A New Step In My Racing Career
I'm about to embark on a new chapter on my racing career - but before we go into that, let's have a little look back at where it all started.
Season 1, 2019
I originally joined iRacing back on the 14th January, 2019 - almost 2 years ago (1 Year & 11 Months) and honestly, I cannot believe it - never before have I committed to something for TWO years! - bloody nora, it really doesn't feel like it's been 2! Like pretty much every road-racing member on the service - I started out in the Global (Mazda) MX5 Cup (S1, 2019). This was both fun and successful - picking up a single podium and a total of 4 top 5's in my first 8 races.
Season 2, 2019
Back then there wasn't really an easy step from Mazdas to "intermediate" racing - the next feasible option I saw was the Ferrari GT3 Challenge - a fixed Class D single-make series - and I had an absolute blast!
This stemmed from having a thoroughly enjoyable Week 13 where I competed in the "Lucky 777" GTE series which celebrated the launch of the BMW M8 - I was having a right doddle in the Ferrari 488 GTE. Though I scored no podiums, I still had a blast and had top 10's in at least 6 of the 12 rounds ran and wanted to do slightly longer races - Endurance Races.
Season 3, 2019
After searching around a bit, I found RSR Esports who focussed on leagues and solo-races, so I decided to create an endurance branch off of it - at first a small handful joined, and we were semi-connected, using RSR's setups before completely parting ways as more and more drivers dropped off.
This would be my first season of endurance racing - and other than a shambolic attempt at the opening round in an Audi R8 (as "Kabort Racing Team") (the only time I've done so) - we eventually found our rhythm and pumped out some good results in both VRS Enduros and Special Events - the latter starting with the 6hrs of the Glenn.
Every silver lining has it's cloud and the shoddy organisation led to quite a few DNF/DSQ's.
With the exception of Week 13 and the 2019 Bathurst 1000km, I stayed completely loyal to the Ferrari 488 GT3 - never leaving her side, swapping her for another car or experimenting in other series or cars.
Season 4, 2019
From then on our roster only grew and grew - beginning S4, we'd climb up the endurance ladder to the "Endurance Le Mans Series" for drivers with a B+ Licence, this coupled with special events meant we were slowly getting serious
For me however, I couldn't race forever - S4 marked the start of the college term for me and I had college work to do and cut down on my racing - doing as little as possible - but it didn't stop me from still entering a race or two.
Racing was so sparse that following Week 13, I'd only do the Bathurst 1000km, one ELMS round in September and one (ELMS) in October before experimenting with the Porsche 911 Cup at the start of November.
Following this I'd do the final two rounds of the ELMS Season at Twin Ring and Sebring before playing around with the 911 Cup during Week 13.
Season 1-2, 2020
Beginning 2020 - I - along with everyone else thought it was going to be a normal year...but how wrong we were all about to be proven!
The start of the year started as normal, finishing week 13 and going straight into the Bathurst 12 Hours (and Kabort's first!) which I spectacularly messed up by trying to apologise (via text chat) resulting me swerving off and crashing by attempting to pressing a button.
The normal endurance series would commence after the Sebring 12 Hours before iRacing would announce a brand new series - the Nurburgring Endurance Series (NES)
I'd only attend round 1, 2 and 6 of this season.
Meanwhile, in the real world, there was a pandemic circulating - and as quickly as it came, schools and colleges closed too.
Season 3, 2020
Joe Bradley would start a Skippy league which I'd attend and thoroughly enjoy.
I may not have got any podiums, but this was absolutely vital for me - as I saw how much fun open-wheelers could be - and in the end it was the deciding factor of which series I wanted to do for S3, 2020 - The Skip Barber Race School Series.
This was a little bit of a "backwards step" for me - as I went from GT racing to GT Endurance Racing, and now I am doing the lowest - level of Open-Wheel racing - and it made me think...maybe I should have done this instead of the Ferrari 488 GT3 Challenge? Since the Ferrari 488 GT3 Challenge dissapeared shortly after I competed in it, I'm thoroughly glad that I got that experience!
The Skippy Series went astronomically well - picking up my first front-row start in the very first race I did (second week of the season) (the race being ruined by me not putting the fuel back in) - before getting my very first podium on iRacing the very next round at Mosport (Canadian Tire Motorsport Park).
I'd lose out a podium at Zandvoort due to P3 getting the slipstream past me on the final lap, before winning the very next race at Donington - my first ever win in an official iRacing server (my first EVER win coming when MOFO went to Watkins Glen in Spec Racer Fords)
I had never seen success like this before - and it was beautiful...and in that season, with the exception of the Nurburgring round - I never finished outside of the top 10 - and had a record-breaking 3 Podiums
(1st: Donington | 2nd: Montreal | 3rd Mosport) 2020 was truly proving to be the year of surprises!
