The third race of the iRacing British Sim Racers Touring Car (BSRTC) PRO Series at Brands Hatch’s Indy Circuit concluded this Thursday the 31st of March, leaving Eclectic Motorsport to maintain its position of ninth place within the Season’s standings that was attained during the course of the Season’s second race at Watkin’s Glen on the 24th.
After a tumultuous Season opener at Philip Island that brought along with it its fair share of on-track incidents and dropped the team to the bottom of the standings on the 17th of March, encouragement began to arrive when Shoppe Keep sponsored RESERVE PRO driver George Simmons qualified for 10th place on the grid at Watkin’s.
A relatively disciplined course through the first round of the night saw the driver move to 4th place, before reigning PRO Champion and current Sim Racer Magazine Team Driver Sebastian Job and David Baker of Race Hub took over to have Simmons finish in 6th place. Note however, that any points attained by Simmons do not contribute to the team’s standings and only to his own, given his status as a reserve driver for the team.
Simmon’s eventual 15th place finish in the race’s second round served to further add to the Team’s top-10 finishes of the Season (of which this was the second, following Ben Hackeson’s 6th place finish on race one at Philip Island), when he started the third round in 7th place as the result of the customary Grid reversal and went on to bag his first podium of the Season in third place. The team’s full-time Shoppe Keep sponsored PRO driver Benjamin Hackeson on the other hand had his exclusion from qualification — the result of a Penalty served at Philip Island — working against him, keeping him at the mid-rear of the grid for a large part of the night.
This mid-rear grid stint ended by the final round, when a second place start on account of a Grid reversal led the young sim-racer to his second podium of the Season in third place. The consistently driven, Potshotpete sponsored car of current AM Champion John Roberts meanwhile had managed to reduce his points deficit to 261 — bringing himself up to 11th place on the AM Drivers’ standings as a result — while that of Team Manager Andrew Whitehead’s unfortunately managed to finish only two of the four rounds after being involved in two separate race collisions.
This gradual regaining of the team’s balance was further helped by Ben Hackseon at Brands Hatch Indy on the 31st, when the Shoppe Keep drivers finished in 9th place behind George Simmons in 6th during the first round. Excitingly the duo would go on to maintain their relative positions within the top 10 for the next two rounds, with Hackeson consuming 8th and 9th place while Simmons owned 10th and 5th, before both drivers were taken out by crashes on Race 4.
Nevertheless Hackeson and Simmons’ five top 10 finishes now have them in 12th and 13th place of the overall Drivers’ standings respectively, just as Potshotpete sponsored John Roberts’ four mid-rear pack finishes from the night at Brands brings him up to 9th place of the AM Drivers’ standings. Furthermore, leaving out the incident that ended his race prematurely by the fourth round, Whitehead’s three rounds saw the Series veteran hold his own against the competition by progressively making gains in position within the rear of the pack, where he also finished in good pace. The team will now be seen taking to the oval track of Phoenix on the 7th of this month, at 8.15 P.M GMT.
On the sponsorship front, besides visibly flying their flags on the drivers’ cars, both Potshotpete and Shoppe Keep have been debuting advertisements for themselves during the inter-round breaks at Watkin’s Glen and Brands Hatch Indy. It is worth noting however that the Potshotpete channel broke away from its humble teaser that was displayed during the race at Watkin’s Glen, to make way for a more visually descriptive trailer at Brands Hatch this week. Both sponsors are on track to advertise their respective projects over the next couple of weeks, on account of their corresponding four week sponsorship of John Roberts & Ben Hackeson that ranges from 24th March to 14th April, 2016.
The iRacing BSRTC PRO Series Touring Car PRO Series is an internationally broadcast, simulation racing championship that is currently witnessing 50 talented iRacing users compete for a $10,000 prize fund over the course of its Tenth Season. Besides being streamed to nearly 2,000 viewers every week on Apex Racing TV every Thursday at 8.15 P.M GMT, the races are also broadcast on MotorsTV International with up to three repeats.
By branding the former ProAm XLDesigns team of Andrew Whitehead, John Roberts, Ben Hackeson, George Simmons and James Leggett to Eclectic Motorsport, Higher Eclectic Ground has been offering independent game talent from both within and outside its community the opportunity to advertise their games, YouTube channels, brands and other gaming projects via the event by sponsoring one of the team’s full-time drivers for an inexpensive fee on a monthly basis.
While John Roberts is sponsored by Community member Jack Davison of the Potshopete Channel and Ben Hackeson by indie RPG Shoppe Keep developers Strange Fire until the 14th of April this year, those interested in joining them by sponsoring full-time driver Andrew Whitehead of Eclectic Motorsport — and creatively advertising their gaming projects amid the Series’ widely broadcast races over the course of four weeks in the process — can do so by visiting, learning more and applying for the same via the Independent Gaming Sponsorship Application page.
Watch the Brands Hatch Indy broadcast on Apex Racing TV’s official YT Channel and be sure to catch the Potshotpete & Shoppe Keep advertisements during the inter-round breaks.
