Updated: Dec 23, 2020
Since coming back home from Uni (Tuesday 8th) I've been incredibly busy....in the virtual world at least...
On my return to Surrey (from Uni), it was Week 13.
During this week, I explored the American continent (plus Donington) in a brand-spanking new Lamborghini Huracan Evo
Back then, I was still doing this (excuse my French) shitty video series called "Game A Day" where I aimed to upload a gaming video every day - I should actually think sometimes - editing and filming takes a bloody long time and not just five minutes!
Tues 8th: Return home @ 8pm
Wed 9th: Tried to record video, got bit too late/flustered to race
Thur 10th: Long Beach (from high grid, low finish) - (West Coast)
Fri 11th: Donington Park (GBR) - (Immense Fun!) Simply put, we (myself, William Burfield and a mate of his called Matty) were meant to do the Limes 24 Hours (play on words with Lemons 24hrs) at Laguna Seca that weekend (12th - 13th Dec).
Whilst Will was out working, his fiancee and I tried to get his account registered for/into the race session (was registered for the team, but not session itself).
In a mix-up (wrong button click/unclear instructions) the wrong car was accidentally registered - meaning Will was locked into a different team to us.
Only joining the sim in the past few weeks/months, I assumed that Matty wasn't able to do the 12 (or so) hours of racing to ensure we got a fair amount of driving between us two - myself (Mr Incapable) and him, even with his "unflappable" performance during practice. This was an absolutely HUGE bummer because I was actually looking forward to race a Volkswagen Jetta for 24 Hours especially with Will and Matty who I had grown to form a massive (no homo) liking for!
This catastrophic failure allowed me to do the final three races of Week 13 - the first at Long Beach (West Coast, Sat), followed by Brazil (Sun) and then Sebring (East Coast, Mon) where I somehow battled a nosebleed during qualifying.
This was an incredibly successful Week 13 for me, as I finished in the top 10 in every race I finished!
I next headed over to Europe for the VRS GT Sprint series at Spa (since Week 13 gave me a serious taste for GT3 racing) but unfortunately this was less of a "sprint" than I thought...It was a 40 minute race.
Things started off close, fun and well, but when it came to dialing in how much fuel I wanted for the next stop, I completely fell out of the competition - losing heaps of time on my all-important in-lap.
Whilst the field scampered away not needing tires, I accidentally/purposely came in for my pit-stop and had my tyres changed (I didn't change the setting to "do not replace tyres" because I both forgot about it - like fresh rubber)
Spa's track limits are incredibly tight, and because of this I picked up a fair amount of incident points.
This coupled with my lowly finished position chucked me down to 1038 iRating....edging closer to the danger-zone of 1K...
During this week (Wednesday specifically) I wanted to see a friend - Evie - and back then Wolverhampton was in Tier 3, Surrey was in Tier 2 - and I made the incredibly dumb decision - and one I deeply regret - of asking her (as well as my girlfriend) to "hold fire" for a week until the "Christmas Freedom" period (23rd - 27th December) instead of whilst the UK was still in tiers.
But we'll come back to that...
the day before yesterday (Friday, 18th Dec) I returned to Laguna Seca (West Coast) to a series I KNEW I was good at and loved - Formula 3.
During my first attempt, iRacing would freeze after I completed qualifying, resulting in me having to close the sim and lose a portion of my all-but-non-existent iRating - putting me at a lowly and depressing 928 iRating....
I wasn't one to give up though and I'd do the very next race available and finish 10th after a hard-fought race....now with 944 whole iRating to my name, I can be evermore hopeful that Sunday's VRS Endurance edges me ever closer to that magic 1K once again...
Saturday 19th December
Saturday was a pretty rubbish day - waking up with a cold - I knew that today had to be a solitary one - whatever strain of the common cold I had, the last thing I wanted to do was pass it onto my dad, especially in the vulnerable position he was in - I may shrug it off with just a runny nose - but with a weakened immune system - even a simple cold could spell serious trouble for him.
Saturday was the day of the Daytona 12 Hours for Macmillan. I'd be racing in an Aston Martin DBR9 GT1 - with less than a dozen or so laps under my belt....and no ABS to back me up, it was going to be a challenge, but one I was up for.
Kabort was in a very interesting situation regarding this race - the rules stated that one team could only enter three cars (avoiding, for example an "Alpha Tauri" 1,2,3,4,5 finish)
Strictly speaking, Kabort originally entered 5 cars: Kabort Motorsport, Aston Martin DBR9 Me, Will & Matt Kabort K2, Chevrolet Corvette C6 GT1 Dan Weber & Berkley Cox
Kabort K5- HPD Tijmen Berends, Mateusz Drozda & Tommy De Wilde
(Just Roll With It) JRWI, Aston Martin DBR9 - Adam Pearce & Chris Skilton
Trobak (Kabort Backwards) HPD Tim Perry, Jonathan Keen
Due to "prior complications", I'd be racing with Adam Pearce and Chris Skilton - in "Just Roll With It" which is a board-game club they both regularly attend (knowing and living near each other)
Kabort K2 would be the next to fold with Berkley needing to attend more important matters.
K5 would also pull out due to time Constraints - leaving just two Kabort entries - a singular Aston and a singular batmobile-liveried HPD.
Of the two entries - only one would finish...the HPD.
After early light contact with the wall (exiting the chicane) we were slightly on the back foot...but were determined to keep going and keep pushing.
We'd just about keep up in spite of a few spins slides, corner-cuts and bumps...are motivation and team spirit keeping us in the running.
Following a double stint from firstly Adam and then Chris, I'd eventually get in and have my stint.
The first stint not going too badly, and the second one being when the organisers decided to release the "Competition Safety Car" (a safety car not to clear and incident, but to bunch the pack up) This came out at the perfect time for us.
Due to an earlier, unscheduled pit-stop (after our earlier "wall-tap"), we didn't need to stop for tyres or fuel. This put us very near the front of the safety-car line - even with us being a couple of laps down.
There was a thought that they'd wave around the lapped cars to join the back of the safety-car line, but in the end they didn't. Because of this decision (by the organisers), one of Adam or Chris called me into the pit-lane as the safety car came in.
With less than half-a-dozen GT1's directly behind the Safety car, with a hungry swarm of HPD's behind them, absolute havoc was just around the corner.
By pitting, we avoided the massacre that shortly followed - managing to gain six or so positions from those that didn't survive the restart.
(a new record for me for most overtakes in one race!)
After another semi-decent stint from me (#modest), we had started on the second "round" of stints...this not going as well as our first. Adam would get rear-ended by a "overly enthusiastic" HPD, our GT1 spinning a couple of times before greeting the armco barrier with a fairly great force - severely damaging the engine in the process.
Adam limped into the pits - every different fluid once in the Aston's engine now trailing behind in a cloud of dark smoke.
With no "fast repairs" (quickfix/quick repair) left, we waited the four minutes for the repairs to be done before Adam left the pits again to see how well the car would run......
Being over six seconds slower on the straights, had we continued it would have been a lost cause and quite frankly a danger to the other cars lapping us.
Dawdling at the back of the field for 7 hours or so...really didn't seem the way any of us wanted to spend our Saturday night. So we called it quits.
My last finish in a 12 hour race was the iRacing Endurance Series back in August - my last 24 being the LEGENDARY Spa 24 Hours with Sam and Will back in July, good times!
As much as it sucks, that's racing and I can't change the fact we were rear ended or what happened to our engine. As a wise man once said "it is what it is", you can't change the past, but you can write the future. During this race we won as a team (through the good moments) and lost as a team. 2021 will be a brand new year, and a fresh, clean, new slate with endless opportunities to grab success by the neck!
This defeat just makes my hunger for success even greater and the feeling of succeeding even greater - if not this time, than next time!
A Sour End To The Day
It was shortly after we retired from the race (I believe), that Boris Johnson announced not only that there would be a tier 4, but that Surrey would be in that tier 4 too.
As a friend of mine constantly spams in Facebook comments "it's a lockdown in all but name" - everything being shut down and travel restrictions being aplenty.
With Christmas being all but cancelled this year, at least I have my dearest little Lambo to caress around the corners...oh and not forgetting about my F3 Either.
Cold Update, Sunday: Still sniffin' today is gonna be a lazy day