – returning on track to bash into Schellbach’s side and send the GT Omega into the pit wall. Incidentally, Rushworth had found himself on the inside of Schellbach at the wrong time, causing him to wind up belly up against an oncoming John Roberts who had just about driven his brake pedals through the floor. Surprisingly John Roberts would go on to finish in 15th place behind New Homes’ Laura Bond – well ahead of AM competitors Paul Smith, Richard Gore and Steve Richardson – relatively unscathed.
A bloody emotional rollercoaster.
‘My Showdown has been a bloody emotional rollercoaster’, exclaimed an exasperate Rushworth after the round. ‘A win in the first week getting my hopes up, big crash at Interlagos knocking them back down, win again in Race 2 at Mosport here – so I think I’m back in with a shot at the title again – then getting caught in Blake and Schellback’s crash in race 3 straight after. Who knows what will happen next week!’ Irrespective of what would happen, Schellbach would be barred from next week’s qualifiers by the Panel – a decision his team mate Genovski would later regard as unjust given that ‘the other person (Dan Blake) was guilty of the incident.’
Shortly after the Blake – Schellbach – Rushworth incident, Andreas Katz in 3rd place was rammed into by GT Omega’s Daniel Hunt on Turn 3, setting the Euro Chip driver perpendicular to oncoming traffic while crashing into the tyre barrier himself. ‘It was my fault really, the closing speed caught me out’, confessed Hunt, who had now dropped down to 8th place in the PRO Standings and would also suffer a 10 place grid penalty in the forthcoming race as a result of the incident. Fortunately, Katz – who intends to win the PRO championship so that he can send his earnings to a charity for Orphans in Africa – wound up in 7th place altogether that kept the gap between him and Swirydovicz, who finished in 5th place, to 30 points.
‘The incident with Hunt cost me up to 4 positions and the worse thing?! Swirydovicz passing me!’, expressed Katz after the race. ‘That alone cost me valuable point for the championship. But anyway – I still gained points and am only 30 points behind. Surely, I should be winning my third championship within the BSRTC.’ Unbeknown to him, Swirydovicz’s 90 point loss as a result of the Stephens incident from the previous round would drop the Engine Oil to third place in the standings – 62 points behind Katz in 1st.
‘Katz and Smolenski might as well have a Bullseye painted on the back of their cars now, because no one will be giving them an inch of space for the next 6 races. Good luck with that’, voiced Kip Stephens who finished in 13th place from a 26th finish start and had a good chuckle on hearing about Swirydovicz’s ousting a few days later.
Amidst it all.
And so amidst all of this, Sutton had found himself behind Jake Blackhall in the lead by lap 13, before overtaking the ApexRacing driver who enjoyed perhaps his best race in recent times without turning victim to a major crash/incident, by the penultimate lap. Having begun in 10th place, Stem Sim’s David Baker had executed a cool, composed drive to round up the podium in third place and jump up to 5th place in the PRO Standings. Amusingly while a stealthy Aleksandar Smolensky would place Laser Tools in 11th place on the grid, team mates Rob Graham and Scott Malcom would come under the spotlight yet again on account of two separate yet proximate incidents.
Lap three had seen Graham dive into the field at Clayton Corner in 18th place due to a lack of grip and s***t IRacing physics. As he attempted to re-join the pack on entry to Turn – Richard Gore, then in 23rd place, had darted into the Laser Tools’ driver’s path only to be spun into the adjacent tyre barrier. The show would carry on all the way till Round 6 when Gore would descend into Clayton Corner (Yes, again – as Graham lost control ahead, again!) alongside Scott Malcolm beside him in 26th place. Of course, as two or more wide formations do nobody good on the BSRTC, Malcolm and Gore were quick to find themselves pasted against the barrier.
Having being penalised by the Panel with a Back Of Grid start for the incident with Gore, Graham wasn’t pleased. ‘I get done for Gore putting me in an impossible position after I just came back off the grass, yet he gets nothing for blatantly wiping Scott out later? Laughable!’
‘Wiping Scott out? Ha!’ Gore apparently was not out of earshot when the panel’s results were announced, ‘I held my line while he came across whereas you dive-bombed me after coming back on track. You could have eased off! For the record I could have made several protests but didn’t file any. By the time race 3 came around I was fed up with being punted around like one of Jim Davidson’s wives.’
‘I dive bombed f**k all mate, I came back on the only place I could!’ retorted Graham. ‘And you went into panic defend mode because you thought I might get back past, when my only thought was to steady the ship after an off-track. Now you know how the majority of my season has been! But I’ve started biting back the last few races, haven’t I?’
Standings After The Race At MoSport.
I tried James, I really did.
A few hours after my previous report’s release on the 18th of November last week, the BSRTC were made an example of. Publicly. Over-the-internet publicly. A charismatic individual by the name of James, had taken to what he calls ‘The worst site you could ever visit for Sim Racing news’, to cite my report of Interlagos’ events as an embarrassment to the art of Sim-Racing – for the sheer abundance of events and crashes that were reported. After an elaborate and lengthy article, readers had even gone on to remark how the BSRTC was nothing but a wreck fest of an ordeal based on only a few of the –*checks calendar*- 90 odd rounds.
Of course being as high octane racing on real world tracks involve zero incidents or crashes while tuxedo-clad gentlemen drive around as perfect embodiments of civilization, I had begun this report hoping to change its tone and literary demeanour by reporting only on those who finished on the podium. But sadly, that has not been very effective James. You see just as real life, accidents happen. And I’ve gone on to great lengths to spell out the reasons (Read cold tyres, s***t IRacing physics) behind each incident and even explain what happens to those charged guilty with causing said incident.
As a result, my reports – which are already of biblical proportions – go on for much longer now. Commentator Andrew Whitehead refuses to share much of his opinion for fear of making the sub-headlines of my article, which you might make an example of yet again. A round of public voting was called for to determine if the race reports should continue or not (They are continuing) and well, there’s only so much we can do to stop being an ordeal. Founder Kip Stephens on the other hand seems to have developed an affinity for you ever since. He’s coming James, and he’s going to populate your articles with quotes as well.
‘People are welcome to sit there typing negativity for the rest of their lives if they like, meanwhile, we are all having fun racing in a series that is as near to real life as you can get and that will only get bigger. One of my favourite hobbies is messaging the latest YouTube/Twitch cynic and getting them to come to race with us. So we’re hoping with all our hearts to get James on the next season of the BSRTC. 🙂’
‘Meanwhile, everyone’s crying about Woj. Well boo-hoo, what about poor f****ing me?’
Track Side Ordeal Photo Courtesy Jamie Rushworth.
This race will also be aired on MOTORSTV on the 8th of December as per the schedule here. Meanwhile, Higher Eclectic Ground is not only covering the last ttwo races of the BSRTC’s Showdown, set to be streamed live on ApexRacing TV’s Youtube channel at 8.15 P.M GMT every Thursday- but is also offering the indie game community with opportunities for exposure via BSRTC sponsorships. To make sure you do not miss out on anything, do head down to our Facebook page where all the activity lies and ensure you’re signed up. Moreover, those interested in racing with the BSRTC community or simply hanging out with them by the pitlanes, can do so by signing up to their closed group on Facebook . Those still doubtful about what the BSRTC is all about can learn more by viewing our previous coverage of the same which also includes a never-seen-before look at the championship’s rise.
October 27th, 2015 marked a valuable milestone within the Higher Eclectic Ground calendar. Post a month of discovering the British Sim Racers and their BSRTC Touring Car Championship – an IRacing based, sim-racing Touring Car Championship that has 50 of the racing subscription service’s most talented drivers competing for a slice of the $10,000 prize fund – we’d constructed an elaborate never-seen-before biography of the BSR’s rise from being but a dream harboured between two individuals to being the first IRacing based Touring Car championship to be aired on MotorsTV UK.
Yes, MotorsTV – a name well known within every British racing enthusiast’s home for bringing world-class events such as the World Rally Championship, the FIA World Endurance Championship, United SportsCar Championship, V8 Supercars, British Formula and much more, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to homes across 41 different countries worldwide. The biography set into motion a lot of things for both the BSRTC and Higher Eclectic Ground – we are currently in communication with SimRacer, the world’s first commercially available sim racing magazine, to showcase the article within their January 2016 issue; we’ve partnered with the BSRTC to provide post-race reports of each of their remnant races that take place every Thursday at 8.15 GMT; we’re in communication with IRacing’s News counterpart to feature those weekly reports and now – with barely two weeks left till the end of the season – we are offering our independent video game and art members an opportunity to promote their ventures, on British Motorsport television.
British Television? How Do You Mean?
The BSRTC is near the end of its biggest, most expensive season yet – with 35 races of three rounds each spread over the year that has been and a $10,000 prize fund. Every Thursday at precisely 8.15 GMT, the British Sim Racers’ Touring Car Championship Pro Series takes to a variety of tracks for three rounds of adrenaline packed racing. These races are broadcast live on ApexRacing TV’s Youtube channel – known to be a regular broadcaster of numerous sim-racing events – and IRacing’s official Twitch channel to reach a cumulative racing audience of well over 2,000 based on the stats associated with each video.
In addition, as part of the BSRTC’s partnership with MotorsTV UK this year – every race’s highlights are broadcast live on the motorsport channel two weeks post the actual occurrence of the race. Our partnership that serves to boost their awareness within the mainstream gaming community only serves to help those numbers and well, it’s safe to say that it’s been an eventful one month. With such a solid membership and audience base – a large part of which are video gamers – we couldn’t help but fathom the opportunities this would help provide the Independent game developers and artists we serve to promote and assist with growth every day.
One of the primary contributors to the BSRTC’s success this season has been its elaborate and creative sponsorship structure. Every ‘team’ of drivers is owned by an entity that has thus far, contributed £25 per event. This contribution earns them a team of their name and the privilege of having their name mentioned, associated and reported with their team’s drivers in every broadcast, report and piece of gossip – definitive coverage. With that said, the sponsorship structure’s biggest plus point so far has been its willingness to welcome any additional ‘sponsors’ to the championship at a moment’s notice.
By paying £5 per event – one event at a time – new sponsors can jump into the series prior to any given race and sponsor any one driver, allowing them to have their venture/company logo pasted on the side of that driver’s car. ApexRacingTV’s camera control ensures that the cameras hit the sides of the car when they can, providing these ‘guest’ sponsors with momentary coverage for the duration of the three-round race.
We were blown away. What if – we had each of our independent video game developers and artists sponsor a driver for the duration of a race? Wouldn’t this help with exposure? Not sufficiently, and so we sat down with the BSRTC to come up with additional privileges – a new ‘guest’ sponsor would not only have their logos pasted on a driver’s car, but also attain a mention from the commentary team prior and during the duration of the race.