Higher Eclectic Ground is now participating in the tenth season of the iRacing British Sim Racers’ Touring Cars (BSRTC) PRO Series that commences on 17th March, 2016 as Eclectic Motorsport; comprising of current BSRTC PRO Series’ Amateur Division Drivers’ Champion John Roberts, 5th place holder within the recently concluded BSR Winter Series Ben Hackeson, Series veteran Andrew Whitehead and reserve driver George Simmons, the former XLDesigns team will now be seen representing and flying the Higher Eclectic Ground colors in contention for the Series’ Amateur Division Championship.
Given how Roberts and Whitehead were previously Engine Oil Direct teammates last year, confidence within the team stands strong. ‘Bringing Hackeson and Simmons into the mix has really been the icing on the cake; We’ve all raced together in different series before, so we really are hooked up well as a team,’ explains team manager Andrew Whitehead, proud of the ensemble he’s managed to put together.
‘There’s a very positive feeling in the garage and we’re pleased to be collaborating with Euro Chip Digital and Engine Oil Direct on setups and driver mentoring. We’re all looking forward to the season ahead.’
The BSRTC of course being a user created, KIA Optima driven Touring Car league that made history last year, when the Ninth Season of its PRO Series became iRacing’s first user-created Touring Car championship to feature a $10,000 prize fund while also being broadcast on Europe’s largest motorsport channel, MotorsTV International.
Besides a Sim Racer Magazine published biography and weekly race reports provided by Higher Eclectic Ground last year, the Series remains relevant to the independent gaming community here in the fact that its members were given the opportunity to promote their games, blogs and other gaming projects amid the Series’ international gaming and sim-racing audience over the course of its final weeks.
This was done by letting them sponsor drivers during the races, which earned them a spot on those drivers’ cars to advertise their games & related brands, a 30 second ad slot for the same on the races’ iRacing LIVE and YouTube streams, along with animated pop-ups during the races’ MotorsTV International television broadcasts. The inexpensive structure established by the BSRTC & its broadcast partners Apex Racing TV for this purpose, saw nearly 10 of the Community’s members promote their gaming endeavors over the course of the PRO Series’ final five races.
With Eclectic Motorsport, more of the same sponsorship opportunities return albeit with much more structure; independent gaming talent is now encouraged to sponsor a driver for the duration of a month at a time i.e. four races instead of a week. This is to avoid the chaos that stems from multiple sponsors arriving and leaving every race, while also ensuring the advertised games and projects attain maximum exposure.
Furthermore, those promoting their gaming projects will be doing so only via Eclectic Motorsport’s cars, unlike last time where sponsors were allocated random cars/drivers on the grid. Meanwhile, the live-stream ad slots and TV pop-ups that arrived with each sponsorship last year also make a return — all part of a singular sponsorship package.
The Tenth Season of the BSRTC PRO Series will run from the 17th of March to the 17th of November this year, featuring more than 40 drivers & 13 teams competing for a $10,000 prize fund, titles of the PRO Drivers’, AM(Amateur) Drivers’, PRO Teams’ and AM Teams’ Championship — over the course of 34 races.
Drivers are allocated to the PRO and AM divisions based solely on skill, following which each attempts to place themselves at the highest point within that division’s Standings over the course of 28 races.
At the end of these races The Showdown begins; wherein only the top 10 drivers from the PRO division, top 5 drivers from the AM division and the top 3 teams from each are allowed to compete for their respective divisions’ titles over the remaining 7 races.
Each race comprises of four, 15-minute rounds, which are broadcast to an audience of nearly 2.000 sim-racing & gaming enthusiasts on iRacing LIVE and ApexRacing TV’s official YouTube channel every Thursday at 8 P.M. GMT; the MotorsTV broadcasts of the race are then televised a week later with two repeats, amid the channel’s audience of nearly 30 million subscribers across 40 countries.
Audience and viewer-base then are expected to be at an all time high this time around, given the Series’ recent procurement of an iRacing title sponsorship, along with the 45 episodes of MotorsTV International screen time that came along with it.
As practice for the Season’s opener at Philip Island progresses in top gear this week, independent game developers & gaming artists from both within and outside the Community are being invited to promote their Games, Blogs, YouTube Channels, crowd-funding campaigns and other Gaming projects via Eclectic Motorsport during the Season’s first month of races that span — the 17th of March, 24th of March, 31st of March and 4th of April, 2016. A complete overview of fees and perks, along with all other necessary information needed to do so is linked to at the bottom of this article.
Meanwhile, efforts on the Community’s plans to reach out to a more mainstream audience by involving Video Game publishers and other companies as full team sponsors & participants, that were announced back in January, are still underway. Regardless, be sure to keep an eye for all the independent gaming talent choosing to make their debut via the PRO Series over the course of its season.
After over two months since the finale of their grand Ninth season last year, Community partners British Sim Racers are now set to return with the 2016 season of their increasingly popular IRacing based touring car championship — the BSRTC PRO Series. Scheduled to span more than three quarters of the year from the 17th of March to the 8th of December, while the forthcoming touring-car based season is already looking to be the most spectacular one yet — we have been working harder than ever to help develop the Series into a platform for our members to gain greater exposure for their independent game creations.
