R.I.P Ferrari GT3 Challenge

Updated: Dec 18, 2019

When I heard that the Ferrari GT3 Challenge was to become defunct ("re-branded") I was absolutely devastated... so many memories had been made....and only after just one season of racing.

Before we go back in time - let's just read the official statement from Greg West

"Ferrari GT3 Challenge to become BMW 12.0
Riding on the success of the BMW 120 special events in 2019, the Ferrari GT3 Challenge series will be re-branded the “BMW 12.0” beginning with S1 2020.
While the format will be similar, the races will now be 12 minutes long and feature the BMW M8 GTE. The setups will also stay fixed"
Greg West

Week 13, S1.

My inaugural season in iRacing had just ended and I wondered where to go next... I wanted to move upwards - but I didn't quite know where to...a series called "Le Mans Lucky 7's" (777) Tickled my fancy...so I gave it a shot...and despite being thrashed, I have never had so much fun...the competition was high, but clean and close. But this post isn't about that. It's about what came after...

The Ferrari GT3 Challenge saw the birth of my black and gold livery

Having really felt in love with the Ferrari....I found the Ferrari GT3 Challenge. Like with the Mazda, it was fixed, so it was all about driver skill...

Donington

In the days leading up to my first official race in the GT3, (I always picked a single race on a single day to race on) I practiced at Donington. Usually everyone would blast past me but this one individual, caught me and we had a nice session together...a few good laps and battles...learning the ideal racing line from one another...just like friends do...I learned that he was Francesco Mozarra...and if he's hiding in these forums somewhere...I'd like to thank him for being so awesome and being my first friend on iRacing. (Sad but true)


The Very Best Of Friends


Road America

Next was Road America...and after only driving small little tracks for Mazdas....coming to Road America was a whole new experience...sweeps and turns elevation and blind corners all in a fast GT3....I may have been the slowest there...but by golly did I have a good time!

Watkins Glen

Watkins Glen was a race to forget.

I was plagued with issues that day and thought a midnight race was a good idea...but as I soon found out...racing - let alone driving whilst tired was a bad idea...

looking back now, I am glad it happened as if I had a flawless race...then memories aren't made...it's just another race...but the fact that there was excitement...means I will remember it longer.

Brands Hatch

Brands Hatch came up next...and I was considerably slower than everyone else...they stormed away with it...and me and a new friend - Stefan Kousgaard tried our best to catch them...but to no avail. I would have given up, but thanks to Stefan and having someone struggling with me made the race less painful.

Spa Francorchamps Spa was next...and Spa was a memorable one for me because there was a crash that I remember oh so vividly....and how lucky I was to avoid it. The rest of the race faded away into the mist but this one crash had me at the replay screen for about half an hour XD

Spa was also the first race that I did race highlights for. I admit the quality wasn't exactly there...but the fact that I gave it a shot and added animations is something. And despite not looking the best, I myself was proud of it. Even though just over half of it was the accident...




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLLVC_VzQ-M

During this race I joined my first team "AOD (Angels Of Death) Racing Team" an absolutely huge racing team with all kinds of forums and team-speak and rules. (Spoiler; I didn't stay long) this prompted me to dip my toe into the world of trading paints...and it has changed my life forever.




Above you can see RSR and AOD liveries.

These may seem like small things...but for a (then) Class D driver these were very new experiences

Interlagos

Another horrific start crash happened at the next round at Interlagos too, prompting another several minute video to be made too...as well as an "official" race highlights video with it. I believe this video was marginally better quality than the one I did prior....but that's what I enjoyed...the unexpected the sometimes anarchy that these races brought.

On the formation lap I had not a single clue what was about to happen but I loved it!

Black and gold livery which has been on my car (bar 3 special editions - Including the VERY popular Niki Lauda tribute, which, is unable to race due to some Trading Paints issue) for every single race, and is still on my car today. It's all about my ethos of being unique and different...there are too many red and white Ferrari....It is time to switch it up...Anyway, tangent.

This race also saw me learn how to use CTRL + F12, To move the camera and place it on the pace car.

After somehow surviving the horror smash, I got a respectable 7th. This race got an incredibly good race review due to the amount of things that were happening

This was both memorable because of the HUMONGOUS start crash, and the "questionable" driving standards.

I haven't named people in this video for hate, neither send them hate yourself...I had only done it because back then I thought I was good at editing..this video was from months ago, and I know that wasn't the smartest of moves.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ex03SGsya8M



Moments Before Disaster

Laguna Seca

Next up was Laguna Seca...the last time I was here, I was in a Mazda and I got taken out of third (controversial move, and I admit was wrong). Again, this season I was in a very decent position and then lost it...a huge stinger, but it proves that you win some, you lose some and my editing always sucks. ..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_l3yzsm6SUI


I remember the days of flying starts...

Monza & Circuit Gilles Villnerve

Monza and Canada were relatively uninteresting....

Sebring

Then we arrived at Sebring. Sebring will always get my heart racing because of just how phenomenal it was.

This race already began special as for the Sebring race I was racing a stunning tribute livery (designed by Chris Bull) In commemoration of Niki Lauda (who passed away a couple of days before the race).

The session itself started out like how any usual race would start, practice, qualify relatively low...

A few laps into this race and I have a small train of cars behind me. At the back of this train is a man named Kiyan Tajbakhsh. At this moment in time...he's just another racer...but a a lap later...this changes...

Either overtaking or picking up places through crashes, Kiyan eventually catches my tail within 2 laps...

But due to my consistency, and a mistake or two from him, he stays behind for longer than the others....

The only way around me was to use an extra little bit of track on the entry to the back straight (not the start/finish) this seemed to work a treat only on the second attempt.

A couple of laps later (of my holding back) Kiyan felt the pressure and ran deep into a chicane which let me back past...but his trusty old track limits trick worked a treat again, and put him back in the prime position. And I must admit. Either this or my Imola video were some of my highest levels of work.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpkB8s5_jCE


Sebring brought some much-needed action!

Imola

Imola. The home of Ferrari. Nicki's home. The livery stayed on...and so did the duel between me and Kiyan. Both of us attending Imola and providing the Tifosi with some serious excitement. Now with 151 views (2nd most popular video on my channel) it's unmissable!

The race started with a bit of a clonk as on the formation lap a few cars came together as well as turn one...after a good number of laps of hard fought battling...the kind you only get once on a life time.... it all boiled down to the last lap...

At the last chicane, Kiyan brakes a little earlier, I brake a little bit harder and later...weather intentional or not...I get a hit up the rear, almost spin out...lose positions to both Kiyan and Sascha...Kiyan squeezes sascha but eventually let's her by...before I come storming up the inside red in my eyes...he doesn't expect it and barge him out of the way as a kind of "heyy...what was that for" eventually I did get 5th...but without the altercation...a career best in a Ferrari of 4th place would've been mine. But I'm over it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIEZKoT4200



People were unhappy as the fierce rivalry ended on a sour note...

Bathurst

The final round of the championship was Bathurst..

Which went as well as one can expect...Especially as Kiyan didn't turn up

I also did the week 13 Ferrari GT3 series...yet that comes every year with different levels of chaos so that is to be expected

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xa6a3IcqHoI



The track isn't the only thing that bites....

In conclusion it was a season of many highs and lows and memories to keep and treasure and as sad as I am about this, that's life. All good things must come to an end. This is still my first year on iRacing and I expect to be here for many more...and during that time things I love will disappear and change...

Thank you for this season of memories it's been a wild ride.

I'll miss you buddy.

- Robin

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