Updated: Oct 30
After recovering from a nasty hangover, we eventually got the truck loaded and headed back out on the road.
In real life, there was a short "lull" in activity - October being almost the start of a "break" from all the craziness - Petite being the first MAJOR event of the month.
Also in early October, it was:
- The Singapore Grand Prix (1st - 2nd Oct.)
- VRS Endurance & IMSA Endurance at Road Atlanta (1st - 2nd Oct.)
(almost "build up" event/s for Petite) - Missed these events
- 3rd Anniversary of Teardown being announced (1st Oct)
- iRacing Petite Le Mans (8th - 9th October)
- Final round of the BTCC (8th - 9th October)
Another Wednesday rolled around and this time the circuit was Oschersleben - I was split - I had seen in the past that turn one was a mess - and was concerned that I was going to be caught up in something similar - but Turn One shouldn't have been my biggest concern.
GT4 never had a MASSIVE following - sure, it had enough entries for a maximum of 5 splits - but it was never on the scale of GT3.
Since August (the previous month) - the series went from 3 splits, to 2 - stayed at 2, and then dipped to a single split on (my) race-day - meaning that I was in the same split as a Lamborghini Factory Driver (Mirko Bortolotti) - in fact - 20/30 of the drivers whom entered the race had an iRating of 2000+. (I had the 8th lowest iRating out of the whole field).
As a result of finishing 21st of 23 finishers (Qualified 26th), I lost -15 iRating, plummeting from the door of 1300 iRating (1299) to 1284. I had a busy week ahead.
15th - 16th October
The weekend of the 15th - 16th October saw a wide variety of endurance races, ranging from IMSA E at Hockenheim to VRS E at Snetterton - but the highlight of the weekend was the final round of the iRacing Nuburgring Endurance Championship (NEC).
Given it was the final round, Dominik (my to-be team-mate for the weekend) suggested we take the GT4 Aston for a spin - and see how it went.
It turns out that Dominik was an absolute genius.
Despite being in the 3rd split - and the GT3's being run by Aliens, the GT4 split was INCREDIBLY competitive - and we had HUGE fun battling for every last position - even if half the GT4 field was in the pits at the same time!
Myself and Dominik have agreed that next year we'll tackle NEC in a GT4. As a result of finishing P5 in class, I was given a +18 iRating gain, propping me above the magic 1.3K line at 1302.
The next part was just keeping it there.
17th - 23rd October: SCCA Run-Offs
In the beginning, I was pretty certain I wasn't going to do the SCCA Run-Offs as it wasn't an "endurance" special event and had quite a confusing layout.
After a month (okay, a week) of figuring out how the special event worked, I decided to attempt to qualify for the GT4 race.
As simply as possible, throughout the week, you pick up points by doing official races.
The drivers with the Top 40 most points (per series/class) get to compete in a race on the weekend at the end of the week.
There were series/races for:
Spec Racer Ford - 91 entries after 4 Days
Global Mazda Cup - 161 entries after 4 Days
GT1 - 73 entries after 4 Days
GT4 - 109 Entries after 4 Days
Formula Vee - 159 Entries after 4 Days
Touring Cars - 81 entries after 4 Days.
Mustang FR500s - 81 entries after 4 Days
USF2000 (Formula Car) - 81 entries after 4 Days.
Now - I thought the challenge would be to get in the Top 40 because there'd be so many entrants- but - somehow - the opposite happened.
It takes about 6 - 7 cars to make a race "official" (and have points that count to the "championship"/improve your position - Every day, only about two sessions went "Official" - unfortunately for me, since the circuit and series (SCCA) were both American, the majority of the American audience came online during their day-time - during about 10pm - 02:00am.
Since Wednesday was my race-day, I raced my weekly GT4 race at Sebring - which in itself was an adventure.
Myself and Gumi/Dominik both raced in the same split, and whilst he finished 2nd, I finished in 8th after starting 8th. Despite the low finish, I still gained iRating and beat my personal best record for 2022. Small goals.