Followers of the community from last year will recall that towards the final couple of months of the BSRTC’s 2015 Season — one that witnessed 50 drivers come together over 102 races for a piece of a $10,000 prize fund amidst MOTORS TV television broadcasts — Higher Eclectic Ground’s partnership with the British Sim Racers had resulted in the development of a unique structure of self-promotion for its independent game members. Courtesy of the ingenuity of Apex Racing TV — broadcasters & commentators of the PRO Series — our indie game developers & other game related media creators were given the opportunity to not only sponsor drivers on behalf of their creations for the duration of a race, but were also granted advertisement slots during the races’ live streams on YouTube & IRacing Live along with specially designed pop-ups during the races’.
Watch members debut their creations’ trailers pre-race during last season’s finale.
The result was not one, but nearly ten of our members — majority being indie game developers — opting to debut exclusive teasers & trailers to their games & creations during the widely streamed & telecast final few races (Read the full report here). Coupling that with the general response received by the rest of the community, it was only natural for us to discuss with the British Sim Racers’ administration over the holidays, the possibility of turning the Series into a more mainstream Video Game event for the benefit of our members.
The previous Season, sponsored by Engine Oil Direct, comprised of Teams of drivers — each of which were sponsored by various motorsport and non-motorsport related bodies such as Apex Racing, New Homes Digital, Peter Newman Media, Euro Chip Digital and so forth. What’s more, although the Series was broadcast on MOTORS TV halfway through the year, it was yet to be recognized as an official league by IRacing.
As announced in our quick article on the 30th of January this year though — IRacing has now picked up the official title sponsorship of the Series, making it IRacing’s 2016 BSRTC PRO Series and bringing along with it 130 hours of MOTORS TV International screen time for the Series’ upcoming season. With over 40 drivers having already put down their names for the Season — the BSRTC is also hoping to amp up its prize fund to a whopping $20,000.
While it was envisioned to have this prize fund come from a more solid Team sponsorship structure this year around — wherein third party companies would sponsor a Team/Teams of drivers for the course of the season — we thought a little different, suggesting that mainstream Video Game bodies such as established publishers, news outlets and Hardware companies be involved as full team sponsors. Why? Involving these Video Game companies would not only bring the Series additional coverage and recognition within the more mainstream Gaming community as a thriving Video Game event — but also provide our members with greater incentive and exposure to debut their games on a platform that will have not just sim-racers but other gamers tuning in every week.
And so, a structure regarding the same was devised and has now been put up on the website for our members to read and understand at the bottom of this article. Also accessible via the newly added banner advertising the BSRTC PRO Series on the home page, the BSRTC PRO Series’ 2016 plan goes into the fees required for sponsoring a full team over the course of the Series and how accumulated fees will be split as winnings amongst the drivers. The full team sponsorships are primarily directed towards established Video Game bodies, although our members and indie game developers willing to have their own teams for the series for the stated fees can avail of the same as well.
What’s more, readers will also notice that the package devised for our indie game members over last year — wherein paying a small fee granted them a space for advertising on a single car, live stream ad slots & television pop-ups — makes a return with a few more enhanced packages allowing for per-race team sponsorships as well.
The next couple of weeks will see us reaching out to potential Team sponsors in earnest, while our members will be approached for per-race advertisements closer towards the Season launch. That said, if one would like to express their interest in sponsoring a Full Team or a driver for a Single Race, they can do so by dropping us a line via the Contact Form on our website.
Stay tuned for news as it unfolds. Meanwhile, do share your thoughts on the same in the comments below. To learn more of the BSRTC PRO Series and its partnership with Higher Eclectic Ground, visit the British Sim Racers’ Partner’s page.
Released on the 25th of this month, Sim Racer Magazine‘s first issue of the year now features an elaborate, never-seen-before biography of the British Sim Racers & their increasingly popular, BSRTC PRO Series Touring Car Championship on IRacing — as written by us at Higher Eclectic Ground back in October, 2015.
This biography of course, arrives exactly a week after BSR made one of its grandest announcements in the midst of its on-going Winter Series’ race at Silverstone last week — IRacing has picked up the official title sponsorship of the upcoming, tenth season of the BSRTC PRO Series scheduled to launch later in March this year. This is in addition the the Series’ being granted 45 episodes on Motors TV International, with 2 repeats each, garnering it 130 hours of International Television time for the upcoming season.
Founded in 2013 by IRacing enthusiasts Kip Stephens and Steve Richardson, the BSRTC PRO Series became the simulation racing service’s first user-created, professional-grade Touring Car championship to grace the households of real-world motorsport fans via Motors TV last year. The television broadcasts arrived halfway through the Series’ ninth season — one that for the first time, featured 50 talent sim-racers & 11 teams compete for a slice from a $10,000 prize pot.
Higher Eclectic Ground’s affiliation with the Series began in October of the same year via a mutual acquaintance — long time BSR member Tristan Boddice Ratsnacker — with us constructing an inside look at the BSRTC PRO Series’ rise from a falling out with Pitlanes.com‘s founders within IRacing’s UK & Ireland community, to what is now clearly a true-to-life Video Game experience vouched by the likes of real world racers such as BTCC Team BMR’s 2015 Clio Cup UK Champion Ash Sutton and Simpit legend Shaun Cole.
This affiliation quickly grew into a partnership, with us not only delivering exclusive weekly race reports to the sim-racing community but also for the first time in independent video game history — offering our member independent game developers & talent the opportunity to uniquely advertise their creations during the races’ Apex Racing TV live streams & television broadcasts.
