(This article should have been published on the 17th March, 2022 - at the very start of Season 2, 2022 - I'm not sure what happened)
---- "What's your favourite car on the service?"
It's a question I never get - because nobody cares, yet on the 1 Year anniversary of me racing in the GT3 Challenge (in a Lamborghini), I'd like to wind back the clocks and look at the birth of both mine - and many's favourite GT3 car on the service: The Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo.
Before You ask, the words "Lambo" and "Lamborghini" have been mentioned a total of 33 times in this article, "GT3" 31 times
The Lead Up To The Lambo
After releasing GT3 Content in 2016 and 2017 (the Mercedes AMG GT GT3 and Ferrari 488 GT3 respectfully) iRacing saw a two-year hiatus in GT3 content...until a mysterious picture began circulating on Twitter on the 25th November, 2020.
There was great chatter about what the picture could be - fans and members of iRacing first guessing the track, before discussing what the mysterious machine in the picture could be - the "Lamborghini" name almost instantly being guessed from the indistinguishable vents on the rear.
Less than two weeks later, the same developer published another picture of this "mysterious car" - this time, the community and fans were thrown - opinion splitting between whether it was an Audi R8 GT3 update/facelift to be released, or the before-mentioned Lamborghini.
At the very end of the season, on Sunday 6th of December, another picture from the very same iRacing developer once again went viral.
The End To A Difficult Year
After an incredibly difficult year due to a certain Pandemic and a previous lockdown in March, the British government announced a "Student Travel Window" for University students to come home between the 3rd December and the 9th December before a second lockdown would start.
As I had a MOT Due, lecture and lots of work, I decided to come home on the 8th - I felt the 9th would be a little bit risky with Police/rules etc.
Week 13 would conveniently start on the very day I came home.
An Ingenious Solution...
As Assetto Corsa Competizioni (ACC) already had the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo, the only logical move was next to replicate both the images in ACC and see how similar they looked
ACC Pic: Antonio Guarda
ACC Pic: Antonio Guarda Before announcing the new content to the world, iRacing had just one more small teaser for us - a screaming V10 around Long beach, a video on Facebook being published on the 7th December, 2020 at 5pm.
The Final Reveal At 3:16pm on the following day (8th December), all questions were answered and a staff member announced all the change-notes - and the third item on the "release note list" was none other than the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo.
In official series, it was announced (that evening) that the Lamborghini would go to the IMSA and the VRS Endurance Series.
The First Race
After going down at 13:00 GMT (1pm) on the 9th December, iRacing eventually returned at 5pm with an unlimited amount of Week 13 series
The moment iRacing came back up, the Week 13 races began - all (or the majority) starting off with a 30 minute open-practice session, followed by a race.
One of these Week 13 races was the Tin Top Tussle - a 15 minute GT3 race - and as it was the only race (during Week 13) to include GT3 cars, the Lamborghini was slipped into the entry-list.
The first ever public race to include a Lamborghini was at 5:30pm (after half an hour of practice) - as the majority of members were downloading content (from the update), very few actually participated in this race - a single split of 14 cars (13 Lamborghini's and one Audi) competed.
Famous streamer Dan Suzuki won the race - claiming the exclusive title of "First Ever Win In A Lamborghini on iRacing"
Behind Dan, 4 others managed to finish the race - only 2 who competed were below 2K iRating (an Alien Meetup)
At 7:30pm (that night) the series peaked with 7 splits of 20+ drivers - only 3 hours after being up, over 156 owned (and had raced) in the Huracan - seeing 7 splits (or 7 splits with 22-23 drivers was a rarity thereafter.
Half an hour later, the first post on the new Lamborghini forum section appeared - a member asking where the paint file for the Lamborghini was (to make a custom paint with)
My Week 13
As a little kid (by heart) I wanted to celebrate the holidays slightly differently that year (2020) - so I tried to do a game review (or car game review) every day until Christmas Eve.
The 9th's day was Disassembly 3D - and after suffering technical problems, I wasn't much in a mood to race - so my debut day came on the 10th (which was also Long Beach)
At exactly 6:59pm on December 9th, 2020 - I bought the Lamborghini - only 12 minutes later - uploading (what would be the first picture on my team's discord) of the new Lambo.
A couple of minutes later, I loaded into a session:
The Swish Of A Paint-Brush
As the car was brand new, very few had team liveries applied to their car.
In the beginning, I improvised - making a few tweaks before the official one was given to me by my painter DeNise Designs.
(I'd move onto the final livery (bottom right at the Bathurst 12hrs, 2021)
My First Race In A Lamborghini
As mentioned, I wasn't exactly free on the 9th, however - my first race came the following day on the 10th at 6:30pm.