With that settled, the races held at Donington Park and Interlagos on the 29th of November and the 12th of October respectively had us offer two of our members the opportunity to sponsor not just drivers, but whole teams on behalf of their independent game ventures. On the 29th of November, member AJ Picard and his mobile-based Video Game index EyeGames app sponsored the Engine Oil Direct team – while on the 12th of October Video Game Blogger Mike Blundell and his blog Mike’s Pad sponsored the GT Omega team. Both garnered mentions through the course of the races during their livestreams which carried over to their television broadcasts.
While both were satisfied with the mentions and coverage they’d received – we weren’t. Sure their logos were noticed and so were their mentions, but we began to realise that not only did they seem unnatural but took away from the racing as well – a point the BSRTC made rather aptly. With three weeks to go till the end of their season then, we sat down yet again and make one final revision.
Officially Inviting The Higher Eclectic Community As Sponsors.
And finally – a deal was struck with the both the BSRTC and ApexRacing TV. By paying but £5 per race, ‘sponsor’ would attain –
- A logo of their Game/Game Studio/ Product/ Blog/ Venture imprinted on the hood, side and roof of a driver’s car.
A GT Omega Team Car Flying The Mike’s Pad Colors At Interlagos.
- A 30 second video slot during the 10 minute breaks between each of the rounds that allows them to have a short-trailer of their creation showcased during the races.
The Current Roster Of Ads Serving As Fillers.
- A special pop-up during the MotorsTV edit of the race since the advertisements do not carry over, that sponsors can edit and fill in with a short-quote and logo of their choice to be aired on National Television. About two-three pop-ups will be displayed within a 12 minute segment of the 1 hour MotorsTV broadcast.
The First Ever MotorsTV Stream From August 20th, 2015 At Laguna Seca. Note The Pop-up At 1:20.
With only 2 weeks remaining till the end of the Season – the next two races being on the 23rd of November and the 3rd of December – we are now inviting each of our members to have their independent video game and art ventures promote a driver for one, if not both the races.
Things You’ll Need.
In all likelihood, if you’re reading this post we’ve reached out to you already. Regardless, should you wish to participate in the races as a sponsor you will need –
- £5 to cover costs incurred by the BSRTC and Higher Eclectic Ground.
- A 25-27 second video trailer to have featured as an ad within the livestreams. Note that these are deliberately kept a few seconds shorter than 30 to allow for us to fly the ‘Higher Eclectic Ground’ banner at the end of the video and announce our support.
- A logo that you would like to be displayed on the car and the pop-ups.
- A one-liner for the pop-ups.
It is advised to keep the trailer and the quotes as entertaining and explanatory as possible for maximum effect on the 2000+ audience tuning in to livestream and the larger majority tuning in to the television broadcasts.
Schedule For The Final 5 Races.
|Remaining Races.||ApexRacing TV/ IRacing Livestream Date and Time.||MotorsTV UK Air Date and Time||Deadline Submission Of Sponsor Details.|
|1. Sebring.||Thursday, 26th November, 8.15 PM GMT.||Tuesday, 15th December, 6:23 PM GMT||Wednesday, 25th November.|
|2. Daytona Road||Thursday, 3rd December 8.15 PM GMT.||Tuesday, 22nd December, 6:23 PM GMT||Wednesday, 2nd December.|
Only two races remain as per the schedule above – i.e the one at Sebring on the 26th of November and Daytona Road on the 3rd of December. Those interested can opt to sponsor a driver for either one or both of the races. Either way, all details and queries should be e-mailed to [email protected] before the aforementioned deadlines.
Unprecedented. There’s a lot we have in the works for next season – and it involves you. All of that will be announced in due time of course but till then – running a crowdfunding campaign, a Steam Greenlight campaign, in need of a few views on your blog/podcast or just looking to have your creation associated with motorsport? Never before has there been an opportunity as such.
Meanwhile, Higher Eclectic Ground is not only covering the last three races of the BSRTC’s Showdown, set to be streamed live on ApexRacing TV’s Youtube channel at 8.15 P.M GMT every Thursday. To make sure you do not miss out on anything, do head down to our Facebook page where all the activity lies and ensure you’re signed up. Moreover, those interested in racing with the BSRTC community or simply hanging out with them by the pitlanes, can do so by signing up to their closed group on Facebook . Those still doubtful about what the BSRTC is all about meanwhile can learn more by viewing our previous coverage of the same which also includes a never-seen-before look at the championship’s rise.
As the usual assortment of Touring Car IRacers gathered their wits and nerve an hour prior to the three round race at Autódromo José Carlos Pace (Interlagos) in the heart of São Paulo, Brazil – the second of the last five races that would ultimately determine which of the 50 drivers and 3 teams of the 35 week season would claim their respective pieces of the $10,000 prize fund – a deafening bawl echoed through the silence of the teams’ Facebook locker rooms. ‘ If even a single car– a single car – manages to overtake me tonight, I’ll kill myself. Samurai Style. As for Aleksandar Smolensky ahead of me in the standings? He’s insignificant.’
It was Ellis ‘Kip’ Stephens – New Homes Digital’s notoriously audacious PRO Driver who at the time held 5th place in the PRO Drivers’ Standings. ‘New Homes is setting out on all attack tonight. It’s time to stir things up!’ Having finished the Pro Series’ 89th Round at Okayama’s Short Circuit in first place the previous week, Stephens was beginning to illustrate no shortage of (over)confidence. Yet despite the fact that a large portion of the BSRTC community’s wisdom demanded that they take Stephens’ snide remarks with a grain of salt – the challenge hurled by him prior to the race at Interlagos did seem to instigate several of the Championships’ competitors to ensure they placed ahead of the New Homes driver. ‘Ellis? Yeah, he does enjoy stirring it up, playing the villain. But when it comes to racing, he’s a pretty serious guy!’, stated one such competitor, Simon Field of Peter Newman Media.
PRO Drivers’ Standings After The Previous Week’s Showdown At Okayama.
Hollow threats or not, Interlagos promised no shortage of excitement especially given its action-packed history with the BSRTC. While the ApexRacing TV broadcast team reflected on one such event in history wherein PRO Driver Wojceich Swirydovicz had finished ahead of then championship contender, Aday Coba Lopez in Season 5 by 1/4000th of a second – the current Season’s grid was huddled together just as closely. Qualification had gone on to illustrate differences of but tenths of a second between the drivers, several of which could be seen driving laps together in close formation between Junção and the Senna S even during practice.
And then there were the countless duels that would ensue on account of the Showdown. The PRO Drivers’ top contenders Swirydovicz and Job of Engine Oil Direct and Apex Racing TV respectively differed by a mere 5 points in the Standings, with the gap between the Drivers from 4th to 11th being just as minimal. The AM Drivers’ Standings had Apex Racing TV’s Richard Gore in 1st place ahead of Stem Sim Racing’s Paul Smith by but a point while the Team Standings had GT Omega ahead of Engine Oil Direct by 16. All the makings of a battle of the Samurai then – were in place.
Round 91 – Woj A Start!
0.292 seconds read the gap between Engine Oil Direct’s Wojceich Swirydovicz and ApexRacingTV’ s Sebastian Job as they crossed the line in 1st and 2nd place respectively, extending Swirydovicz’s lead over the latter by 10 points in the Standings. Having begun the race in 6th place, Job had squeezed through the likes of GT Omega’s Julian Genovski, Okayama Short’s 88th round winner Andreas Katz of Euro Chip Digital and the New Homes’ vehicles of Jamie Rushworth and Jamie Fluke respectively – both of whom had dominated 2nd and 3rd place respectively for more than half the round – to commence a thorough shakedown on the PRO Drivers’ leading contender by Lap 10. While Job’s lap times ranged 0.3 seconds faster than those of Swirydovicz, the Engine Oil driver’s impeccable line of defence held its ground till the very end – despite Job’s incessant prodding and attempts to sneak past his inside over the final 3 laps.
The New Homes duo of Rushworth and Fluke meanwhile wound up in 3rd and 4th place each, despite promising to emulate Okayama’s 90th round one-two finish on Lap One as they flanked Swirydovicz on either side on entry to the Senna S. Unfortunately, the Senna S would prove to be detrimental to each of their defences allowing Job to brush past the insides of both by laps 5 and 7 respectively. Euro Chip’s Andreas Katz suffered a similar fate at the S by lap 4, after having held his line against the Apex Racing driver for over 4 laps only to concede to him and finish in 5th place.
Katz, who intends to get to the PRO Drivers’ podium solely so that he can send funds to a charity for Orphans in Africa was disappointed with how events had transpired despite landing in 4th place of the Standings. Blaming his inability to place within the podium on a botched setup he explained, ‘Despite being half a second faster during the training races over the week prior, the setup didn’t seem to work at all on Race day. It was incredibly hard to find the right balance between speed and durability when it came to the tyres and so they wore out pretty quick causing me to lose both positions I had gained over the first few laps.’
Jamie Rushworth Clings Onto Swirydovicz As Job Peeks Through The Middle Of Fluke & Katz.
While the first of these positions was that of Job, the other was of Julian Genovski. Genovski had initially suffered a comparatively slower start in 4th place that resulted in Katz and Job placing ahead of him by the end of the Senna S on Lap one. By the end of the Reta Oposta he had conceded to team mate Michael Schellbach who, due to an over-ambitious Simon Field’s rather delayed braking at the S on Lap Two, had been slammed into by the Peter Newman driver and subjected to 19th place by the end of the race.
In the intervening time, Laser Tools’ Aleksandar Smolensky’s much quicker run between Junção and the Senna S placed him ahead of Genovski in 6th by Lap 4 before Stem Sim’s David Baker hurled salt on the wound by moving past Genovski’s inside halfway through turn one on Lap 5. Genovski quickly shoved Baker aside at Turn 2, before running wide at Turn 4 and giving way to an entire train of cars to finish in 11th place altogether. This train, led by Daniel Hunt in 7th comprised of Peter Newman Media’s Ashley Sutton and Pete Newman, Baker and Friction Racing’s Colin Cunniffe in 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th respectively.
Over the course of this train’s formation in the laps prior and after, a multitude of drivers had faced the wrong way of the pack. Or the inside of a track barrier for that matter – Apex Racing TV’s Jake Blackhall’s race ended at the end of the Senna S on Lap One when, on moving alongside a three-wide formation between Euro Chip’s Steve Hefford, Engine Oil’s Dan Blake and New Homes’ Steve Richardson, his car was shoved into the barrier by an out-of-control Blake who seemed to have bounced off Hefford’s Optima. ‘All I could see was sky, grass, sky and then grass’, recalled a dizzy Blackhall who was disconnected instantly. Soon after on the same lap, Stem Sim’s Ben Palmer was spun out by Euro Chip’s Rob Fagg en route to the Ferradura in 17th place.
Swirydovicz crosses the line in 1st, closely followed by Sebastian Job.