Now as the Series gears up for its largest, most eventful Season yet — Higher Eclectic Ground continues to work with the Series, as it has been for last few months, to help turn it into a more widely recognized, mainstream Video Game event that transcends sim-racing barriers. All of this of course, in recognition of the Series’ potential as a platform for independent Video Game talent.
Stay tuned for announcements & more on the same as we head into February. Till then, if you’ve picked up an issue of Sim Racer Magazine’s latest issue via their portal and read our biography of the Series — be sure to let us know how you enjoyed it. To learn more of the BSRTC PRO Series, catch last season’s races & our coverage on the same, feel free to drop by their Partners’ page.
‘After a long, long season, on behalf of the commentary team I would like to wish everyone the best of luck for tonight.
It has been an honour to have been on this journey with you all, starting in March, finishing in December, and taking on international TV along the way! (Big thanks to Lee Thompson and Alex Marshall for their fantastic work!) Well done to the league admins, especially Jeroen Keizer for all the great work with the scoring. Congratulations to all the drivers who have taken part, the 100 of you who have scored championship points, you have been outstanding.
Lastly a big thank you to Alex Simpson and Adam Bath – friends and colleagues in the commentary box; it’s been an absolute pleasure gents.
So on to Daytona. Let’s make it fast, fun and fair, and may the best drivers take home the money!’
Four hours prior to the finale of the Season at Daytona Road – one that had seen 50 drivers, 11 teams, $10,000 in prize money and a MotorsTV UK broadcast come together for 35 weeks of what had proved to be IRacing’s most formidable user-created Touring Car offering yet – the mood set by ApexRacing TV commentator Andrew Woodhouse was seemingly one that was shared by a large proportion of the BSRTC community.
And why not – drivers had toiled for nearly a year several weeks in a row, sifted through highs and lows, fought on track, argued off it and made it out alive in what was perhaps their virtual racing career’s boldest, most tempestuous outing yet. Emotional, as Engine Oil Direct’s AM Driver Andrew Whitehead put it. And so, not wanting to disturb that flow of sentiment with my customary, now meaningless question of how things were looking prior to the race – I refrained from any interaction, preferring instead to observe.
There was however more than one dimension to it all. It is no news that the BSRTC harbours its share of driver-against-driver controversy and tension – it is what has made the series tick; what has kept it entertaining and unpredictable till the very end. And yet one particular BSRTC PRO Series driver, who had managed to evade my attempts at interaction for quite some time now due to their inherent controversial nature, decided to get in touch at but the last minute to lend his perspective for the sake of it being the Season’s end. Noticeably burned out, while said driver swore by the enthrallment, energy and pure fun of racing within the series – he went on to state that he would not be returning to the PRO Series for some time.
Taken back by his declaration when the rest of the community was amidst tears of joy prior to the Season’s end, I sought to find out the reason behind it. ‘I’m not 100% sure what my reasons are, but it just doesn’t feel right at the moment’. Why wouldn’t it?
Julian Genovski tipping Jamie Rushworth’s rear and ending his race in the process.
‘There’s a lot going on – some odd and frankly unsupportive behaviour from a few drivers. It really isn’t a happy time – Take Genovski for instance’, he continued, alluding to the recent spate of incidents involving GT Omega’s Julian Genovski which team member Dan Hunt had gone on to explain as incidental in the previous report. ‘He definitely has been on some sort of wrecking mission. Whether it’s a solo mission or team orders I don’t know, but his intentions are obvious. That’s been noticed by many, even viewers of the YouTube broadcasts. What’s even stranger is that he has had nothing to lose by wrecking others and forsaking his own race – He’s a reserve team member for GT Omega, so he doesn’t score for the team!’
‘And then, there’s Ash Sutton’, he stated, referring to the Peter Newman Media driver notorious for making extraordinary leaps in position mid-race via not the cleanest of means. ‘He is not breaking any rules, but he’s really not racing according to the spirit of the series. Following his end of the real-world 2015 Renault Clio Cup UK season, he came back to BSR and even said on Mumble “I’m only here for the fun, so you know what that means, carnage.’
‘He tows Ben Palmer (of Stem Sim Racing) in Qualification and deliberately fails to set a time so that he starts from the back – And then acts like a bull in a china shop bulldozing his way through the pack with no real care whether he finishes the race or not … the potential of this affecting the outcome of the series is overwhelming.’ With all the noise against him, has he ever been confronted I questioned. ‘I have asked him about it – he acted like a 3 year old child with a chocolate covered face denying any knowledge of who’d eaten the freshly baked chocolate cake!’
‘I don’t mind him towing Ben. Nor do I mind him protecting his CQR team mates during the race’, he went on, referring to an older BSRTC team, CQR that contained both Sutton and Palmer as team mates. ‘That’s actually admirable. But refusing to qualify so he can prove a point and “have fun” at others’ expense is unfair’. Surely with all the injustice that one feels is prominent within the series, the BSRTC’s administration must have been notified at some point?
‘We have taken stuff to the admins before and generally get accused of being conspiracy theorists. It gets to the point where it’s not worth the energy – If you choose to voice anything, you simply get flamed with childish memes.’ Despite his grievances however, he was certain of a bright future for the BSRTC irrespective of whether it included him or not. ‘I don’t think it’s going anywhere but up! The more attention it gets, the more people will want a piece of the action.’