Interestingly, Nick Daman, a good friend of mine (league racing) also entered this race.
Right from the first switch of the ignition, I was in love - I don't know if I loved the interior, the screaming engine or handling of the car the most - Lamborghini (in my opinion) had just made the perfect GT3 car.
I started this race 6th and finished 6th - after the good result, I was considering doing a season in the car!
The Rest Of Week 13
The following day (11th), the TTT (Tin Top Tussle) was at Donington Park - one of my all-time favourite circuits - and to do it in such a BEAST was just the cherry on top.
I don't know what it is - but whenever I race at either Donington or Silverstone, I get weirdly sentimental - remembering the times I watched GT3 racing at said tracks from behind the fence - now I'm the guy the spectators are watching.
Donington was also the first Lamborghini replay I saved (forgot to save Long Beach), so without making this longer than it needs to be, here's highlights from my Week 13 in pictures (from replays).
W3 - Donington Park
Insanely exciting - after ludicrous start, spun out from P2 - recovered up to P5, unfortunately spun on final lap, finished 6th
W4 - Long Beach
Eventful Start from 15th, avoiding trouble and the walls to finish 5th.
15th --> 7th on the first lap massively helped this. Q: 15th
(on the same day as this, I also joined a hosted race which was testing out the functionality of safety cars) W5 - Interlagos
Fun race, good battles - enjoyed myself
W5 - Sebring
(Best (matched) start and best finish of W13)
Ensured I spent a whole W13 in the Top 10.
Focusing On The Formula
Following Week 13, and now with the news I had to stay indoors until April 12th (well, our Prime Minister kept pushing it back), I decided that there was no better time to do a season in Formula 3 - I tried it during Week 13 and once during Uni, loved it - so invested as much time as I could into it (before I went back to uni)
During which time, (aside from endurance races) the Lambo sat rather untouched.
During S1, 2021, here are the races I did in the Lambo. (S1, 2021 was limited to the F3, Lambo and Ferrari 488 GTE, the GTE being used for European Endurance Series/EES Races)
16/12/2020 - VRS GT Sprint @ Spa
Seeing that the Lamborghini went into the IMSA series, VRS GT Series and the VRS GT Endurance Series - I wanted to experiment and see if I could get my teeth into the VRS GT Sprint Series...Spoiler: I could not. (Pit-stop was a pain to set up) Having dabbled a little bit in Formula 3 the previous season, I decided to do a season of Formula 3, at the end of this (ironically) a 25-Minute GT3 Sprint Series (called the GT3 Challenge) appeared - exactly what I was looking for.
23/01/2021 - Daytona 24 Hours
DSQ after team-mate reversed up pit-lane
31/01/2021 - VRS GT Endurance - Imola
First race was SUPER fun from 34th - 11th (loved every moment), second one wasn't as fun - however, during that race I got 1001 iRating - I hadn't been over 1K for a looong time before that!
26/02/2021 - 2021 12hrs Bathurst
Was INCREDIBLE - AMAZING FUN.
Bathurst massively boosted my confidence. After getting shafted up the rear (4x), I managed to finish the race with only 6x - only two incident points in a double stint at Mount Panorama was insane! I honestly don't mind we finished 15th - there was so much more to it!
At Bathurst, I was also finally convinced to change the livery I had on my car, to the new teams' colours. (Circle K)
On 3rd March, 2021 (Week 12, S1) I'd manage to get my second career win (after a Skippy race at Donington Park in S3, 2020) ending a simply stellar Formula 3 season in style.
To finish my Lambo season, I did two VRS E races at Suzuka with a friend who wanted to join the team on the 6th and 7th March 2021, unfortunately it ended up in a Double DNF.
The Birth Of The GT3 Challenge
After the huge success of the Tin Top Tussle, iRacing thought for Season 2, 2022, that the service should have a sprint GT3 Series lasting less than half-an-hour.
Teased as the "13th Week GT3 Challenge" during...Week 13, The GT3 Challenge quickly became a staple series in my career.. but more on that in a moment.
The date was the 9th March, 2021...and it was Week 13, once again.
Watkins Glen during Week 13, would see the start of a year's worth of racing in the Lambo.
Now, 52 weeks of racing is a hell of a lot, so I'm going to narrow it down to my most memorable races
Week 13 Week 13 was a huge success with every race I finished, I finished in the Top 10 (as with the previous Week 13).
