A Bittersweet Month Of Racing (PT. 2)

Welcome back,


I felt the previous blog was "getting on a bit", so I decided to split it up.


16/07/2022


The following day after the PeachTree 3 - which I was THROUGHOLY enjoying at the time (the chaos of cars everywhere), it was the NEC - The Nurburgring Endurance Championship.


I had promised Dominik that I would race this race with him, but as the start grew nearer, I felt like I didn't have enough practice, and I told Dominik that I wanted to have a shot at the Sunday slot.


17/07/2022

Gumi/Dominik qualified us 26th, and it may have been a little bit low, but cutting through the field was/is my favourite part of the race.


My double stint got us/the team up to 12th position before Dominik took over...

His first stint was faultless - 3/4 of his second was also fine - about 3 hours into the race, we were 9th...and then it happened.


On our final lap, there was a backmarker that was massively quicker than us, and showing his nose at every oppertunity - granted, I should have said more, but I was probably looking at something else, or distracted.


It's also considering risk VS reward - he's got nothing to lose, he's in 23rd, we're in a potential Top 10 position - and letting him by would do no damage (to our race).


Anyway, along the Dottinghoe Straight, the backmarker pulls alongside us - at this point, I would have given up the position - nothing can be gained battling a backmarker into the final corners at the Nordschliefe.


Dominik opens his steering up for a fraction of a second, and at a corner like Bilstein Bridge, that's just something you can't do.


We both crash, the car's wrecked, we have lots of optional and required repairs.

To my UTTER surprise, we gain iRating - despite not finishing!


It turned out that a whopping 29/51 drivers did not finish - and a further 2 more were disqualified - meaning only 21 finished (had we finished in 9th - it would have been a +20 odd gain in iRating, but that's life.


This season really hasn't gone well for me - starting at 1215 iRating, shooting up to 1254, and then bubbling between the 1174 - 1217 range since. My most recent race to date (27/07/2022) leaving me with 1182 iRating.


It was also the day I had a MASSIVE Breakthrough on a different title.

Teardown.


Since January 28th, 2022, I had been stuck on a mission in which you had to collect barrels/cannisters from around the map, whilst a tornado follows you closely - destroying everything in your path and threating to sweep you up off your feet.


Being at University between January and May/June didn't help progress - but whenever I could, I inched further in progress - discovering new and more efficient additions to my route.


Partially the reason this took 170 days (5 and a half months) was partially down to motivation - I had been beaten by this level/the tornado so many times that I had been put off (Teardown), and I suppose the break helped - each time I attacked the mission, I attacked it with a different perspective - and eventually that perspective took me to the finish line.


As always, once the mission was done, it was "onto the next" - and fortunately the tornado had passed, and snow had started, so I had time to plan out a route.


18/07/2022 - 19/07/2020


I'll be honest. The last time I was on the mainland (not the Isle Of Wight) was the 12th July to see Jurassic Park Dominion.


The next vaguely interesting event was a week later, on the 19th July, 2022 - when the iRacing tracks switched for the week.


From here, things started to get a little more interesting and my calendar filled up - not so much for July, but for August.


20/07/2022


Time flies and it was Wednesday once again.


Race-day returned, and since Spa (24 Hours) was that very weekend, I decided to switch it up slightly and drive a Ferrari since that's what I'd be racing on the weekend.


Usually I'd prioritise sticking to one car per season - and doing a GT3 Challenge race in a Ferrari and special event in a Lamborghini, but I feel they are both similar and I "understand" them both.


The Merc however, has the engine in completely the opposite direction than either the Ferrari or the Lambo, and handles completely differently - so I wanted to give myself a few laps of relevant "racing practice" (even if it was in a fixed setup) before the race - instead of learning the track in the Mercedes and potentially unlearning my braking points/turn in points.


I wasn't doing "terribly" well in the Mercedes in previous races this season, so I decide "fuck it, it'll be 20 minutes of fun".


I eventually finished 8th after starting 7th on the grid - so not a whole massive deal of improvement - but invaluable practice.


The next race after that was the Spa 24 Hours, but I'll probably write an individual blog, since it's a special event. (but I did finish, so that was good).


21/07/2022 - 25/07/2022


I'll admit - it's been a pretty quiet week, but I suppose that's okay given that August is going to be a mental month.


On the 22nd July, 2022 my new 2022-2023 Academic calendar arrived - it may be an A4 (compared to A5) - but it's thinner and there's more page-space to write in.


As I mentioned before, between the 23rd-24th July was occupied by the Spa 24 Hours - spoiler: I fired it into the wall at Blanchimont - but more on that later.


25/07/2022

I was spied testing at Lime Rock Park in the McLaren GT4. At the time nobody could guess who the mysterious driver in the subtle - yet OBVIOUSLY attention-seeking McLaren GT4 was - I'll admit, it wasn't the GREATEST test in the world, Lime Rock isn't exactly a track you can get your foot down and test the limits, being only 1.5 miles and having a sub-1 minute lap-time.



26/07/2022 - GT4 or GT3?


Tuesday saw the start of another iRacing race-week - and after looking at schedules for both GT3 and GT4, I was pretty stuck and I knew I had to go on a "track spree"


GT4 was headed to

Winton Motor Raceway (W7) - 26/07/2022

Fuji International Speedway (W11) - 23/08/2022


GT3 was headed to:

Sandown International Speedway (W7) - 27/07/2022

Hungaoring (W8) - 02/08/2022

Mid-Ohio (W11) - 23/08/2022


Meaning that no matter what series I was to do during W7 & W11 - I was going to have to buy something.