The surprises kept coming as I'd FINALLY hit 1,000 iRating after a year of being under the 1K line - this was honestly such a beautiful moment!
Within this time, I also tried to race in the Le Mans 24 Hours, however the car crashed rather spectacularly before I got the chance to get in the car. Spa 24hr would go much better.
iRacing would also add the 12hr iRacing Endurance Series to the sim - giving even the most experienced iRacers a challenge!
These races would be at least once a month.
Little did I know, that these would be some of my final races - I had University coming up and unlike college, I wouldn't be home, and I was paying £9,000 a year for uni - not an opportunity to mess around with.
My full-time racing career would end on a high though as I'd have an action-packed Week 13 - competing in two series - "The Battle Of The Little Wings" (Open Wheel) - I'd race the F3 - knowing it was an upgrade from the Skip Barber - but only found out how GOOD it was after driving it! The sound, feeling and fun-factor was not quite like anything I had experienced before!
"Shiny New Shakedown" (GT3 VS LMP2) - iRacing spoiled us endurance racing folk and treated us to NOT ONLY a brand spanking new closed-roof LMP2 Dallara - buuut a Chevvy Corvette GTE too!!! In my (any many other's) debuts at Belle Isle in the Shiny New Shakedown, I would claim an absolutely incredible class podium, the rest of Week 13 wasn't too spectacular. Uni would start the weekend after Season 1 started...allowing me to have 1 race in S4, 2020.
Season 4, 2020
For nostalgia, I decided to race in the Ferrari GT3 Challenge - I'd finish a decent 7th place - I'd finish 9th in the F3 race I did.
Post University Racing
Whilst down in Surrey for some reason or another, I decided to have one last blast - and it turned out to be a lot wilder than I expected - a rather normal (but emotional as I knew I couldn't do this much longer) race in Formula 3 preceded one of the oddest wins I've ever had....
Weather it was the unusual track/series combo, unusual time (9pm) or the fact that Petite Le Mans was happening on that very weekend - I wasn't - am still not sure of - the consequences but I ended up all alone with not a single other car competing - nearly an hour later, I finished, and my Holden crossed the line....well, 1st out of 1st. Yay to me
Over two months later, I finally return back home (in the government's "Student Corridor Period") and as if by coincidence it was the start of week 13 the very day I got home - and there was some incredibly juicy updates to download....A FRIGGING LAMBORGHINI GT3 being the pinnacle of these updates.
After arriving late on Tuesday night and feeling too tired to race, and messing around with a stupid "Game A Day" sh*te on Wednesday - Thursday was my debut and oh boy was it a debut and a half....it was absolutely glorious - and I'm going to say it right now - The Lamborghini Huracan (EVO) GT3 is 110% iRacing's car of the year 2020 - no question about it - just everything about it the noise, feeling excitement it's just such a joy to be in...
With everyone up to date, I can now officially announce that I will be racing the first three weeks in the S1, 2021 Virtual Racing School (VRS) Championship in December 2020.
Uni starts in January 2021 - and I just love this Lamborghini so much that I want to drive it weekly and the VRS Series is one of two (the other being IMSA) series it's being run in.
Why Not IMSA?
I'm not quite ready for IMSA - The VRS GT is strictly GT3 only, which is what I've been doing during Week 13 and been having an absolute ball in - so VRS SHOULD just be a continuation of this but with splits (meaning the aliens are put with Aliens and I'm put with the slowest of the slowest)
IMSA is multi-class - putting LMP's and GTE's (The Huracan being the ONLY GT3 car in the series) and I really like close door-to-door racing and all being in the same class allows this to happen.
With this consistency, I might even do a 3hr VRS Enduro race on the weekend of this series - but once uni starts back up again, it'll be back up to Wolverhampton and goodbye to the rig for now.
S1, 2019: Global MX5 Cup
S2, 2019: Ferrari GT3 Challenge S3, 2019: VRS Endurance & Special Events
S4, 2019: Endurance Le Mans Series, Special Events & 911 Cup S1, 2020: @ College
S2, 2020: ELMS, NES, Special Events
S3, 2020: Skip Barber, ELMS, Special Events, IES, NES
S4, 2020: 1 Race in: Ferrari 488 GT3 Challenge (Brands Hatch), Supercars (Le Mans, Alone) and Formula 3 (Suzuka) S1, 2020: