Hello and welcome to November! A new month is upon us - and it's the last before December! Where HAS the year gone?!?!
August through October have been absolute chaos - and some of the fastest-paced months of my life with events happening every day - if not every week!
It felt like one thing led into another, led into another, and further led into another - which made things all rather exciting - and very much felt like I was having an adventure every day of the week.
Whilst late September/early October were only slightly less hectic than August, there was still plenty going on to keep me busy. in fact, I can't look at a page of my 2022 - 2023 Academic calendar without noticing a special event.
Just like the months before it, November too seems to be an absolutely packed month - and somehow, I've managed to organise a trip out for 5 consecutive weeks - leaving every day for a month.
20th Oct. - Week 1 - Essex (Appointment) and seeing friend
27th Oct. - Week 2 - Major Car Service & Cambelt.
4th Nov. - Week 3 - Local fireworks shows (Bonfire Night)
10th Nov. - Week 4 - The Race Of Remembrance (Wales)
20th Nov. - Week 5 - Comicon (London)
The weekend of the 25th - 26th November (weekend after Comicon) is also an absolutely MASSIVE one - with events happening all over the place.
The VRS Endurance Series is at Indianapolis Road - the 4th least used (active - not legacy) track in road-racing on iRacing.
Below it are: Twin Ring Motegi (I've also raced at...rarely), New Hampshire Motor-Speedway and Rockingham Speedway (USA).
Honourable mentions go to Lime Rock Park and Texas Motor Speedway, but both are legacy/inactive content.
Due to the unpopularity of Indionapolis Speedway (and low chances of it appearing on the iRacing Calender - it's an absolute must-race track - as you never know when it's going to appear again.
During the same weekend, In Europe, the IMSA Endurance Series is at Imola - a personal favourite track of mine.
More locally, Motorsport UK (MSUK) is holding their first ever "Esports" event - Unfortunately, the GT3 field has already been fully booked (20 teams, 3 classes).
I only received the email 2 hours ago (on writing this) - and neither the Mazda Class nor the TCR interest me (another way of saying I can't drive either to save my life!)
On top of all of this, It's also the weekend that Matilda the Musical is being shown in Cinemas - and as a classic Roald Dahl book - it was unmissable.
The plan currently is to do the Saturday morning VRS E (Indianapolis), see Matilda at 6pm and then race at Imola (IMSA E) on Sunday.
28th Nov - 4th Dec.
The week following that is TERRIFYINGLY the same week December starts - I'M NOT READY!!! (Mariah Carey has yet to curse me thus far!)
On the chime of midnight, on the 1st December, registrations for the Winter 24 Hours Of Nurburgring Close. With 28 days to go - the race currently has 68 entries (out of 60 available slots).
Unsurprisingly, the GT3 class is the "problem class" with 16 teams on the waiting list - HOWEVER - unlike every race and series known to man, it's not about "first-come-first-serve" - instead, three times a week, a qualifying session is held - and the Top 15 teams to "qualify" get to participate in the race.
To make things interesting - it's the average lap out of 4 clean laps. The qualifying session is 1hr/4 laps - don't complete four laps/four clean laps? Your qualifying time doesn't count, and you've got to try again in the next session.
On top of this, due to the length of the race, there's a minimum required driver count of three drivers - and the average of the three driver's averages makes up the team's qualifying time.
This ensures that those competing CAN do 4 clean laps and have a appropriately sized team (not solo-ing event).
Had it just been first-come-first-serve - or indeed a traditional qualifying session, I would have been annihilated - however, with the 2 requirements (4 Clean Laps, 3 Drivers - many are yet still to have all three drivers complete 4 clean laps/a lap - which makes it incredibly interesting/exciting - and will further highlight the importance of the 1st December date - the date that no more teams will be allowed to enter - and likely "Judgement Day" - and the day that the qualifying results will be taken from.
Currently, a staggering 11/68 Teams have had 3 drivers complete 4 valid lap-times.
These are TCR: X1
911 Cup: x3
At the moment, myself and Dominik have both completed lap-times, but are waiting for a 3rd driver to be available to put us into that exclusive club of "GT3 Qualifiers".
As far as I can work out, if 15 do qualify, and one should not show up on race day, the first of those on the waiting list gets to take the place of the team that didn't show up.
Even in the list those who haven't yet qualified (4 clean laps with 3 drivers), there is almost a "qualifying order" - Some have 3+ drivers, some don't, some teams (like Kabort) have two drivers who have completed lap-times and are waiting for their third.
As the old saying always goes - only time will tell - both in terms of lap-time and the ever-decreasing amount of time until the deadline day of the 1st.
Kabort does have a secret weapon (or two), but will it be enough?
That same weekend, we come full circle - The VRS Endurance Series is at the Red Bull Ring.
I started 2022 with a bang (literally) with a VRS E race at the Red Bull Ring, leaving me on 934 iRating - can I right some wrongs and end the season and iRacing Year on a high? Start at the lowest, end on the highest?
Naturally following that, it's Week 13 - and Week 13 will be a teller - will the V8 Supercars we all know an love get another season, or will they be forced to retire in the cold winter's sno- It doesn't snow in Australia. It's actually summer there.
retire in the heat of the Australian Summer.
I've also planned two seasons ahead (!), Should no (interesting) GT content come out, the plan is to do another season of GT4, but in the Aston.
As much as I love the McLaren, having the engine in the front does help with the car turning where the wheels go - so, maybe, with a bit of steering, I can hope for a bit of silverware in S1, 2023. But it depends - the higher IR you go, the harder podiums are to get - but higher splits means I'm doing better than I did. Depends how you look at it - and if I do get a podium/s - it'll be all the more sweeter as I've fought harder for it.
As Week 13 starts, qualifying to enter the Winter Nurburgring 24 Hours ends - On Tuesday the 6th December, 2022 - all 60+ entries will have their last shot of trying to make it into the Top 15 of their class. With only 60 slots into this session and 68 already registered - teams will have to get their entries in early - or risk being hang out to dry!
As I type, Session 12/31 is just about to kick off (in 2 hours) - so plenty of times for teams to make improvements and get times on the board, but leave it too late and the final session might be full! So the final 3 - 6 sessions will be incredibly intense!
I can't quite believe it, but Saturday 10th (Day 5 Of Week 13) will mark 2 years since iRacing was blessed with the Aud- Okay, Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo - next to the Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo, it's currently sitting at the top of my "All Time Favourite iRacing Cars" - F3 is also in the top 3.
In Week 1, 2023 (weird to say that!), the moment everyone's been waiting for: Avatar II Releases.
As exciting as Avatar II may be, it's 21 hours too short - real entertainment comes in the shape of a 150+ corner, car killing machine. On the same Weekend as some small, unimportant indy-film project releases, it's the Winter Nurburgring 24 Hours - all 60 have been waiting and practicing for months for this moment - and finally, it's arrived - and it's time to put the practice into use. I've seen the iRatings and lap-times of some of the drivers I'm up against, once again Kabort will very much be the under-dog - but to even qualify will be a challenge (and hopefully an achievement in itself). From there? We take it corner by corner, lap by lap, car by car. These things can't be rushed, and just like in the real 24 hours - where there are winners, there will always be losers - and were there are losers, there will be the victorious.
The Week after this? Christmas. As with every year, it's not been an easy year for any of us - and Christmas truly is the most worthy celebration - spend time with family, the rig, drink a few, and have a very festive and jolly time.
But first, November 4th. Let's 'ave it!