‘ My apologies to Palmer – I misjudged the distance between us, causing me to accidentally nudge him and send him into the barrier’, recounted Fagg who was disqualified himself by Lap 7; Fagg had been barged into a speeding Simon Field in 16th place on lap 7 while slowing down at Junção, forcing him into the tyre barrier for good. To top things off, GT Omega’s Steliyan Chepilevski was sent spinning into the Ferradura tarmac run-off by Engine Oil’s Jeroen Keizer on Lap one after the latter’s front –right wheel seem to lodge itself into the GT Omega driver’s rear. Chepilevsky’s subsequent 18th place finish from a 9th place start as a result forced him all the way down to 11th in the PRO Drivers’ Standings.
Yet despite all of that, Peter Newman Media’s Ashley Sutton had managed to find his way to an unbelievable 11th place after a 33rd place start by Lap 5. Having parted the Sea of over 20 drivers as if they never existed, the BSRTC’s Moses would go on to finish – astonishingly but not astonishingly – in 6th place behind Andreas Katz, despite holding no claim within the Showdown. Speaking of which, the AM side of the Showdown saw New Homes’ Laura Bond not step into a puddle of ill fortune for once and place ahead of the rest of her AM competitors in 15th place. The only competition she faced came from Field who hung behind her and team mate Stephens in 18th place. Field had placed himself ahead of the New Homes duo by Lap 8, but decided at the last minute to take Michael Schellback for a walk along Junção’s tarmac run-off in the final lap, effectively letting Bond and Stephens zoom past. This served to push her up to 3rd place in the AM Standings behind Apex Racing’s Richard Gore and Stem Sim’s Paul Smith who were tied in 1st and 2nd place after their 22nd and 24th place finishes respectively.
As for Stephens – in position 23rd on the starting grid -had managed to move up 7 places to finish in 16th. I dared not ask him about it.
PRO Drivers’ Standings After Round 91.
AM Drivers’ Standings After Round 91.
Round 92 – The Worst Rule Change They Ever Made.
‘Woj (Swirydovicz) spun me and that’s what killed you Seb.’
‘And that’s just gone and ruined any chance of a championship – Of course, it’s me who gets all the damage!’
The second round of the night at Interlagos began with a bang. As GT Omega’s Russell Laidler led the pack of 33 into Ferradura with New Homes’ Laura Bond hot on his heels; as Peter Newman Media’s Moses out-braked his opponents to jump from 10th to 7th place; as Engine Oil’s Jeroen Keizer and GT Omega’s Julian Genovski remodelled each other’s doors, PRO Driver Sebastian Job grew restless after being overtaken by nemesis Wojceich Swirydovicz along the Reta Oposta. Desperate to get ahead of the Engine Oil Driver in 11th place, Job soared past GT Omega’s Daniel Hunt in 12th to aggressively pit himself against Swirydovicz’s side. Together, they moved side by side through turns 7 to 10 – three wide with Andreas Katz in 10th at one instance – before it happened.
As Katz followed Laser Tools’ Aleksandar Smolensky into the inside of Turn 8, Swirydovicz donned the Euro Chip driver’s outside – only to have Job shoot past him on the far left side of the track and dive into the corner ahead of him. This caused contact – contact that sent Job into a drift and nearly had him cave Smolensky’s door in. As he skilfully corrected himself as he was known to be adept at, Swirydovicz moved alongside him – with New Homes’ Jamie Fluke on his inside – putting into effect a three-wide formation. Swirydovicz quickly flicked to the right to avoid Job, making contact as a result with Fluke’s rear and setting him perpendicular to Job’s path. The impact was such that both Fluke and Job were effectively hurled into the air as Swirydovicz, remarkably, made it through unscathed. The round had ended for Job and Fluke.
Job – now in third place in the PRO Drivers’ standings – was furious and took immediately to the ApexRacing TV livestream’s chat on Youtube to vent his frustration against the ‘No Fast Repair’ rule. While the races that comprised the weeks prior to the Showdown allowed for quick fixes to be made to a car in the event of a damage, the Showdown races did away with the rule to keep the action intense, realistic and unpredictable throughout. With this preventing him from effectively re-joining the round, Job had begun to state that the decision to eliminate fast-repairs within the last five weeks was perhaps the BSRTC’s worst. ‘ To be quite honest, that makes it that much closer to real racing. And so I for one never was a fan of the fast-repair from the start of the season’, argued Stem Sim’s Ashley Blake-Hood, who was but spectating the events that transpired, on hearing this.
‘Yeah, but why change it for the end of the season?’ Job retorted. ‘Especially when it’s so critical now to finish. What was the point of the showdown if they just wanted it to be luck-based? It’s ONE crash and you’re out!’ Curious to know what the BSRTC’s administration had to say, I ensured that Job’s sentiments were shared. ‘Because people are paying to race the series for 9 months’, justified New Homes’ Stephens, also one of the BSRTC’s Founders and administrative authorities. ‘When they crash it’s slightly unfair to knock them out of the race and have them watch. Now, when we are at the deciding 5 weeks it’s time to clean your racing up and do your best to avoid the crashes – which real life has – with no reset button and massive repair bills!’
The show, regardless, moved on. GT Omega’s Russell Laidler won the round at but the last second on the final lap when Peter Newman Media’s Ashley Sutton who, having found his way to 1st place from 10th , ran out of fuel a few 100 metres from the line to finish in 2nd after leading the pack for nearly 10 laps. Laidler and Sutton had previously been team-mates in seasons prior to nine. Post a celebratory donut on the track he took to the commentary box to explain how the old camaraderie had helped cement his wind – ‘It’s like a team within a team; When Ash got to me, I let off the throttle early going into turn one (on lap five) for to me – it made more sense for us to work together to pull away from the rest of the field. If we’d started battling, we’d have been faced with people like Swirydovicz, Katz – people I’m out of my league with. I only won the round on merit being as Ash ran out of fuel.’
Sutton moves past Laidler on entry to the Senna S.
Laidler had announced to his team prior to the race that he would be ‘badly off pace’ given a back injury he had procured at work during the day – A team whose spirit was put on display during the last lap when member Daniel Hunt, having down-shifted earlier than he should have at Junção, blew his engine just as he moved in to over-take Rushworth on exit. Hunt struggled to move up the hill towards the finish as he dropped positions rapidly before team mate Chepilevsky in position 14th moved in behind him, lodged himself to his bumper and pushed him past the finish line. ‘ I was so lucky Steli was behind me as I don’t think I would have made it up that hill.’
Jeroen Keizer sealed off the podium – commendably, given that he had begun the race in the same position – after what seemed to be one of the most adrenaline packed races for the Engine Oil Direct driver in recent times. Keizer had fought valiantly to hold his own against an ascending Sutton for over 3 laps that saw him make rapid contact with the Peter Newman Media driver- even shoving him aside at the Senna S on Lap Two. Having perceived this dimension of his driving persona for the first time, I prodded the the BSRTC’s Keeper of Scores to reveal just what he’d eaten prior to the race.
‘All of that wasn’t me bumping Sutton as much as that was me standing my ground while he tried to close the door’, he reflected later. ‘Sure Genovski had given me a bump prior in Lap One but that was just him going into the apex deep and so it wasn’t a problem. Post that though, Sutton had resorted to bumping into me quite a few times after which I wasn’t going to make it easy on him. He probably figured he’d get past by out-braking me but he just turned into Turn 2 on lap two like I wasn’t even there. Hence the shoving aside.’
Of course Keizer hadn’t held his ground throughout the race – having conceded to Stem Sim’s David Baker on Lap 5 before regaining 3rd place on the final lap by pushing past Baker on turn 8. Baker, who finished in 4th place despite lacking in practice wasn’t too pleased with the move Keizer had pulled as was apparent from his recount – ‘Let’s just say I took some issue with that – I’m sure many others wouldn’t have even let his car finish. Words were spoken in the heat of the moment afterwards but after some cooling off I think we’re ok again – Jeroen conceded he had been seeing red mist from a move Sutton had pulled earlier.’ The 4th place finish coupled with Job’s ousting served to push Baker up by one place on the PRO Drivers’ Standing.
Meanwhile, New Homes’ Jamie Rushworth, Euro Chip’s Andreas Katz and Engine Oil Swirydovicz finished in 5th, 6th and 7th place respectively after a 10 lap battle that saw them creep past Laser Tools’ Smolensky in 7th place by lap 5 and engage in a three-way battle that resulted in Rushworth jumping up to 2nd place (ahead of Job) in the PRO Drivers’ standings while Katz maintained his 4th. Rushworth’s team-mate Laura Bond effectively led the AM drivers who were huddled towards the back of the pack from 5th place during the first half of the race – having dropped down from a 1st place start by Lap 3 – before losing connection shortly after setting the race’s fastest lap on Lap 7.
This changed absolutely nothing on the AM table, given how Apex Racing’s Richard Gore and Stem Sim’s Paul Smith decided to drive into opposite barriers after a spot of contact en route to the Ferradura, putting an end to their races per se.
Stephens in the interim, wound up in 19th place post a 16th place finish and I still didn’t dare ask him about it.
PRO Drivers’ Standings After Round 92.
Round 93 – I’m Not Racing With The BSRTC Again.
17. Only 17 cars from the grid of 32 – minus New Homes’ Laura Bond – made it past the finish line in what had clearly set itself apart as one of the most disastrous races in BSRTC history.
With Stem Sim’s Robert Plumley on pole turning awkwardly to the left as soon as the green light went off, the Laser Tools duo of Rob Graham and Scott Malcolm inched past – leading Engine Oil’s Andrew Whitehead, Dan Blake and John Roberts in 3rd, 4th and 7th respectively through the Senna S. As Plumley and New Homes’ Steve Richardson settled in between the 7 midway through the S, New Homes’ Kip Stephens and Peter Newman Media’s Pete Newman scraped doors in 9th place. This resulting impact between the two caused Newman to sustain damage to his front suspension halfway through corner 2 as he drifted towards the barrier on his left – before regaining composure and being tapped on the rear by Euro Chip’s Steve Hefford on return.
As Hefford followed Newman through corner 2’s exit, he was flanked by GT Omega’s Cheplivesky and Stem Sim’s Ben Palmer – the latter of whom had run wide on corner-exit. As Palmer re-joined swiftly, Newman fishtailed – forcing a speeding Hefford behind him to inevitably make contact and set the Peter Newman Media driver straight through the centre of Chepilevsky’s passenger side who still happened to be by his side. This unsettled Hefford who, in a flash of a second lost traction and found his way into Palmer’s path. The resulting frenzy was catastrophic – As Newman drifted perpendicular to the track with Chepilevsky facing the other way, a ripple of destruction engulfed the entire ensemble of 15-odd drivers at the rear of the Reta Oposta taking nearly everyone prisoner.
Robert Plumley decides to pose for the cameras on green.
Up to 12 drivers would be forced to the pits– inclusive of PRO Drivers’ contenders Sebastian Job, Jamie Rushworth, David Baker, Peter Newman and Steliyan Chepilevsky – none of whom, with the exception of Apex Racing’s Jake Blackhall, would make it back. With Swirydovicz having miraculously made it through the carnage with but a few bruises, Job now faced the rear end of the top 10 standings with a gap of 200 points separating him from the Engine Oil driver.
He wasn’t pleased, as he took to livestream’s chat to make one last resounding announcement – ‘ I’m not going to race again this season. Not like this – when half of the races are spent dodging crashes. I put a year into this and what do I get for it?’ Several viewers of the stream, inclusive of myself, moved to convince him that given his prior track record, making it back on the podium would be no mountain. ‘No chance at all and I don’t enjoy avoiding wrecks constantly!’, he maintained. ‘No series should be based on avoiding wrecks to win the championship.’
As the survivors straggled through the course behind the pace car over the next couple of laps, Laser Tools’ Graham – who still happened to be in the lead- had gradually begun to slow the pack down towards the end of the lap 3 – hoping to garner a competitively beneficial run from Junção to the Senna S as soon as the Pace Car dove into the pit-lane. Amusingly, Graham obliviously stepped on the throttle well before the Pace Car retired – subjecting him and the rest of the pack that had followed suit to a round of sudden braking on seeing the Pace Car at the top of the hill that near resulted in another round of crashes. Despite this, Graham would push forward to finish in 4th place as his tyres wore out, though not without incident.
Peter Newman Media’s Sutton had risen, albeit aggressively, from 17th place on the caution laps to 3rd place behind Graham by the end of Lap 9. As he began to cling to Graham’s bumper on entry to Lap 10, the Laser Tools driver grew adamant. Refusing to budge, he maintained his line through the 2nd corner of the course as Sutton moved alongside his outside – causing him to send the PNM driver into a drift which he corrected quickly. Soon after – down the Reta Oposta at precisely the same spot that had been the highlight a few laps ago, Graham and Sutton’s door -against -door dealings drove the PNM driver perpendicular into Plumley’s path who had unfortunately crept into Graham’s left. Sutton and Plumley’s race ended soon after as a result – as Graham drudged on towards the finish.
Graham however was sour – not because of the incident alone but due to the commentators’ comments that seemed to imply that the Laser Tools driver had set out on an anti-Sutton agenda. As he vehemently explained the events that had transpired post watching the broadcast he said, ‘The statement made by the commentator in question was both ridiculously inaccurate and insulting – one that was made repeatedly. The commentator should be ashamed of himself for being so presumptive of others’ thoughts and then not even mentioning the fact he had said this numerous times during our post-race interview.’
’ I would just like to clear up that I have categorically never (and never will) deliberately taken anyone out during a competitive race. Sutton is very well known in the series for having little respect and just bashing people out his way. I have been a victim of this myself numerous times over various seasons (as have many others) on more than one occasion. I have had to back out to avoid him causing certainly himself and probably both of us to crash. During the pre-race chat with Scott (Malcolm), I had made a conscious decision that if I was to be defending against him on track this week – there would be absolutely no giving in. Unfortunately this only resulted in my actions being misjudged. Regardless, as I have been forced into the pits by him more than once in the past, although my misjudgement was never intentional, I struggle to find any pity for him. Although I do feel pity for poor Robert Plumley who was but an innocent bystander at the time’
Finishing ahead of him was Engine Oil’s Andrew Whitehead who had led the race all the way up until lap 10, before finally conceding to Kip Stephens on Lap 10 and team mate Swirydovicz on the final lap – the latter under team orders. ‘I think I’ve show the championship I’ve got plenty of fight left in me’, he recounted. ‘Kip made it through the mayhem and with my tyres shot, he patiently picked a safe time to breeze past me. I tried to continue applying pressure as Woj (Swirydovicz) was now in 3rd and gaining good ground. In the end I couldn’t slow Kip, so honoured team orders and gave Woj a safe pass for 2nd place. In all, we had our best showing in Race 3, showing the strength we’ve displayed all season to qualify at the head of the Showdown championship.’
GTOmega’s Daniel Hunt wrapped up the race in 5th place that served to put him in 5th within the PRO Standings as well. Behind Laser Tools’ Aleksandar Smolensky that is, who finished in 8th place ahead of Andreas Katz in 10th – who later regarded Smolensky as a ‘blocking truck’ for the hard time he’d given the Euro Chip driver every time he made an attempt to pass. The AM Standings meanwhile, remained relatively unchanged yet again as New Homes’ Steve Richardson, Apex Racing’s Richard Gore and Stem Sim’s Paul Smith made it past the finish line – alive. As for the team standings, GT Omega‘s considerably superior performance all round kept it at the top of the standings ahead of Engine Oil Direct.
PRO Standings After Round 93.
‘I’ve given up trying to overtake, I was never any good at it. What’s the point anyway? They all just crash out!’
I had finally managed to catch up with the New Homes team to discuss the race on a Sunday night only to find that Stephens still hadn’t calmed down. ‘2 race wins out of 6 showdown races. Has anyone else got 2? No, I didn’t think so!’ Distracted by the commotion his team mate was causing, Jamie Rushworth – now in 6th place of the PRO Drivers’ Standings after being in 3rd place for the majority of it – walked in. ‘I blame Kip for the race 3 crash. He forgot which way the track goes in T2 and gave Pete Newman damage – which caused Pete to twitch in front of Steve Hefford on the exit of T3, – resulting in the massive pileup that ended my Showdown chances and effectively handed the championship to Wojciech.’
‘If you had a 3 wide spotter call with Peter Newman Media’s finest pair of bombers – Burke and Pete – you wouldn’t have taken the apex either’, Stephens retaliated, referring to the fact that he had been warned of PNM’s presence over the radio during the race. Rushworth ignored him before enquiring sarcastically, ‘I bet you could do a good quote about being 3rd now behind Woj (Swirydovicz) and Katz. Gonna crash into them too to win it?’
‘2 Wins Jamie! I don’t need to, Katz will get disqualified soon enough for punting someone off’.
‘Better hope that someone is Woj then if you want to beat him.‘, Rushworth replied.
‘Didn’t I stay in front of Woj at brands for 15 minutes?’ retorted the 93rd round winner pensively. ‘After you crashed out on lap 1.5?’
‘Only because he was too scared to pass’. Knowing that this can of worms would only replenish itself, I made it a point to move on and find out if Sebastian Job had indeed meant what he said about not continuing with the BSRTC anymore. ‘Yeah, I’ll be racing this week. Don’t have any expectations though.’ It’s like Katz keeps saying – ‘Still, everything’s possible.’
Track Side Photos by Jamie Rushworth.
This race will also be aired on MOTORSTV on the 1st of December as per the schedule here. Meanwhile, Higher Eclectic Ground is not only covering the last three races of the BSRTC’s Showdown, set to be streamed live on ApexRacing TV’s Youtube channel at 8.15 P.M GMT every Thursday- but will also be making an announcement with regards to its collaboration with the British Sim Racers and Higher Eclectic’s indie game and art community that will serve to provide exposure for its members. To make sure you do not miss out on anything, do head down to our Facebook page where all the activity lies and ensure you’re signed up. Moreover, those interested in racing with the BSRTC community or simply hanging out with them by the pitlanes, can do so by signing up to their closed group on Facebook . Those still doubtful about what the BSRTC is all about meanwhile can learn more by viewing our previous coverage of the same which also includes a never-seen-before look at the championship’s rise.
‘A featureless pile of steaming dog s***t’.
Not always the best way to begin an article of the stature of an IRacing powered Touring Car Championship’s Race Report but then again, this is the BSRTC Pro Series; A 35 week long, $10,000 prize funded touring car championship that has had 50 of the simulation racing service’s most eccentric drivers fighting for a slice of the pie on MotorsTV every week. For our newfound readers- last week marked the end of the ‘actual season’, paving the way for the final five weeks wherein the top 10 PRO Drivers, top 5 AM Drivers, top 3 teams and 3 wild card entries alone would legitimately compete for their respective titles and subsequent prizes henceforth. With the first of those five races scheduled for the 5th of November, the general consensus with regards to how things would shape up at the Okayama Short Circuit in the week preceding it, was best illustrated by Team Leo Bodnar’s (now merged with Team Euro Chip Digital) PRO driver Steve Hefford in the article’s opening line.
It’s true, every IRacer has had their fair share of the Okayama circuit – being as it is one of those tracks they are subjected to on a more than frequent basis as they work towards getting out of the Rookie division. Littered with belligerent idiots of drivers yet to come to terms with a steering wheel – spin outs, trysts with the gravel pits, obnoxious overtaking and tyre barrier kisses are commonplace. And now, despite the distinction of it being a PRO division race, the drivers expected nothing less. 2 Km in length, most of which would be enveloped by a grid of 30 odd drivers anyway, Okayama advances from one tight hairpin to another, coming to an end before even beginning. Overtaking would mean side by side action and accurately timed entries/ exits between turns 1 to 7, with slipstreams along the straight being the drivers’ only solace. And so, elbowing and incidents of road rage that had risen to quite a high in the season’s last few weeks were inevitable.
And yet still, incidents had to be avoided – for the Showdown demanded that ‘fast repairs’ in the pit be omitted; any wounds suffered by the cars would not be healed in a matter of seconds nor would they be healed in their entirety. In addition, only a maximum of 11 incident points (an incident point is incurred on contact, off-tracks etc.) would be permitted in comparison to the season’s 17 thus far. Drivers then would have to play fair and drive clean – lest face the back of the pack and lose their respective shots at the title altogether. Incentivising the rest of the pack thankfully, would be the Five-O championship that offered $200 for those not in the Showdown but scored the most points at the end of the five weeks nevertheless; and a $500 prize for the series’ cleanest driver thus far. Whether a few $100 would prove to be incentive enough though, remained to be seen.
Round 88 – Duff Setups and Left over Spares.
For all intents and purposes the starting grid that had lined itself up at an overcast Okayama as so –
– remained relatively unchanged through the course of round. Not for the New Homes Digital pair of Laura Bond and Steve Richardson though, the latter of whom could be heard alluding to the fact that his team mates had perhaps sabotaged his car with centuries-old spare parts pre-race; The start of the lap saw Laser Tools’ Rob Graham dive into the middle of Bond and Richardson in 29th and 30th place ahead of him respectively at Turn 2, swerve to the left to avoid Richardson on his right, send Laura into a drift by nudging her as a result before pushing Richardson into the tyre barrier to his right. As Bond struggled to steady herself, Graham drove over her bonnet like a monster truck in heat before advancing forward as cool as a cucumber. ‘ I’m surprised I was even able to continue after that bit of ping pong back there!’ , he confessed as he laughed it off later.