My most memorable race was finishing behind Josh Sentance after claiming my first front-row start in a Lamborghini on the 12th March, 2021. (W4) (bottom left)
In Total, over the duration of the two Week 13's I got 5 Top 5's,
(Donington Park - 5th | Long Beach - 5th | Sebring - 4th |
Road Atlanta - 2nd | Hockenheim - 4th
Also memorable was getting wiped out from 3rd place by a back-marker less than two laps from the end...not fun at all.
Week 13 did end on a high with a 5th place at Spa.
The Season Itself (Season 2, 2022)
The season itself went absolutely impeccably - if there was one race to describe my season, it would be very first race I did in which I scored my first official podium in a GT3 Car (or indeed a first official Lambo podium).
I kept up my record of Top-10's (in the GT3 Challenge at least), scoring another podium at Lime Rock Park before heading off to Uni the following week.
Following Lime Rock, I'd return (from Uni) in late May to participate in a GT3 Challenge race at COTA...unfortunately, this didn't end so well...
Endurance Racing In The Lamborghini
Unfortunately, in endurance races, its not just a one-man job and sometimes, between me and my team-mate, things would go wrong and end in disaster.
This was made evidently clear very early on - the very race after my P2 ("the season itself....")
Whilst I drove into the pits (and retired the car), it's a factor we both oversaw (and didn't see being an issue).
As he was a higher iRating than me, we ended up in a split much too good for me (as I was starting the race) and I didn't have the pace to keep up with them, so unfortunately retired (20/03/2021)
In a stark contrast, the race which followed this race was HUGELY positive - matched with a Kabort driver of the same skill level, we were put in a split much more closely representative of our skill - a start pile-up helping us go from 49th on the grid to finishing in an unbelievable 21st! (we gained 8 positions on the first lap, and a further 5 on the next!) (21/03/2021)
Next following this, was an unforgettable VRS Endurance race at Daytona (Road Course) - it was a mix of luck, talent, wit and sheer brilliance.
VRS Endurance - 04/04/2021
I could go on all day about what an amazing race it was and how we achieved that podium, but this blog is already long enough - but in short:
> Lorenzo qualifies 17th
> Glitch/bug/error/human mistake only puts half a tank in.
> With less weight, we have an advantage over the opposition
> Less weight + slipstream = winner, winner, chicken dinner.
> After stopping early, we gained a load of positions from others stopping
> Some errors from our competitors helped us along our way
> Lorenzo was an absolute beast and I couldn't have done it without him.
> P3 pitted 4 laps from the end, gifting us a podium
As a result of this, and having a 0x stint (one hour with no incidents), we both got a huge boost of iRating and Safety rating - Lorenzo deservedly got +66 iRating (I got +23), he got +0.18 Safety Rating, my 0x got a +0.23 SR bonus.
The following week, I got a podium at Lime Rock Park in my last Lamborghini race before heading off to uni (which re-opened after Lockdown #3)
I returned from Uni on the 29th May as my Ex (at the time we were dating) had a surprise for me - which turned out to be adorable and amazing.
On the 29th (surprise on the 31st) I did a race at COTA in the Lamborghini, and was about to get a Top 10/P9 (and beat a Kabort Alumnus) - however was taken out by a back-marker on one of the last few laps.
Following that was Week 13 (and my last full Week 13 to date) and following Week 13, I dissapeared with my friends for a month, only returning on July 14th, exactly a month (to the day) of my previous race.
That Week 13 was another absolute success - finishing every race in the Top 10, my first race of Week 13 ending in an incredibly lucky win.
My Summer Return
On my return, (S3, 2021, W5) I found out that my headset had intermittent audio out of one of the headphones (and perfectly fine audio out of the other) - whilst battling this throughout qualifying, it decided to behave during the race and this helped me finish 4th.
In the same way that I counter-productively raced a Lamborghini before a Special Event in a Ferrari, I raced in the GT3 Challenge race at Spa (in a Lambo) before racing in the Spa 24 Hours in a Ferrari 488 GT3.
It was very much a bittersweet race. Sweet as I got up into 3rd place by the 5th lap (about half way through), bitter because I spun it at Speaker's (No Name) and eventually finished in 11th
After quite the enjoyable GT3 Challenge race at Austria, iRacing next set me up with an even bigger challenge: Three weeks of the hardest circuits on the calendar (excluding Nurburgring/Nordschlife
W8 - Long Beach:
W9 - Summit Point:
W10 - Charlotte Motor Speedway:
I had bad relationships with all three - so it wasn't going to be easy...
But somehow, I managed to just scrape through
Long Beach, I started 5th and ended 6th
Summit I started 10th and ended 6th
Charlotte I started 12th and ended 9th.
