Good afternoon! Hello and Welcome from the Isle Of Anglesey!
I hope you are all well.
The last blog I did ended on the 30th October, I then did a preview blog ("No Nap November") - before doing two "review" type blogs.
Thus far, November has gone pretty well - and here's why.
On the first November, I went to Newport for my fortnightly Universal Credit meet-up - and I loved it.
There's something about sharing loads of updates with your Work Coach - including the fact that you had FINALLY completed a CV you could be proud of.
The fact that I had a relatively successful trip to the Careers Fair the previous week also helped this.
Wednesday came around once again, and it was race-day once again...but it wasn't any old race day...it was Nordschliefe Race-Day!
The GT4 Challenge headed to the Nurburgring Nordschliefe in Week 8/12 of the Season.
Week 8 was certainly an adventurous one - and one I didn't see turning out the way it did when I woke up.
Usually, in both GT4 and the majority of road iRacing series, qualifying is known as "attached" (you join a race session, and qualifying is "attached" to this session - you don't have to join a separate session).
On this week in particular, qualifying was separate, meaning you had to join a separate session to qualify, and do the race.
Usually, I join the race session half-an-hour before the race and practice until the race-session is ready - but on this occasion, I did exactly this - but come race-time, instead of dumping me into qualifying, it dumped me onto the grid.
As I didn't qualify, I would be starting 23rd - right in the danger zone.
Lap 1 was an absolute disaster.
Having got so used to driving a Mercedes AMG GT GT3 at the Nordschliefe, I took Flugplatz too fast and flew off wide - bumping the wall on the outside - somehow my steering wasn't badly damaged.
Later on in the lap, between Eschbach and Brunnchen, a BMW had spun, and proceeded to take me out - I limped into the pits and was about 13th. As far as I remember, I would have been 8th had it not been for various incidents.
After a quick repair and losing a bunch of time and positions, I eventually (miraculously) finished 13th - giving me a +4 iRating. A small gain is better than a big loss.
Had it been a normal week, I would have qualified - and this got me thinking - what position would I have qualified/finished had I qualified.
So, in the heat of the day - at (presumably) the busiest time of day, (12:00), I qualified and then jumped into the following qualifying session.
As the session launched, I checked my relative and saw that I was P1. Was this because I was the first into the session?
Come qualifying, all became clear. I was on pole.
1) Nobody else qualified (much more likely considering my lap-time)
2) I had the fastest lap-time out of anyone I shared the race with.
I'll admit - I was bricking it. I had never started a rolling start from pole before - and quite honestly, I didn't know WHAT I was doing.
I just waited for the pace-car to pull into the pits and waited a few before flooring it. P2 was obviously much more experienced in front-row-starting as he entered turn one first, followed by me.
From then, it was just about keeping it together for the remainder of the race. A BMW may have come past on the opening lap, but his eagerness betrayed him, and he quickly found Nordschleife's warm Armco barriers.
I'd finish a pretty darn impressive 2nd place (ironically in car #4 - the same number as I was in the ROAR Before The 24).
As a result of this race, I'd gain a well-earnt +65 iRating - putting me at 1288 iRating - one more and I'm - or hopefully I'm back in the 1300's.
Just a month after Petite Le Mans, I was quickly racking up podiums - and with two months (Nov & Dec) left of the year, these two podiums put it as my third most successful year out of four
1st - 2021 - 7
2nd - 2020 - 4
3rd - 2022 - 2
4th - 2019 - 1
I just hope it takes quicker than October to get my first of 2023!
4/11/2022 - (Week 3/5 of Consecutive Trips To The Mainland)
W1 - Visiting Friends (20th Oct)
W2 - Car Service
W3 - FIREWORKS
W4 - Race Of Remembrance
W5 - Comicon
The 4th November saw me go out for the 3rd Week in a row.
On this occasion, I drove up to Essex, picked up a puppy, before staying over between the 4th and 5th, and then driving down to Surrey for the fireworks in my former hometown.
This truly was a lovely experience as I picked up two of my friends, and met a further one there.
We were meant to meet up with a further friend, but he had other commitments (university). Whilst there, an acquaintance of ours bumped into us at the fireworks and stood with us. Had our other friend been there, it would have been me and five of my friends (plus two infants) - and I'm always known as the "weird" "oddball" kid - and to have so many friends with me (or to have planned to come) is honestly so heartwarming and wholesome - and I wouldn't change it (the night) for the world.
I then drove one of my friends home, and returned to Essex with another of my friends as it was their local fireworks that very evening.
The Essex Fireworks weren't AS good (as we left too late to get a good parking spot), but we did see the top of it (a house blocked our view).
On Monday night, I returned to the Ferry with about 10 minutes to spare!
Other than a failed permit session, Tuesday 8th was relatively uneventful.
Just like the week prior, Raceday on Wednesday was an eventful one.
Drama started early as I managed to FINALLY complete a clean permit session - decreasing both DRIVER permit time by a couple of second. This was enough for 5th place (out of 15 GT3's that will race). At the time, only 10 completed times. Since then, we've dropped a position as an 11th has qualified.
In terms of that week's GT4 Challenge race...it was certainly...interesting.
This week, it was Mid-Ohio - a circuit I had never heard of, let alone driven on before.
To my upmost horror, when I was ready at 10am (had to buy the track beforehand) - the track was completely pitch black. I hadn't driven a single lap of this track in the day - and here I was, in the GT4 Challenge, staring at the black void.
Every racing driver must have his excuse - and mine was "I'm boycotting this round of the GT4 Challenge on the grounds of a safety hazard - there are no circuit lights, and myself and other drivers are incredibly inexperienced"
And that was that. I had boycotted the race for the week. No iRating gained - but more importantly, no iRating lost.
The following day (10/11/2022) my dad and I left for Wales, for the annual Race Of Remembrance Race - which fell on the same weekend as the iRacing Suzuka 10 Hours. But I know where my priorities lie.
I feel the next blog is worthy of it's own separate blog. See you then.