Amusingly a punch-drunk Richardson would reverse back on track, drive around in a circle by the scene of the accident before going forward the wrong way – hitting another barrier on the opposite side of the track and retiring to the pits altogether. Bond would carry on for half a lap before doing the same (retiring to the pits, that is) – leaving the New Homes name in the hands of team mates Jamie Rushworth and Jamie Fluke within the top 10 at the time. ‘And just like that, Graham killed half of New Homes before Turn 3’, a rather glum Stephens reflected from 26th place after the round. Bond had, as a result of the incident, dropped all the way down to 4th place in the AM’s Showdown Standings from 1st place and Richardson to 6th . ‘There’s no point talking to Laura either. She barely remembers half of it anyway.’ Soon after, Lap Two saw Apex Racing’s Jake Blackhall descend into a never ending spiral of overturns in 24th place between turns 3 and 4, post being forced into the track barrier after a tap to Stem Sim’s Paul Smith’s rear ahead of him caused him to lose control as Smith regained his.
Meanwhile, Euro Chip Digital’s Andreas Katz’s lead ahead of Apex Racing TV’s Sebastian Job and Engine Oil’s Wojceich Swirydovicz would continue to grow increasingly dominant over the next 22 laps before eventually granting him a win 4 seconds ahead of 2nd place. Katz had previously begun the season in all his usual panache, going on to win up to 7 races before hitting a personal plateau that threatened to unsettle his championship’s standings. ‘I may have got in to the Showdown by virtue of a wild-card but rest assured, I will be pushing for the podium come the final race of the Drivers’ Championship.’, stated the jubilant Euro Chip Driver, now in 4th place in the PRO standings as a result of the win. ‘The fact that I’m at peace now and can concentrate on my racing give me confidence – coupled with the fact that I’ve promised to send all my winnings to a charity for Orphans in Africa, which only serves to incentivise me.’
As for his immediate competition – Job’s slowdown penalty at turn 3 by Lap 4 would drop him behind the PRO Drivers’ leading contender Swirydovicz for the remainder of the round. He would emerge as a threat only by the final 7 laps of the round by which, having drawn dangerously close to Swirydovicz’s rear in the intervening time, Job would be seen knocking against the Engine Oil driver’s rear at the corner exits. Fortunately for Engine Oil, Swirydovicz would continue to stay ahead of Job by barely half a second, extending his lead over the latter by 8 points in the Showdown’s PRO standings.
Yet amidst it all, all of Okayama’s energy from the round served to reside along positions 4th to 7th of the grid till the very end. Set into motion by Stem Sim Racing’s Ben Palmer overtaking GT Omega’s Daniel Hunt to don 4th place ahead of him, the ensuing laps would have the duo soar past turns 2 to 7 as they touched doors – until Palmer managed to pry himself away, albeit momentarily, by Lap 14. By then, Peter Newman Media’s Ashley Sutton – known for miraculous drives that have had him finish in the podium from the back of the pack – had grown alarmingly close to New Homes’ Jamie Rushworth in position 6th who up till then, only had Hunt and Palmer to worry about.
By Lap 16, Palmer’s slow entry into Turn 1 and Hunt’s delayed braking served to reunite the pair once again – with Hunt just about making contact with Palmer’s rear bumper. Reacting to the opening that had been caused by Rushworth slowing down in crash avoidance – Sutton swiftly moved into the middle of Hunt and Palmer on entry to turn 2, before dropping behind Hunt after getting in contact with the latter. A lap later, Sutton pulled through the inside of Hunt at the same turn, putting himself in 4th place behind Palmer where he would ultimately finish the race in. Remarkable through all it was Rushworth and Hunt’s persistence, as could be witnessed from their uncanny ability to hang on to the bumpers of the cars ahead with little regard for the consequences sudden braking would bring.
Hunt’s eventual 6th place finish ahead of Rushworth had now pushed him into the top 10 of the Showdown’s PRO Standings. ‘That was a great battle.’, explained Rushworth as I spoke to him about it later. ‘Initially I was trying to get past Palmer so I stood a chance of catching Woj (Swirydovicz) and Seb (Job) in front, but as the laps went on and I saw the gap to them grow, my mission changed to just pure stubbornness to get past. I had to stick close to the car in front to capitalize on any mistakes made. Spoke to Palmer after the race and first thing he said was “Hah, I finally beat you!”‘
And thus, with a minimum of only 3 cars being forced out of the race and only a modicum of action to be witnessed over 22 rounds – Round 88 at Okayama had managed to crown itself as one of the BSRTC’s most uneventful meetings in recent times.
Pro Drivers’ Standings After Round 88
AM Drivers’ Standings After Round 88
Round 89 – The Crush.
‘Race 20th was easy, I could have won it from 20th on the grid’. The grid-reversal had placed New Homes Digital’s cheeky mascot, Kip Stephens in second place behind Engine Oil Direct’s Dan Blake, who- right after the green light went off – lost control at Turn One allowing Stephens to zoom past into first place. The Season 1 and 2 champion would then slip into the zone for the next 21 laps, keeping his lead before eventually finishing with it. Having dropped down to 11th in the Drivers’ standings as a result of his 26th place finish in the previous round, the win served to hurl him all the way up to 4th place , replacing Euro Chip’s Andreas Katz behind team mate Jamie Rushworth. ‘I’ve deliberately been driving crap all season just to give them a false sense of security – This championship is mine, I’m just getting warmed up’.
Meanwhile, the sun that had now crept over Okayama’s claustrophobic layout seemed to inspire in the rest of the grid an energy so familiar – that, after the abnormally civil show of Round 88, had me wondering if I’d accidentally switched to a replay of an older race from the season. Yes, gone were the repressed personalities and in was the drama – beginning with Euro Chip’s Lee Berridge’s rather freakish line through the inside of Lap One’s Turn One in position 10th , that resulted in him introducing Apex Racing TV’s Richard Gore to the track-barrier head first before the race had even begun. Fortunately Gore would manage to pull through the damage and finish in 22nd, which was more than could be said for Berridge whose meeting with the barrier, courtesy of GT Omega’s Russell Laidler in 16th place on Lap 6, ended in both being disqualified from the race.
Through the commotion, starting -grid position #24 resident, Apex Racing TV’s Sebastian Job had risen to position 18th alongside Peter Newman Media’s Ashley Sutton . This meant of course, that it was time for either of them to bid good-bye to Round 89 given each of their penchants to aggressively place themselves on the podium regardless of starting position – True enough, the duo meandered through turns 2 to 7 over the course of lap two, racking up the incident points with nudges and bumps until Sutton emerged victorious.
The spoils to the victor sadly, came in the form of New Homes Digital driver Jamie Rushworth who was suffering from a less than sunny day – Rushworth, in position 14 on lap three had just been rammed into by Laser Tools’ Aleksandar Smolensky, after slowing down to steer clear of Berridge who was then keeping himself busy with setting up GT Omega’s Russell Laidler’s one way ticket to the barrier at Turn One. Rushworth’s swift reflexes had saved him from the Berridge Barrier by but a fraction of an inch. ‘Aleks nearly putting me in the wall scared the crap out of me!’ yelled Rushworth through his Facebook messenger when I enquired of the rush of emotions that had coursed through him at the time. I thought for sure it was all over but I just managed to get the car under control in time- When I watched it back I saw that my rear bumper was literally millimetres from hitting the wall!’ Impressively, he would go on to finish in 12th place well ahead of his Round 88 nemeses, Ben Palmer and Daniel Hunt.
As he re-joined the pack alongside Sutton who was now past Palmer in position 17, Rushworth’s improper inside line through Turn 2 had caused him to unsettle Sutton’s, who after recovering from the drift had been set into another by Palmer before being corrected by Rushworth again. The game of table tennis sadly was too much for Sutton’s incident point record, causing him to be disqualified. Job then was in for a field day as he moved from bumper to bumper, door handle to door handle, incident point to incident point, unchallenged to finish – not astonishingly- in 9th place. ‘What? How? When?’ I asked, astonished nevertheless. ‘I think the main way for me to get passed other drivers is by forcing a mistake’, he confided, rather amused at my child like fascination. ‘This was key at Okayama as it’s almost impossible to pass without a mistake unless you are way faster. The faster drivers were very hard to pass because of this.’
Apparently, one doesn’t get to second place of the PRO Drivers’ Standings by impetuously gluing their pedals to the floor. In comparison, current PRO Driver standings’ Number One, Engine Oil Direct’s Wojceich Swirydovicz played his cards with extreme prudence given how, prior to the race, he had expressed dread of being overcome by the mania at the rear of the pack. And so, the round would have him stay in his starting position in 27th for over 10 laps – ascending within the Grid standings only as a result of the its intermittent disqualifications, a momentary yet cautious duel with Stem Sim’s Robert Plumley over laps 10 and 11 and another with Peter Newman Media ‘s Steve Burke that would involve Burke moving dangerously close to the pit wall in an attempt to block the Engine Oil driver from overtaking ( A move previously pulled by GT Omega’s Michael Schellbach who seemed annoyed by Friction Racing’s Colin Cunniffe’s prods on Lap 7). His 20th place finish at the end of it all did little to affect his lead in the Drivers’ standings – reducing the gap between him and Job by a mere 7 points.
Things were just as exciting on the AM horizon. Stem Sim’s Paul Smith’s 5th place finish had served to put him ahead of Richard Gore on the drivers’ standings who for the time being, was still clear of Engine Oil’s John Roberts. While Burke struggled with a miserable setup and an even horrid internet connection, finishing in 25th – 3 places ahead of his Round 88 finish – New Homes’ Laura Bond and Steve Richardson added yet another few frames to the crash compilation reel. Post turn 6’s exit on lap 14th, an incidental tap on Plumley’s rear by Bond had sent him head-first into the barrier beside him. ‘My perspective is that he just didn’t leave me enough room’, she reflected when asked if there was any deliberation behind the act. Stephens of course had more to add, ‘ Rob (Plumley) always likes being close to Laura (Bond). I think there’s a crush.’
Regardless, the force of impact – from the barrier that is – brought Plumley back on track in Richardson’s path who, with barely enough time to react, rammed into his side sending him up in the air in what seemed reminiscent of a display of Pizza Acrobatics. As Plumley retired to the pits, Richardson – having suffered only a minor wheelie in all the hubbub – laboured on to finish in 28th place with Bond in 21st. The finishing grid then, with Hefford adding to his and mate Katz’s newfound team’s glory in second followed by GT Omega’s Schellbach in third stood as so –
Round 90 – Job Hunting.