From the 16th August - 29th August I am completely booked up in my real life - so I chose not to buy Mid-Ohio, but as I had a little money left over in my PayPal account, I chose to buy Fuji too (the money is already out of my account, so I seized the opportunity to get a little bit of useful content - The following week after the 29th August is Week 12 - I might do a sneaky test in a GT4, or round out what's been a pretty difficult GT3 Challenge season. I'll have 1 week of racing activity before Uni kicks back off for my final year



On Wednesday 27th July, 2022, I had a pitiful race at Sandown (recurring theme) - this has been my most recent to date.


Sandown was one of four new tracks I bought (Sandown, Fuji, Hungary and Winton) - and upon first driving the circuit, It wasn't a bad little track - it was fast, had some good straights - and some tricky, technical bits in between.


After half an hour of practice - I still found myself struggling on one particular section of track...



From a flat-out section of track, at over 100 mph, the track then throws you into a mini "chicane", followed by a 90-degree left hand corner. For a track that's less than 2KM and over-complicated square, it's pretty tricky.


rushing through this corner for the first time in practice, a million questions zoomed through my head


- On entry do I take it flat? Lift? Brake?

- On the Apex (black car) do I have to follow the track to the T? Can I be greedy? How greedy can I be? This then led onto the problem of approaching the 90 degree left hander, if I took it flat and cut a bit of the apex (black car), where should I brake so I don't fire myself off into the gravel bed?


Qualifying was pretty poor - I put in an insurance lap lifting for a fair amount of turn 6 (where the yellow car is) and having a decent run through the "chicane", before nailing the 90 degree left hander.


On my second (and "push") lap, I tried to take it flat, but turned in too early, and then took the "chicane" too fast and got an off-track. I'd start last of those whom completed a lap. Last to first challenge?


My initial launch (for the rolling start) was pretty decent, the only problem was... the pack launched and then bunched up again, and after braking (after catching up with the field) - the field had already gone again.


Looking back, I probably should have pulled alongside the Mercedes, or acted slightly more "aggressively" - but you learn from your mistakes.


I'll be honest: It wasn't one of my finest performances. By lap 2, I was down in 15th, lower than I had started, and just on the very (outer) edge of the slipstream train.


This didn't last long however, I tried to out-smart my competition by taking my tricky section as fast as I dared, but as the audi ahead of me speared off stage right, I speared off stage...straight on.


I lost a further position and many more seconds.


The rest of that race was pretty much catching up to the rear of the field - and whilst, yes, I did gain a position off the Audi, the driver behind did get past, resetting me to 15th.


It was a pretty piss-poor performance - positions only coming from those who had gone off ahead.


By lap 9, I had done my overtaking for the race and ended up in P12, that would be my finishing position, however the race had just one more surprise for me.


The following lap (lap 10), I'd be overtaken by P13 - he'd scamper off into the Horizon.


On lap 16/18, Then-P7 would fire off at my favourite corner (the 90-degree left-hander), rejoining the track in P12, just a couple of yards up the road from me.


As he had aero damage from outbraking himself and yeeting his car over the kerb/s, I was able to slightly catch him on the straights, before the driver behind me (P14) overtook me going through turn 1.


As this was the final lap, I was preparing for the worst...but something rather extraordinary happened...


Going into MFC (My Favourite Corner), the Ferrari (P13) tried to take a better line than the Lamborghini (P12), but ended up launching over the corner and smashing into the back of them, slowing them both down (massively) and enabling me to nip through and take back P12.


Had these two managed to cleanly get through MFC, I would have finished 14th and third to last (16 finishers).


As a result, I fell into the 1100's (1100 - 1199) for the first time in a while - which is exactly what I'm trying to avoid.


Okay, 1182 isn't exactly where I want to be (iRating-wise), but every time I pull myself out of these ditches, no matter how annoying or repetitive - I can say to myself "I did that, that was all me and my work"


I pulled myself from 620 iRating to where I am today, 1182 is just a tiny bump in the road.


I just need to ensure it doesn't get any lower!!


28 - 29th July


Very little happened other than organising meeting a mate for the following week.


30th - 31st July


The 30th - 31st July saw the penultimate page in my 2021 - 2022 academic calendar, which was a little sad as I've owned it and been reading and using it since Summer 2021 and I guess it's sort of sad to see it end up on the shelf like the previous iteration, but I have no use for it any more, Goodbye A5 Notepad A51E in Navy Blue - you've been a good little book. Couldn't reccomend you more.


Onward with the weekend.


On the lead up to the CRAZY month of August - I fully booked myself up for that weekend - seeing Evie on Saturday, and seeing another friend of mine on Sunday.


It eventually turned out that I'd see neither and arrange alternative plans with them, which suited me alright, but had I more notice, I would have probably done an endurance race!


I'm not overly sure what happened on Saturday and why I didn't go on the road-trip, (agreed to go on Tuesday) but Sunday was a bit of a miscommunication between my friend and I.


We talked about doing a "beach day", and I guess I didn't make it clear enough that I intended to come over on that day (Sunday).


Sunday was also CHAOTIC day in the land of motorsport.


1) BTCC @ Knockhill (a few months ago, myself and a Swiss Kabort driver planned to go, but plans fell through and he went to the Spa 24 Hours instead


2) Spa 24 Hours, 2022 - The real life event - I don't know why, but it always looks much cooler in real life than the sim - maybe because they weren't chucking it into the Blanchimont wall...or cheating.


3) Formula E, London.

Formula E was at the Excel centre, and I did invite my friend to attend with me - but I think it would have been a faff getting tickets so late and travelling down there - NEXT Year I'll see Formula E in London...I swear!


Formula E is headed back to London in 2023, so no problems there!


And there it is! We're all caught up, it's August, it's a new month and new opportunities lie ahead!


I'm on a new academic calendar - and I've got a busy day tomorrow.


The first two hours of August have been decent and have been made much better by the publication of this blog. Goodnight.






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