It was annoying as I was about 7th, and the corner after I out-braked myself, two drivers ahead, a car went off - with slipstream - 6th or maybe 5th may have been possible, but instead I spent the rest of the race making back up the three positions I lost via going deep.
Since it was my race day, I also decided to try and do a race for the SCCA Run-Offs, but predictably, nobody showed up, no points would be given for the race and I retired from the race. After seeing the 22:00 GMT and 02:00 GMT sessions go official, I knew that there was only one thing I could possibly do.
Despite having a chock-a-block couple of days ahead, I went ahead and joined the 22:00 GMT session - all I had to do was finish the race and I'd get points for it - and that was my goal.
I was absolutely DECIMATED. Decimated to the extent of being lapped by 1st - 5th on the penultimate lap of a 35 minute race.
I'll be honest though, it was a cracking race - finishing with 0x and pulling into the pits starting the final lap to let the leaders by (the timing couldn't have been better) - P6 being far enough back that I didn't affect him.
Despite finishing last of the runners, I only lost 1 iRating - which, in all honesty, wasn't half bad, and the fact someone was taken out in the final laps also helped...slightly.
With everything said and done, I was 41st (in the championship standings) - If just one of the few drivers ahead of me didn't enter the 02:00 GMT session, I could snatch that lucrative 40th position....
Long story short, I ended up in 48th at the end of the second race - yes, I may have been spun by a very "optimistic" BMW - but I was glad because in both races I had been absolutely decimated - and fortunately, the only people to see this was those in the race - had I made the Top 40, I'd have over 7,000 people watch me be lapped by identical cars. Not a good look.
Thankfully, very few were 1.3K, so I'm unlikely to see many in the same split going forward.
As a result of the second race, I lost a further -13 iRating - pushing me back down to 1297. Fun.
The good news however was that I didn't have to wake up at 02:00am GMT and do it all again - and with a ferry booked for 09:00am - at least I could get a good night's sleep.
20th - 21st October - Week 1/4 of consecutive Weekly Mainland Trips
Despite my 09:00am ferry being cancelled, and me having to wait until 10:45am or so for the new ferry, I eventually boarded the ferry, saw my friend and we went on a fun little day-trip to Kent - despite being a little bit of a short trip/shorter trip than usual.
From there, I then headed to Essex and stayed the night at my friend's house.
In the morning, I took my friend/her family to an appointment before driving them home in the afternoon.
When done, I headed back to the Isle Of Wight for a big weekend of racing.
I would go more in detail, but I'm in no place to spread my friends' business and private appointments all over the internet.
22nd - 23rd October, 2022
After returning home, I looked at the endurance calendar and saw that the weekend had a double-whammy of good circuits: VRS Endurance (GT3) at Barcelona and European Endurance Series (GTE/LMP2/LMP1) at Silverstone.
It was also the final round of the Creventic Endurance Series, which was a 12hr series which ran during the Summer, however, as I hadn't raced in the series since April 2021 (or so), I wasn't as "fussed" about it compared to racing in the final NEC race of the year.
Over the course of the weekend, I did three races - each with incredibly mixed results.
VRS E Barcelona (10:00am)
24th --> 20th (I started) -13 iR (1284 iR)
First official race in a Lamborghini since 19th January (about 9 months). Despite being low down, was still relatively enjoyable to race the Lambo after a while.
VRS E Barcelona (8pm)
26th --> 11th (Dominik Started) +15 iR (1299 iR)
EES Silverstone 48th --> DNF (Dominik Stated) -0 iR (1299 iR).
LMP2 crashed into us, then Dom's cat jumped onto his lap - causing an accident.
On this day, one year ago Tom Wallace made his endurance debut...this ended...well...after three corners.
In January (2022), Tom would do the Daytona 24 Hours with me (and a IMSA Endurance preparation event) but we would finish neither.
Tom proceeded to do the Le Ma- Global Endurance Series Race In France in an LMP2 with a different LMP2 squad (not ours) and we haven't endurance raced since (partially his schedule too).