By the end of the final round at Okayama, the New Homes Digital team would lay its mark on the podium for the second time that night– courtesy of a one-two finish by members Jamie Rushworth and Jamie Fluke. While Fluke’s pole start functioned as the primary contributor, it was Rushworth’s energetic launch off the line in comparison to 2nd and 3rd place holders of the starting grid – GT Omega’s Daniel Hunt and Laser Tools’ Aleksandar Smolensky respectively – that served to place him in second place behind Fluke. Fluke would give way to his team mate only by lap 12 though, following which he would act to keep Smolensky away from the lead that remained less than a second from his grasp by the end of round. This more than anything, helped solidify Rushworth’s position in 3rd within the Pro Drivers’ Standings – extending his lead over the Laser Tools driver by 32 points, who now lay in 4th after a 3rd place finish.
Wrapping up the top 5 by the end of the round were GT Omega’s Daniel Hunt and Apex Racing TV’s Sebastian Job. ‘It was the incredible battle between Job and me over the course last 9-10 laps that turned Round 3 into the night’s highlight for me’, Hunt stated. And for good reason – as the round began with Hunt dropping to 4th place on the grid after Rushworth and Smolensky’s comparatively superior start, Job would adopt the usual attacker’s stance against Stem Sim’s David Baker, Engine Oil’s Jeroen Keizer and Euro Chip’s Rob Fagg ahead of him to place 2 seconds behind Hunt by Lap 8. As the gap grew smaller between the two, so did Hunt’s aversion to aggression – visible from him moving into the Apex Racing driver’s path along the straight on Lap 13 as he grew closer to an overtake from Hunt’s passenger side. The move drove the duo dangerously close to the pit wall until Job – seemingly playing street-smart – darted to the left only at the last minute so as to attain a slow in, fast out line through Turn One from out wide. This proved to be ineffective as Hunt’s faster line from the inside reigned superior, keeping Job at his rear for yet another lap.
The act would be repeated several times, leading the two to trade door paint as they serpentined their way through turns 2-7 over the next 8 laps. By the final lap, Job – not one of patience – had made a desperate dive through Turn 2 using Hunt as a crutch with two wheels on the grass, causing the GT Omega PRO Driver to return the favour by blatantly showing him aside on entry to turn 3. ‘At the time I was pretty frustrated’, Job explained in relation to the incident, ‘But I am not bothered now. It was only one position, and my overtake on him was very optimistic.’ Regardless as the 4th place finish served to nudge Hunt up the PRO standings by two places – Job had managed to reduce the gap between Engine Oil’s Wojceich Swirydovicz to a diminutive 5 points. A similar duel had transpired between Swirydovicz and Peter Newman Media’s Ash Sutton, after the latter had made yet another whopping climb from 34th place on the grid to 15th place behind the PRO Drivers’ leading contender by lap 15. Sutton would hang extraordinarily close to Swirydovicz’s rear and door handles until finally running wide (which is a rare sight within the BSRTC honestly) to let Stem Sim’s Ben Palmer through towards the end of the final lap.
AM driver Richard Gore of Apex Racing TV meanwhile enjoyed a considerably better round as opposed to the previous, letting him finish in 18th place ahead of Peter Newman’s Steve Burke in 22nd and Stem Sim’s Paul Smith in 26th. This brought Gore back into first place by but a 2 point lead over Smith in the AM Standings while Burke continues to hover between New Homes’ Bond and Richardson who for the first time that night – made it through to the end of the round without incident. Burke had earlier alluded to his plans of using his image as a ‘wrecker’ – and the consequent want of the rest of the grid to stay out of his way – to his advantage prior to the race and so, when asked why things had turned unfavourable he explained, ‘In each race I had strong, aggressive and clean starts. Yet most of my time was spent defending places I had made up due to lack of speed. The setup I chose didn’t work well past 50% tyre wear – they were just destroyed.’
‘Plus Steve was on a dodgy connection’, chimed Pete Newman, team manager. ‘So we couldn’t talk on mumble (chat) and were worried he was going to disappear. No matter -I think we have a better setup for Interlagos and should be in top form’. Through it all, member Ashley Sutton – in abidance by his nature to stay out of the limelight – remained unavailable for comment.
PRO Drivers’ Standings After Round 90.
The first round at Okayama determined nothing. Gaps were far from exorbitant and drivers could still rise to/drop from positions within the standings as fortune played them – that being said, with Interlagos set to be far from A featureless pile of steaming dog s***t , my days as a writer for the BSRTC are to turn loony. Speaking of loony, in case you’re wondering what happened to the defaced Excel Sheet Mr. Keizer had invited the BSRTC’s drivers to fill in last week – only the best apparently.
This race will also be aired on MOTORSTV on the 24th of November as per the schedule here. Meanwhile, Higher Eclectic Ground is not only covering the last five races of the BSRTC, called the Showdown, set to be streamed live on ApexRacing TV’s Youtube channel at 8.15 P.M GMT – but will also be making an announcement with regards to its collaboration with the British Sim Racers and Higher Eclectic’s indie and art community. To make sure you do not miss out on anything, do head down to our Facebook page where all the activity lies and ensure you’re signed up. Moreover, those interested in racing with the BSRTC community or simply hanging out with them by the pitlanes, can do so by signing up to their closed group on Facebook . Those still doubtful about what the BSRTC is all about meanwhile can learn more by viewing our previous coverage of the same which also includes a never-seen-before look at the championship’s rise.
Track side photo courtesy, BSRTC Pro Series Driver Jamie Rushworth.
1. The Story Of The Week.
This week it would be the BSRTC Pro Series’ keeper of scores and statistics, Jeroen Keizer’s turn to lose his mind (Read The Street Brawl At Cota – Rounds 86 to 87 of the BSRTC to understand reference). Not because of the mathematics and excel sheets he finds himself maintaining for the season, which he assure me he enjoys, but for the work that was in store for him. The week after all, was different. See, the calendar of the nearly 10 month long IRacing fueled Touring Car Championship Pro Series, as organized by the British Sim Racers and broadcast by ApexRacing TV and Motors TV, comprises of three Team Races. Designed as 40 minute long endurance stints, each of these feature all of the seasons’ 12 teams competing for points towards the Team’s Championship title and the $4,000 piece of the $10,000 prize fund that comes with it.
Now of course, not all teams make it till the end; at the end of round 87 of the 102 round season, only the top three teams on the basis of the points scored by their constituent drivers are eligible to participate in the last five weeks of the season called the Showdown. The team that wins these Showdown races – which also feature the top 10 PRO and top 8 AM drivers competing for a piece of the PRO and AM Drivers’ championships respectively- wins the Team Champions’ title and the prize money that comes along with it. And so, the three team races scattered over the course of the season serve as but an avenue for them to score points and elbow their rivals out of the standings.
With the team races at Donington Park’s National Circuit and Oulton Park already having taken place earlier this year on the 16th of April and the 4th of June – the two round race at Donington Park’s Grand Prix circuit scheduled for the 29th of the October was to be the last of them. Each team would have a maximum of three cars on grid with two drivers assigned mandatorily to each. Past 40% of round completion, the drivers assigned to a car would swap places in the pits before continuing with the remaining 60%. Finally, at the end of the round the scores of the top two cars of the team, on the basis of End-Of-Race positions, would be added to the team’s seasons’ tally.
And so, with everything from the scoring to the liveries differing from the standard races of the season, the man in charge of organizing the team races and ensuring their order, Jeroen Keizer, was quite easily looking at 200 -300 hours in the week preceding the race at Doningon GP (although he claimed later that it only took him 10). From maintaining a list of drivers who would be representing their teams – and who would change their minds 4 hours prior to the actual race –to adjusting the team liveries, assigning Identification numbers, ensuring calculations were in order plus relaying all that information to ApexRacing TV’s camera wizard Alex Simpson, that number actually seemed plausible. Yet even so, he’d managed to peek over his workload for a just a minute to suggest that the Stem Sim Racing – New Homes Digital team rivalry, and the street fights that would crop up on track as a result, was going to be the story of the week.
2. We Should Fill Up The Entire Podium Basically.
Indeed. Based on the seasons’ standing that lay in front of me, it was apparent that Engine Oil Direct and GT Omega’s showdown entries were relatively solidified – Omega was less than 300 points away from Engine Oil Direct and while it could very well replace the latter in first place of the standings, a poor performance would not take the team lower than third. The line that stood between Stem Racing and New Homes Digital however, was much finer.
Were Stem Sim Racing to have an abysmal race in comparison to New Homes, the latter would leap up to replace Stem Sim in third and that would be the end of that. If however, Stem Sim were to perform considerably better than New Homes as they have in the past few races or even if GT Omega were to drop to third to give way to Stem, New Homes would not make it even if it were to bag first place wins in both rounds. And so based on the scores that were to be awarded to the top two drivers of a team race –New Homes Digital not only had to ensure it placed considerably better than the Stem Sim team in both rounds, even grabbing podiums in the process, but also hope and pray that Stem Sim had perhaps the worst race of the season.
Aware that this would make for some interesting conversation between the two rivals who haven’t hesitated to openly call out each other this year, albeit hilariously, for what one deems the other to be on track– I quickly moved to each of their Facebook haunts to find out where expectations lay. ‘We’re a strong team. ‘, stated Stem Sim’s PRO driver Ben Palmer who’d executed a brilliant drive over at The Circuit Of The Americas the previous week. ‘We will be going to Donington like everyone else. We won’t be looking out for anyone for it’s the rest of the BSRTC’s job to look out for us like they have done all year.’
Anyone privy to the New Homes – Stem Sim equation this season would know that the rest of the BSRTC was in fact New Homes’ driver Kip Stephens. Known to take jabs at the Steam Sim team for reasons that range from one unexplained dislike to another, Kip was his usual nonchalant, over confident self as he quipped, ‘Ah, Stem Sim – They’re all talk, most of which is boring. We on the other hand, should fill up the entire podium basically’.
While not at the same level of extravagant confidence as New Homes Digital, the GT Omega and Engine Oil Direct duo did retain their healthy share. And for good reason – Donington’s Grand Prix circuit with its fast, flowing sections were many of the drivers’ favorite, given how quite a few of them had enjoyed many a track day if not lived on or in the track’s vicinity. In the midst of this some, such as Engine Oil Direct’s member Andrew Whitehead did have a fair amount to say about the battle for third place in the standings. ‘We are a little split with who we’d prefer to join us in the Show Down, with little to call between the STEM and New Homes teams’, he explained. ‘I think we agree that STEM would pose a lesser threat throughout the Show Down, they don’t seem to finish races as consistently as the New Homes guys. That said, when they do make it to the finish line, they finish strongly, and with Ben Palmer, who was our number 2 driver now racing for STEM in the latter part of the season, we know it’s not going to be a walk in the park.’, before going on to state that like the rest, they didn’t have much to worry about at Donington.
It’s not as if there would be a complete lack of challenge altogether– the scarcity of abundant overtaking spots coupled with over-the-hill corners and hairpins would ensure that the drivers’ judgements were put to the ultimate test. Yet still, the teams well below fourth place in the standings, several of which hadn’t even bothered to test their Optima’s until the official practice before the race, maintained that the two rounds should provide their fair share of fun more than anything.