‘Once people out there in iRacing land see that the prize fund was real and the teams got their payout, it’ll get even more interest. My only fear is that it gets too successful and turns into a corporate monster. To date we’ve had the same select hard core drivers season in and season out, with only a few newcomers trickling in from time to time. Some stay, some can’t take the pace. But the more successful it becomes, the more it will potentially lose that family feel. Maybe that’s what’s giving me itchy feet now? Who knows?’
Standings After The Previous Round At Sebring International Raceway.
Round 100 – Split Second.
By the end of the round the airwaves and chats had been set ablaze; throughout its course, the battle between Wojceich Swirydovicz and Sebastian Job who had begun the race in pole and second place respectively lay shrouded in uncertainty. While Job had initially fallen off behind Keizer after the Engine Oil Direct driver zipped past him in Swirydovicz’s wake post a rolling start, a healthy feed of drafting post the Bus Stop had managed to get the ApexRacing TV driver close and past Keizer by lap three.
As Keizer wandered off into the run-off at turn one by lap 6 to eventually drop down and finish his race in 7th place, five more bouts of slipstreaming and consistency through the corners allowed for Job to whisk past Swirydovicz after the final bend. This would set into motion a recurring pattern, one where the duo would exchange places via the same manoeuvre lap after lap until the final stretch. By then, Swirydovicz – who was placed behind Job – would pull alongside the ApexRacing TV driver at only the last second, causing both to cross the line at nearly the same instant. While Job was recorded by IRacing’s software as the round’s winner, the gap between him and Swirydovicz was naught – 0.000 exactly. ‘The main plan was to not slow each other down, play it safe. I think it worked, since Katz was going very fast – he was gaining on us but yeah, we managed to stay ahead’, explained the Engine Oil driver to the commentary team at the end of the round.
As photographs and exclamations flooded Facebook during the 10 minute break after, the rest of the race had concluded while managing to remain for the most part, a quiet affair. Following setting himself up ahead of Keizer by lap three, Katz’s competition would come in the form of Stem Sim Racing driver Ben Palmer. Palmer had begun the race in 9th place, moved past Pete Newman before Turn one on Lap two and dominated the inside of the battling duo of Jamie Rushworth and Colin Cunniffe at the same place on Lap four.
After Keizer’s tryst with the run-off served to elevate Palmer up by one more place, the Stem Sim driver would now engage in a bumper-hugging chase behind Katz; as the slipstreams drew him closer, Palmer simply followed the leader, gently rubbing the paint off the Euro Chip car’s rear without swerving to its flanks for an overtake. Palmer later admitted that this act was part of Rushworth and his strategy to stay within Katz’s draft in order to close the gap between the Swirydovicz-Job duo and the rest of the pack – ‘Katz may have thought we were attempting to overtake him but we weren’t. We were trying to catch up with Job and Swirydovicz ahead and we did – by the final lap. It was probably the best bit of racing I’ve had all year.’
Regardless, Katz’s 3rd place finish against Job’s 1st had served to reduce the gap between the two PRO drivers to but 8 points on the Standings. Rushworth and Cunnife maintained their positions behind Palmer while David Baker had catapulted from 14th to 8th place, with the gap between him and Swirydovicz now reduced to a mere 12 points. This was in part, made possible by a duel between Jamie Fluke and Dan Blake for 9th place on lap 4 when Fluke seemed to have misjudged his braking point alongside Blake prior to the Bus stop’s entry, resulting in the New Homes driver cutting the section altogether.
Andreas Katz moves in on Jeroen Keizer.
Blake’s wide entry into the Bus stop meanwhile allowed Chepilevsky and Baker to catch up, before Baker came out on top of the trio by Lap 5 as Fluke worked off his penalty. Peter Newman Media wrapped up the top 10 with Newman in 9th and Sutton – who had begun the race in 29th place – close behind him. Their team mate Simon Field who had entered the Showdown by virtue of a wildcard was already ‘mathematically’ ruled out of the PRO Championship along with ApexRacingTV driver Lee Thompson, whose participation in the current and primary weeks of the Showdown had been prevented by real world commitments.
Having dropped down 4 places after a 13th place start, leading AM contender John Roberts meanwhile was embroiled in a three lap duel with AM rival Richard Gore for 16th place over the final four laps that finally saw Gore overtake Jake Blackhall to finish in 15th place. Steve Richardson, who had begun the race with a 68 point lead over Paul Smith – after the Stewards had voted against Smith on the incident involving him accidentally ending John Roberts’ race on the first round at Sebring, resulting in his point earnings being revoked – finished in 25th place, 2 positions behind Smith.
Incidents were also at a minimum; Andrew Whitehead and Michael Schellbach’s race ended prematurely after the former was spun into the barrier between turns 3 and 4 by Schellbach in 18th place. Schellbach’s overtaking attempt from Whitehead’s outside with two wheels on the grass post turn 3 had inevitably led to contact. A few moments prior, Laser Tools’ Dylan Robinson was set perpendicular to traffic by GT Omega’s Russell Laidler on turn one that led to his finishing the race in 32nd. His team mate Rob Graham suffered a similar fate at the same corner on lap 9 after lines conflicted with that of Rob Fagg in 18th – before suffering an engine blowout on the final lap to finish in 33rd.