After the Charlotte GT3 Challenge race, I attempted to do a VRS Endurance race (At the track) but died in both (got killed by a Mercedes storming through the chicane with little regard for me or my car.
After this, I took a 2-month break from iRacing (as I was at Uni).
During a little break from Uni, (in October, in the new Season - S4, 2021) I tried to race a Lamborghini at the Nurburgring GP circuit, but I was too worried about it blowing up/overheating to focus on the race itself.
iRacing displays results by 25 results per page - my 25th most recent race to date is the Summit Point race (S3, W9) - out of these 25 races, 21 are using the Lamborghini.
I took one more iRacing break (in November) - before returning to Uni until Christmas. These races were at Mosport - and after getting shafted up the rear, I got a 5th place to compensate it.
In December, I managed 1 Week 13 race (in the Lambo of course) during Week 13's "Identity Crisis" series when iRacing put GT3's on ovals - I personally loved the idea (and am waiting for it to come back!)
Season 1, 2022
Two years after the Lamborghini came to the service, (December 9th), I was still at University (last year there were Lockdowns Galore).
I returned (to iRacing) on the 22nd December after my family and I moved house and get both the internet and furniture sorted.
Season 1, 2022 started off pretty poorly
Zandvoort Attempt 1: Didn't want to race in session, but left too late
Zandvoort Attempt 2: About to jump in race, had WiFi Failure
Zandvoort Attempt 3:Got caught up in a massive accident, damaged steering.
By this time it was 7pm and I was pissed off and quite tired, so decided to call it quits.
The Red Bull Ring (W3) round went about as well as the Zandvoort one did.
Red Bull Ring Attempt 1: Got shafted up the rear end, and whilst I managed to continue, my straight line speed was diabolical, and quite honestly, I would have been faster walking!
Red Bull Ring Attempt 2: Finally some sweet relief from all this pain and suffering - I FINALLY got a podium, which did small wonders to my simply abhorrent iRating, which since my third attempt at Zandvoort dipped below the 1000 mark.
Red Bull Ring (VRS Endurance):
It's fair to say that this race STARTED well - from 33rd on the grid we got up to 17th by lap 19...that is until I pitted, left it a little too late to warn anyone and got shafted up the rear. (Austria's Pitlane is a bit of a pain in the arse).
Already with damage, I had to cross over the white line to return to the pit-lane (as I had been pushed down the hill by the driver who hit me) - so on top of repairs, we also had a penalty - by that point, in a 3 hour race, there's no coming back from that, so we made the decision to retire.
934 iRating. That was my iRating after that race. Not Pretty. The last time it was that low, I was back racing in Formula 3! (Jan 2021)
A Last Ditch Fix...
Simply put, I had 22 days to sort my shit out. Uni resumed on the 20th/25th January, the Daytona 24 Hours was before that - so I had to get my act together.
Whilst me and Philip (Island) don't have the best of histories, I knew I had to give it a shot, and I'm glad I did, because I finished 4th!
The "new reformed Robin" continued on swimmingly - almost getting 8th at Silverstone, before spinning out and getting 10th (stings, but it was still a result).
On the Weekend of the Silverstone race, I had three main things on my mind (to practice for D24
1) ROAR Before The 24
2) VRS E at Silverstone
3) IMSA E at Daytona.
Roar Before The 24
A 4th place at the ROAR Before the 24 (McLaren 570S) helped matters massively, and by the time it was the Daytona 24 Hours, I had already got back into the 1000's and was sitting quite comfortably at 1060 IR.
IMSA E (Endurance)
Swiftly attending to the next agenda for that weekend, Myself and Tom Wallace tried the IMSA Endurance Series and...it didn't go so great.
Someone attempted to overtake us (bellow the yellow/orange line) and then took us out. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depends how you look at it) - I didn't turn a lap, so I didn't lose a single iRating.
Following on from this, it was the VRS Endurance race at Silverstone and I had an absolute BLAST - with Dominic Ryser, who I don't usually race with, we started 26th.
After 3 hours, we finished in a stellar 9th place, as I did the double stint, I naturally got more iRating/Safety Rating, the race boosting me up to 1096 iR (+36 gain) - as I only had 11x, I thought it was also a pretty decent effort from me too and I can't wait to race with him again.
The last (successful) race I did was the GT3 Challenge race at Sebring where I started 5th and finished 5th with a single incident point - this boosted me up to 1131 iRating.
We'll ignore the Daytona 24 Hours, because both attempts were quite literal shit shows, and after a DNS (2020), DSQ (2021) and now DNF (2022), I can't be bothered to deal with it!