3. Round 86 – Sutton Impact.
As of 4 P.M GMT on the 29th of October, 4 hours prior to the race and 1 hour prior to official practice – the final list of teams and contending members was drawn –
Which then rearranged itself post three hours of practice and 20 mins of qualification to yield a final grid standing wherein Apex Racing TV’s #1 Car, driven by Sebastian Job, would begin at pole. With the exception of car #1 of Engine Oil Direct driven by his nemesis and PRO Drivers’ leader Wojceich Swirydovicz, the Engine Oil Direct trio were scattered towards the back in 18th and 22nd – unfavorable in comparison to GT Omega’s 7th, 9th and 16th position grid starts respectively. Interestingly, Stem Sim were beginning to show no signs of taking things easy with their #3 vehicle driven by Paul Smith and subsequently Ben Palmer, both leading drivers of the team, starting in 4th place and their #1 and #2 vehicles well within the running for the top 10. New Homes’ 13th, 14th and 22nd place starts then, would have to be followed by some exceptional driving.
Not unexpectedly, the flash of green saw the duo of Job and Swirydovicz leap ahead of the pack with lone wolf Andreas Katz in tow. By the onset of the Cranier Curves, Katz’s considerably superior launch off the line had already enabled him to soar past Swirydovicz’s inside at Redgate and replace him in second place – a move that paved the way for a thrilling 16 lap duel for first place that would see Katz and Job exchange places more than once until the eventual driver swap.
Surprisingly, a large part of the action during the course of that time frame and beyond would be the product of the #3 Peter Newman vehicle driven by Official BTCC Team BMR member and 2015 UK Clio Cup Champion Ashley Sutton. Positioned at the rear end of the pack, Sutton began his race in the absence of team mate Alex Bristow, who team manager Peter Newman later claimed to have blocked from joining the session for want of letting Sutton showcase his driving prowess alone. This meant that regardless of where Sutton placed at the end of the race, his points would be disregarded for the lack of a driver swap during its course – not entirely absurd some might argue given how Peter Newman Media had nothing significant to the Champions’ standings to lose nor gain from the two rounds regardless of performance.
Sutton’s blistering drive to the finish commenced with a highly accurate launch off the line that saw him take to the grass by the pits to sail past New Homes’ #3 vehicle in 22nd ahead of him, making it seem as if the latter were standing still. At about the same time, Grip TV’s #2 vehicle helmed by Andrew Brown in 23rd enjoyed an equally well-time start that had him overtake Engine Oil’s Whitehead in their #3 Optima – before positioning himself for a grueling 2 lap duel that was to ensue with Sutton.
By Lap two, the duo – now in positions 19th and 20th ahead of James Legett in Laser Tool’s #2 car and Yulian Genovski’s #2 GT Omega Optima- were neck and neck through the Cranier Curves with Sutton in position 20th coming dangerously close to losing his bearings altogether as he held onto a chilling power slide that threatened to unsettle his race before the old hairpin. Unfortunately, Brown’s perseverance to hold his line against Sutton ended up getting the better of him at the Melbourne hairpin as he made a rather assertive move to block Sutton’s path at the exit, causing him to be hit in the rear by the BTCC driver. As Brown’s car began to take its spin, it hit the side of Engine Oil’s #2 vehicle in position 18th alongside him sending its driver Linus Brostrom into the dirt instead.
Brostrom, back to race with his team after a month’s hiatus, remained vexed till the very end that his return to the track had been jeopardized by being at the wrong place at the wrong time, ‘ I don’t know who did what – but that was complete bulls***t!’ The Brostrom/Keizer pairing would still go on to finish in 15th place despite the displacement. The Grip TV #2 vehicle of Brown meanwhile remained at the rear of the crowd as Sutton, now in position 18th, moved towards Stephens in New Homes’ #2 and Ray Alfalla’s black and white clad Slip Angle Motorsport Optima in 17th and 16th respectively.
Lap three saw him move belligerently towards the kill yet again, as he sought to out-brake Stephens at the Melbourne hairpin before unpredictably moving into his path and getting his rear pushed out into the grass in one swift move. The move, had caused Alfalla’s rear bumper to be tapped by Sutton with such force as a result, that the IRacing NASCAR champion was hurled headfirst into the gravel. ‘I slowed for the hairpin, and at the last second saw a car approaching quickly in the mirror. I had no time to react, and suddenly I was flipping. I was mostly confused and disappointed afterwards.’, explained a distraught Alfalla post-race, who was forced to pit for an extended duration of time after the incident, before letting partner Blackford wrap up the race in 23rd altogether.
As he struggled to roll the car onto its wheels from its overturned position, Sutton drudged on – not before rejoining the pack led by team mate Steve Burke in 21st , who too had just been tossed into the field at the Cranier Curves by GT Omega’s Michael Schellbach following a battle for 8th place. Seemingly, Burke’s ousting from the top 10 of the grid served to bring about a wave of relief on those such as Laser Tools’ Aleksandar Smolensky ahead, whose team mate Rob Graham would explain later, ‘The moment I saw Burke close in on Smolensky at the start of the race I took the team’s chat to warn my team mate. Why? Because Burke is amongst the worst wreckers in the championship I would think. One of those folk that you see behind you and have to weigh up whether it’s even worth trying to defend, just to end up being wrecked yourself.’
In the heat of it all, Stem Sim Racing continued to carve a place for itself well ahead of New Homes – with cars #3 and #2 driven by Paul Smith and Robert Plumley in 5th and 7th respectively as opposed to New Homes’ only contender for a top 10 finish, Jamie Rushworth in position 8th.
Lap 10 of the race opened the pit lanes to driver swaps – initiated by Friction Racing’s Colin Cunniffe, Peter Newman Media’s #2 Steve Burke and Engine Oil’s #3 Andrew Whitehead. As Stem Sim Racing’s #2 and #3 cars followed suit on lap 12 – pack leaders Job, Katz and Swirydovicz charged forward, the former two pulling into the pits only by Lap 16. Swirydovicz meanwhile continued to extend the lead bestowed upon him as a result for one more lap, before diving into the pit lane himself by the start of Lap 17. Disappointingly, the Engine Oil Direct driver swap that saw Dan Blake step into the #1 car proceeded to last for but a couple of seconds longer than the swap time of 31-32 seconds that was being averaged by the rest of the field. The reason, Swirydovicz later explained, was the Engine Oil vehicle not being parked perfectly in its place in the pits causing them to incur a significantly costly delay.
This let the Apex Racing TV and Leo Bodnar #1 cars, now driven by Lee Thompson and Steve Hefford respectively to close the lap-wide gap set by Swirydovicz, before soaring past Blake as he left the pit. And so – the structure of the grid remained relatively unchanged, as the driver swaps did little to alter the positions of the teams and their respective cars on grid. Except of course for Ashley Sutton, who had now managed to move to 5th place after a considerably shorter 23.3 second pit stop on Lap 15. While it was natural to assume that the exceptionally shorter pit stop was due to the lack of a driver swap, Sutton claimed post-race to have prolonged his time in the pits in an attempt to emulate a swap after asking Peter Newman what the length of the pit stop was.
Regardless, despite the fact that the points that would lay under his claim post the end of the round would not be added to his team’s tally, Sutton continued with phenomenal consistency in pursuit of Stem Sim’s Ben Palmer who separated him from the podium. Unbeknown to all, Leo Bodnar’s Hefford in lead of the pack grew increasingly close to an empty fuel tank in what turned out to be the result of an unexpected lapse in memory on his part – Having left the option to ‘refuel’ the Leo Bodnar car unticked to prevent partner Katz’s vehicle from being refueled and subjected to an unnecessary delay in the event of an emergency stop in the pits, Hefford took over the wheel from his partner during the driver swap and set out ahead of the Apex Racing #1 vehicle without pouring in a drop of fuel.
This error would prove to end Leo Bodnar’s exceptional 21 lap podium run, when Hefford’s fuel would run out by lap 22 causing him to give up the lead, pit yet again and lose up to 13 positions on the grid. Soon after, Engine Oil’s #1 car driven by Blake in 2nd place would end up conceding up to 2 positions by the Cranier Curves due to a corner-cutting penalty, allowing Stem Sim #3’s Palmer and Ashley Sutton to soar past – the latter of whom would go on to overtake Palmer before the Melbourne hairpin on Lap 24 and finish off his stupendous 26 lap rush in second place behind Apex #1’s Thompson.
Stem Sim’s 3rd, 6th and 13th finish would then end up securing the team’s position in the Showdown as opposed to New Homes’ much poorer 7th, 18th and 24th finish respectively – the last of which was brought about by car number #2 driven by Laura Bond losing connection to the race altogether. ’ Our Team, well Jamie (Rushworth) sucked in qualification, nowhere up to his usual standard.’ Bond’s disgruntled partner Stephens could be heard yelling post-race. ‘I drove 17 laps with no incidents, which was 12 extra points, – swapped with Laura only to have her fall off between the pit exit and Turn One. And now this! GREAT.’
Furthermore, GT Omega’s 5th, 8th and 20th place finishes had garnered it 450 points in comparison to Engine Oil’s 399 – moving it up to the number 1 spot in the Team’s standings. Omega’s #3 driver Steliyan Chepilevsky who had suffered a miserable start in position 9th, dropped down to 14th only to have partner Russell Laidler wrap up in 8th was relieved with how things had turned out- ‘What’s incredible is that I’d come this close to a false start when I accidentally released the clutch a split second before green. We really were lucky to save that one.’
4. Round 87 – Katz Among The Pigeons.
Though in all fairness, that wasn’t even half as incredible as what the next round had in store. Team race – What team race? Viewers that night were to now be exposed to an exhilarating show of cut-throat driver against driver, kamikaze warfare that all notion of team ranking, spirit and synchronicity would be put aside as an entire grid of 24 would take to Donington in what would very well be their last and final chance of pure ‘fun’. Or was it?
Post warming up themselves, several of the disadvantaged and ill-fated from the previous round had found their way to the front of the line by virtue of the reverse grid. Grip TV’s Andrew Brown led a pack that stood as so –
As the pace car dove into the lanes post 3 caution laps that served to bring the drivers onto the grid as per their reverse-grid standings – the pair formed by Grip TV’s Andrew Brown and GT Omega’s #2 Yulian Genovski followed by that of New Homes Digital #3 Shaun Cole and Engine Oil’s #2 Linus Brostrom, plunged into a high octane game of chicken along the Cranier Curves with Peter Newman #2’s Steve Burke sandwiched in the middle, that only served to bode ill for whoever would be the first to fault.