Round 101 – A Job Half Done.
The trio of Katz, Swirydovicz and Job found themselves in proximity with each other at the start of the lap – in 13th, 14th and 15th place respectively – that quickly amounted to a nail biting first lap for the PRO Championship’s leading contender. Swirydovicz, quicker than Katz off the rolling start, had already positioned himself on the inside of Ben Palmer in 12th place by Turn One, which immediately materialized into another position for the Engine Oil Direct driver before Turn two. Prior to its entry however, Palmer had darted to Swirydovicz’s left as the pack braked – hoping to take him from the outside when instead, he ended up side-panelling Andreas Katz who was present with the intention of pulling off the same manoeuvre.
This landed two of Katz’s wheels on the grass, causing him to drift upon it around the corner before rejoining the pack in 23rd amidst tiny nudges inflicted upon and incurred. While Palmer took full responsibility for the incident and even conveyed his apologies to the Euro Chip driver later, Job had now crept alongside Swirydovicz for the bend between turns 7 and 8 before permanently placing himself ahead before the Bus-stop chicane.
A few moments later Chepilevsky had attained the lead from pole-starter Richard Gore after the former’s third place start, leaving GT Omega’s Russell Laidler with the onus of fending off Ashley Sutton who had begun the race in 6th. By lap two, Job had attempted to force himself down an opening created between the pairs of Jamie Rushworth-Colin Cunniffe and Pete Newman-Jeroen Keizer on entry to turn two, making up two places over the Rushworth-Cunniffe duo in the process. Fluke held his line as Newman quickly overtook Dan Blake, setting into motion a half-lap duel between the Engine Oil and New Homes driver that mimicked that of Round 100.
Richard Gore leads the pack as Chepilevsky and Laidler look on.
Unlike Round 100 though, the duel didn’t witness any incident – as Job and Rushworth moved past Fluke by Lap three’s turn two. By turn one of the next lap, Job was through Blake and Newman’s outsides as well – putting himself in 8th place. Of course Swirydovicz wasn’t too far behind, coming but a whisper’s length away from disaster at turn one; while Cunniffe behind attempting to follow the Engine Oil PRO driver through the corner, Rob Fagg’s braking had rendered him slightly diagonal to traffic on entry. This resulted in him tipping Cunniffe’s car into the pit-lane’s exit turn, subjecting the Friction Racing driver to a black flag.
Nevertheless as Cunniffe moved through the pit-lane’s final section, Aleksandar Smolensky had ended up shoving AM contender Paul Smith into the run-off at Turn one in 18th place – before being quarter-panelled by Steven Burke behind him and sent into the barrier himself. Smolensky’s race had inevitably ended then and there, while Smith fortunately moved on to finish in 23rd, five places behind immediate competitor Richardson. The minor chaos had also allowed Katz to slide up 5 places into 16th.
By lap five, Swirydovicz found himself near the edge of the cliff yet again; Rob Fagg’s tap to Blake’s quarter panel from the outside of the final bend had sent both of them into the barrier just as Swirydocvicz raced past. While Fagg spiralled into a never ending series of flips on track, Blake’s ricochet off the barrier had been picked up by an oncoming John Roberts in 14th place that ended the AM Championship’s leading contender’s race. The gap between him and Gore had now been reduced to 15 points – from 97 – as a result of the ApexRacing TV AM driver’s subsequent 7th place finish. A similar incident occurred between Steve Hefford and Steven Burke before the bus stop on lap seven as well, as Kip Stephens reacted quickly to avoid disaster and finish in 14th place.
Rob Fagg and Dan Blake call it a day as John Roberts races towards the scene.
Through all of this, David Baker had found himself in 2nd place behind Chepilevsky while Sutton’s aggression seemed to have taken a notable back seat as the Peter Newman driver seemed unwilling to challenge the first two position holders – both very much within the PRO Championship while he wasn’t. As he eventually finished in 4th place behind Russell Laidler – after incurring a slowdown through the bus stop on lap 8 – his team mate Peter Newman had long dropped to the back of the pack on lap 4 after a bout of late braking had led him to ignore the bus stop altogether, suffering a black flag in the process.
Job’s consumption of Richard Gore’s place on Lap 8 to finish in 5th had served to finally place him ahead of Katz – who commendably finished in 10th place behind Swirydovicz – by 4 points on the PRO Standings. With Smolensky now facing 8th place within the Standings, New Homes’ Jamie Rushworth stood in 7th position on the PRO chart after a 11th place finish, behind Daniel Hunt and Steliyan Chepilevsky in 6th and 5th position on the leader board respectively. Chepilevsky also enjoyed what was his first win of the season with David Baker – 90 points behind Job on the Standings – finishing in 2nd.
Round 102 – Bus Stop.
The gleam of his headlights already bouncing off Swirydovicz’s rear bumper, Andreas Katz roared past the bend through turn 8 and braced for the Bus Stop in 6th place. Ahead Dan Hunt, who’d entered the chicane with a stance considerably unsteady than that of Swirydovicz behind him, fish-tailed mid corner – causing Swirydovicz to brake only momentarily, yet long enough to let Katz close in on the duo. As the Engine Oil Direct driver now drew alongside Hunt by virtue of a quicker exit from the chicane, Katz peered down the middle – darting to his right halfway through the bank, dangerously close to the barrier, as if wanting to steer clear of any incident that might unfold between the duelling drivers.
As the bank straightened, he returned; continuing to peek through the gap that stayed constant between Swirydovicz and Hunt’s doors as they crossed the line to initiate lap two. Lap one had indeed been frenetic – Genovski, having begun in pole, quickly saw his rear end slip out on entry to Turn one that only forced him to take to the pit-lane’s corner exit. At nearly the same time, team mate Michael Schellbach’s inside line in 3rd place over Stephens not only put him in first, but also steered Stephens wide. The New Homes driver recovered of course, just as mate Jamie Rushworth brushed past to fill his place in 2nd.
Julian Genovski slips towards the pits on lap one.
Shortly after, Lee Berridge’s running wide and subsequent nudge by Steven Burke behind him had set into motion a ripple of crashes that would cost the races of several drivers inclusive of Jake Blackhall, Jay Wright, Jake Blackhall, Burke himself and AM contenders Steve Richardson & Paul Smith. The battle for third place of the AM Championship had ended immediately, with Richardson’s 62 point lead over Smith persisting. For John Roberts however – who had begun in 31st to brake just in time in avoidance of a rolling Jake Blackhall during the ripple – the round was far from over; Richard Gore was far ahead near the top 10 in 12th place.
Now, as the trio of Schellbach, Rushworth and Stephens widened the gap between itself and the rest of the pack to nearly three whole seconds on the second lap – Sebastian Job straggled through the first corner before pushing past Keizer at its exit to envelope 7th place following his 11th place start. His chance to dominate over Katz would come only by the next lap when Swirydovicz, still behind Hunt would finally end up tapping the GT Omega driver and sending him into the grass at the hairpin on Turn 5 under braking. With Katz forced to slow down in-line behind Swirydovicz as a result – Job carried on through the outside, drawing alongside Katz for a while and eventually making it past him on exit of turn 6.
The Euro Chip driver of course, wouldn’t relent – coming out on top of Swirydovicz on lap four’s turn one and finally making hay as Job ran wide at the same spot on the next lap post a side-by-side run through the penultimate bend. Now, with Stephens far ahead of him to possibly catch up to on reliance of a slipstream, the only lights that flickered in the vicinity were his own pair of headlights – and that of Ashley Sutton in his rear view.
Having placed ahead of Job only momentarily post his 12th place start on Lap one, Sutton had but played the role of a voyeur – silently following Job through the course of the first five laps and letting the competition ahead of him sort itself out. Inevitably, the slipstream that he left in his wake would betray him, letting Job catch up, bump draft and eventually tap the Peter Newman Media aside to resume his chase of Katz on lap seven with Swirydovicz, David Baker, Russell Laidler, Jeroen Keizer and Richard Gore hot on his heels. With Stephens’ draft nowhere in sight, Katz would assume the defensive through the course of the final 4 laps – superbly holding his ground against the much younger Apex Racing TV driver through door-against-door duels and attempted overtakes.
By the final lap, Sutton had returned – having capitalized on the drafts set by Laidler, Baker and subsequently Swirydovicz, even nudging the Engine Oil Direct PRO driver sideways at turn two on one instance, to set his sights on the battling Season’s PRO Champions’ contenders. The unimaginable happened; as Sutton drafted in Job’s wake to draw alongside him prior to the Bus Stop, he out-braked the Apex Racing TV PRO contender – landing himself tangential to the driver’s side of Katz’s vehicle that had already initiated its turn into the chicane. The crash came. And so did the spin, sending both the Euro Chip driver into the tyre barrier but a few seconds from the finish line that would almost certainly have granted him the PRO Champion’s title. As Jamie Rushworth drafted past Schellbased at the penultimate bend to win the race, Sebastian Job had finished the race in 4th place and won himself the PRO Driver’s title.
Rushworth clings onto Schellbach’s rear bumper.
Havoc ran within the live chats and the commentary box. Boo’s and hiss’ ensued on one corner while others stated that Sutton’s going for a ‘space’ was natural of any competitive racing driver – as he finally spoke to the commentary team several minutes post round. ‘Everyone makes mistakes – I made one tonight, it’s human nature. I would just like to apologies to Katz – it wasn’t intentional. I was pretty much happy sitting between them so yes, I’d just like to say sorry to him’. While Katz later took to the same box, audibly and naturally disappointed with what had transpired after a rollercoaster of a season, I decided instead to speak to him several days after the race to hear what a calmed mind had to say.
‘You wanted a thriller? You got it’, he said. ‘My entire season has been mixed. It started great until I had absolutely no time for training mid-season, causing me to miss quite a few races. I remember being on holiday in Spain and racing on a Surface Pro Tablet that I’d erected on a few books to keep from falling! I had borrowed my kids’ wheel and trained near the pool, setting lap times over Midfield until the internet crashed. Nearer to the end of the season I made it a point to make time for IRacing – which in turn enabled me to improve.’