Right enough, the Old Hairpin brought upon Brown, who had just managed to wry himself from the wolves behind him, a penalty so punishing – that Genovski, slow to swerve to the left with Burke glued to his rear, rammed into the back of Brown while carrying the same speed that had brought him past Starkley’s Bridge. The incident, just like the one with Peter Newman #3’s Sutton in the previous round, would mar Brown’s race yet again by subjecting him to the back of the pack for the rest of the night. As Burke moved into the lead with Genovski having suffered only a minor detour behind him in 2nd, Leo Bodnar’s Andreas Katz, desperate to make up for the blunder that had cost his team the previous round, had begun his ascent to the podium beginning with Engine Oil’s #3, Whitehead in 6th place ahead of him.
Katz emerged victorious by the Esses, taking advantage of Whitehead’s much wider line to elbow his way ahead. Whitehead’s poor choice of line meanwhile, continued well into the Melbourne hairpin, allowing Stem Sim’s #1 Ashley Blake-Hood to sail past; and into the final corner, where an under-steering Aleksandar Smolensky in Laser Tools’ #1 Optima would dive into his bumper as if ushering him towards the pit-entry. Visibly shaken, Whitehead struggled to pick up the pieces down the WheatCroft straight, unaware that his slightly erratic swerving was forcing Pete Newman in the Peter Newman Media #1 vehicle beside him in 12th into the grass. This instability would finally meet its end by lap 5, where he’d end up shoving Apex Racing’s #2 Richard Gore into the field across WheatCroft (Gore would be climbing out of a crash involving GT Omega’s Steliyan Chepilevsky being thrown into the tyre barrier after the Melbourne hairpin at the time) suffering damage in the process and finally retiring to the pits for a back of the pack position by lap 6.
Meanwhile, Genovski was making a habit of losing control at the Old Hairpin – having his rear tyres slip onto the grass before the corner and drifting sideways into Burke’s side in high speed. ‘Burke was involved? Then it must have been Burke’s fault’, an amused Russell Laidler, Genovski’s team mate would quip later reinstating that Burke’s reputation of a ‘wrecker’ preceded him. Regardless, Genovski would drudge on before being hit by Burke in return at the Melbourne hairpin, causing him to jump into the pits for a quick repair by lap 7, 3 laps before the driver swap window would open, almost taking Katz who was on his inside by the final turn with him.
In the interim, the face behind The Simpit and New Homes’ only saving grace Shaun Cole had managed to put on a fantastic display of concerted driving as he valiantly struggled to fight off Laser Tools’ #2, James Leggett in a side-by side duel through the Crainer Curves on Lap 6 followed by that with Stem Sim’s Blake-Hood on Lap 7. Both battles would cost him a position unfortunately, dropping him in 6th which would still be several places ahead of the next New Homes car, #1 driven by Rushworth in position 11. His shot at the podium however came to an end by Lap 8 when, seemingly distracted by trying to stay out of the storm that was brewing behind him, he ended up incurring a penalty at the The Esses, losing up to 4 positions all at once.
The storm in question was the result of Peter Newman’s Ashley Sutton, rising through the ranks from last place once again to challenge GT Omega’s #1 Daniel Hunt, then in position 8th before the Esses. Sutton had barely made it out alive the previous lap, having been set into a slide at by Laser Tools’ #1 Smolensky alongside Engine Oil’s #1 Swirydovicz on approach to Turn 7. His stupendous car control however saved the day, which only ended up biting Smolensky in the rear as Swirydovicz wandered off into the gravel to avoid Sutton’s vehicular correction, before rejoining the Peter Newman #3 car with enough force on approach to cause Sutton to tap Smolensky – who had crept alongside him by then- into the gravel by Turn 8. All within the stretch of a few 100 meters.
Forward to Lap 8 and Sutton had now violently pushed Daniel Hunt aside on turning into Turn 8, allowing himself and team mate Newman in position behind him through. In all fairness, if Cole was perturbed by what was going on behind him, it was for good reason. By Lap 9, the three-way battle between Sutton, Newman and Hunt took a turn for the ugly, once again at Turn 8, as Hunt moved alongside Newman’s outside for the corner entry. This time, Hunt had forced his way into Newman’s path out of the exit, causing the latter’s car to assume 360 degree spin position. Knowing it wouldn’t end well, Newman immediately slammed on the brakes only to have Swirydovicz ram into his rear at high speed, sending them both into the gravel. Swirydovicz took it the worst as his car flipped and twisted before having to be subjected to repairs that would set the current PRO DRIVER championship leader back an entire lap.
‘Hunt didn’t give me any space and just turned into the front of my car.’, Newman justified when asked if things had maybe gone out of hand. ‘So there was no carelessness on my behalf. If anything it was Dan’s fault as I had every right to be where I was and have been 2 wide through that corner with others many times before. Rather than keeping my foot on it and putting him into a wall however, I braked. But Woj (Swirydovicz) wasn’t expecting that and hit me-Dammed if I did, dammed if I didn’t. Also, the plan was to let Ash (Sutton) past to get a tow – I don’t think Dan liked the team tactics.’
Daniel Hunt meanwhile maintained that there was no love lost between them. ‘I think they were under the assumption that everything was finalized and so were just having fun’, he reflected. ‘It was all just racing really.’ Regardless, the race moved on before nearly coming to a halt altogether for Stem Sim Racing at the end of Lap 10. Stem Sim’s #1 Ashley Blake-Hood had swerved into the pit-wall on entry after the opening of the driver-swap window, sending his car into the air and nearly ruining team mates’ Robert Plumley and Paul Smith’s races as they rushed into the pits along with him. Fortunately, the only damage Blake-Hood did cause was to his own car and that of Pete Newman’s as he reversed into the latter after landing on his feet.
‘That’s not my first tangle with a pit wall during a team race,’ he revealed. This time wasn’t entirely my fault though, Dan Hunt’s over active right foot and the resulting collision at the Melbourne Hairpin caused so much damage that the car just steered left as soon as I touched the brakes. Reversing back in to both my teammates and then across the nose of a PNM car was just the sh**ty icing on the sh**ty cake that made up that meeting for me.’
That thankfully, marked the end of night’s show of comic relief as the grid began to break up for the driver changes, all of which ensued without event. Except for New Homes Digital perhaps who, to top off their relatively poor performance in comparison to Stem Sim, had their car #2 driven by Stephens subjected to nearly a minute long driver-swap. ‘It takes Laura a full minute to get in the car, twice as long as everyone else basically!’, yelled Kip when I rather reluctantly asked him about it later. ‘Maybe there was a beer can under the pedals, I don’t know! We also had the extra 12 points from my having zero incidents the previous round, but that didn’t last long did it? I don’t want to talk anymore I’m going home.’
In the intervening period – Andreas Katz, who had managed to sift his way to the front of the pack and stay ahead of Peter Newman’s Burke for a large part of the race, drove on pitting only by lap 16 as opposed to Burke who had swapped places with partner Simon Field on lap 10. Furthermore, the poor state of Katz’s tyres had begun to turn into a source of worry as his lead over Burke’s partner Field had dropped down to a mere 47 seconds by the time the Leo Bodnar driver decided to swap places with Steve Hefford. With the entire act of entering the pit, swapping drivers, refueling, repairing and exiting would last for exactly if not more than 47 seconds, tensions ran rife as Field darted past the pit exit just as Hefford was taking the Leo Bodnar out onto the track.
Surprisingly Field would run wide at the Melbourne hairpin on the same lap, allowing Leo Bodnar to take the lead it had so aptly created for itself from the very start of the race. Rather than worry about pursuing Hefford however, Field remained concerned with simply fending off Engine Oil’s #1 car previously driven by Swirydovicz and now driven by Dan Blake, who was a lap behind Field anyway. Bodnar finally took the win, closely followed by Peter Newman’s Field and Apex Racing TV’s Sebastian Job who had managed to cut into the frame from nowhere as was so natural to him.
Not unexpectedly, Stem Sim had managed to place two of its vehicles, #2 and #3 within the top 10 – 6th and 9th place respectively – as opposed to only one car of New Homes, #1 driven by the pair of Jamie Rushworth and Jamie Fluke placing in 5th. ‘The key to our success was our teamwork’, explained a much relieved Paul Smith later. ‘We made sure we had a good balance between the 3 cars so that we could score some big points. The first race went well for us, I was able to not fall too far down the order so that when I handed over to Ben he was able to make up places with his pace. The second race was all about getting good points and we did that even though two of our cars were right at the back at one stage of the race.’
I then asked Jamie Rushworth if he felt that perhaps things would have turned out better were it not for the inconsistency of his team mates. ‘Jamie (Fluke) and I were unfortunately both off the pace on the night so even though we were the fastest New Homes Digital car, we still had two Stem Sim cars qualify ahead of us.’, he reasoned. ‘We had two good races though and scored decent points in our car, but unfortunately Laura was having hardware issues in the #42 car which meant we didn’t score very well, so Stem Sim pulled ahead and solidified their Showdown place. Disappointing really, as it would have been great to beat them, but in reality we would have had to have a perfect round and them a terrible one and it ended up happening the other way round!’
Stephens meanwhile, had apparently not gone home after the fiasco with Bond after all and managed to grab a hold of my pen just as I was leaving the New Homes Facebook haunt to state– ‘We don’t mind finishing 4th. It brought some tension to the last round which was fun, so well done Team STEM SIM. Well I say Team loosely, as Ben Palmer is an Engine Oil Direct traitor really who only raced with them because they got desperate for points and dragged him in in panic. Plus the whole reserve gate debacle that totally upset half of them. Yeah good luck in the Showdown Stem Sim, I mean that from the heart.’
GT Omega meanwhile had only extended their lead head of Engine Oil Direct in the Team’s standings as planned, with their top two cars placing in 7th and 15th as opposed to Engine Oil’s 4th and 18th positions.
5. The BSRTC In A Nutshell.
As the drivers now gathered their strength for 5 weeks of grueling, professional grade racing that would ascertain if their 7 month long effort would actually amount to a piece of the $10,000 prize fund – I wandered on to their Facebook group hoping to get a sense of things to come. I presumed discussions of strategy, lap time talk and the like would be aplenty. Nada. I learnt then that a large part of the 600 plus gathering on Facebook were working on an Excel Sheet that Jeroen had designed in order to gather a detailed summary of their backgrounds and personalities for forthcoming races. Apparently, he’d invited all of them to fill in details by themselves and well, he should have known –
This race will also be aired on MOTORSTV on the 17th of November as per the schedule here. Meanwhile, Higher Eclectic Ground will not only be covering the last five races of the BSRTC, called the Showdown, set to be streamed live on ApexRacing TV’s Youtube channel at 8.15 P.M GMT – but will also be making an announcement with regards to its collaboration with the British Sim Racers and Higher Eclectic’s indie and art community. To make sure you do not miss out on anything, do head down to our Facebook page where all the activity lies and ensure you’re signed up. Moreover, those interested in racing with the BSRTC community or simply hanging out with them by the pitlanes, can do so by signing up to their closed group on Facebook.