Coming back to Daytona – The last race went good until Ash tried to pass me at the chicane. I think he lost it because of the dirt on the dirty side of the track- that only made his braking way longer. I’ve saved a couple of messy situations this season but this push from Ash turned the car so much that there was no way to save it. I still am glad to land in 2nd place – I will be sending the $300 to the Orphanage in Africa’.
This season has shown me that IRacing and the BSRTC can compete with real life racing. Having been involved in both car and motorbike racing, I can say that the base feeling is the same here as is in real life. We had drivers like Nicki Thiim and Ash Sutton this season and that shows how great the Series is. The fact that I almost won it this year through everything really makes me proud. Next season can come alright – I will be doing my best to drive for the win.’
Post suffering an off-track penalty at the Bus stop on the final lap, David Baker had gone on to drop down to 10th place from 8th, yet still maintain a 22 point lead over Swirydovicz in the final Standings. Meanwhile, Chepilevsky’s drop from 5th to 8th on the leader board – as a direct consequence of inevitably cutting the Bus Stop post a tap by Laser Tools’ Dylan Robinson that set him bouncing off Rob Graham’s side panel– had served to nudge Hunt, Rushworth and Stephens up the Standings. Pete Newman would also end up being quarter panelled at Turn 5 by Graham in 19th place on lap 7, forcing him into the tyre barrier and out of the race.
Despite Richard Gore finishing in 12th place as opposed to Roberts’ commendable 19th place finish, a tiny margin of only 4 points had managed to keep the Engine Oil Direct driver on top of the AM Championship. ‘I’m so proud of John and yet so gutted for Woj that the showdown didn’t go the same way as the main season’, expressed Engine Oil AM driver Andrew Whitehead. ‘But also so proud that this little, predominantly AM team ended up in 2nd place against all predictions and against all odds – They are an amazing bunch and we are proud to be EOD.’
Gore was all praise for his team’s youngest, most talented PRO driver as well,‘I’m glad Sebastian won the title, he’s incredibly fast and talented that boy.‘ GT Omega of course, were crowned team champions by four hundred and twenty points over Engine Oil Direct.
‘We have had a really good team here and to finish 3rd on the teams standings is a good result for such a long season’, expressed Stem Sim driver Paul Smith. ‘From a personal point of view it’s disappointing to have such a poor finish to the season after finishing top of ES(AM) Trophy standings at the end of the normal season. $1000 to the team is good and I’ll be putting my cut to Calder Rescue.’
End Of Seasons’ Standings.
You’ll Need All Ten.
‘Well I guess that proved my theory’, the anonymous BSRTC driver was back and he wasn’t short of words. ‘Sutton is an attention hungry, spoilt little brat. It’s not the first time he’s affected the outcome of our championship by tangling unnecessarily with the main contenders. But to take out one of the guys fighting for the title in the last lap of the season is shameful and shows the utmost disrespect. Katz and Job had been door to door the whole race with only 4 points between them for the championship title. But the petulant little child wanted the attention. He’s probably still got an annoying grim on his face now, proud of his achievement! An idiot chasing celebrity – disgusting.’
But what last night did do was cement my feelings. I want to be involved next season -The camaraderie and respect shown by the majority was amazing last night. It’s something I want to remain a part of.’ And while he’d forgotten about all that was said and done, I hadn’t. I caught up with Ellis ‘Kip’ Stephens a few days later; preserving the anonymous driver’s identity, I attempted to enquire – as subtle as could be – about what certain drivers’ claims of the BSRTC’s administration being slightly off were all about. Did it give him itchy feet? Who was I asking, right?
AM Champion John Roberts.
‘You know what – I liked the drama of the last round,’ he said nevertheless. ‘Others may focus on the negatives aspects but no one is going to forget that final race. It might not have been Adelaide ‘86 but it was up there with Adelaide ‘94. You can point fingers at lots of things – Job took an extra 5 points in race 1 by half an inch over Woj; Katz lost his 4 point clean race bonus on lap 3 of the final race by inches.’
Speaking of which, well, Ash likes being a big part of the show and that’s his job. If he gets his chance in the BTCC (which I really hope he does), that’s what people will be looking forward to watching and talking about for days after. If Andy had resisted the urge to have his ‘annual’ mid-season strop after the Schellbach crash at Suzuka and just finished the races he quit -he would have stayed in the Showdown top 10, kept his podium credits and gone into the last round at Daytona with a 66 point lead instead of 33. So at the end of the day it was a crazy season with some great action and if the people want to keep pointing them blame fingers, off you go, but you’ll need all ten.’
‘As for Ben Palmer’s punt inflicted on Katz over Race two’, he quipped just as I retreated to my typewriter, ‘when IRacing add an indicator for dodgy lane changes, I’ll make sure Mr Palmer gets his installed first. And of course well done to Sebastian, GT Omega and Swirydovicz for all those wins!’
‘…Well I do get to pretend to be nice once a year.’
Season nine of The BSRTC Pro Series everybody.
Until next time.
Photo Courtesy Jamie Rushworth.
This race will also be aired on MOTORSTV on the 22nd of December as per the schedule here. Higher Eclectic Ground has not only been covering the final 7 weeks of the BSRTC PRO Series’ tenth season but had also offered the indie game community with opportunities for exposure via BSRTC sponsorships. To stay tuned to the future of the BSRTC, 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 or tweeting them @BritSimRacers . 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.