Originally Written: March 5th
Now at an iRating of 620....I thought that now is a good time to look back and see where it all went so wrong.... I got my first ever iRating (promoted to Class D) during Week 8 of my inaugural season of iRacing (I joined Week 5, S1, 2020). The first race I got this licence, I was already losing iRating - From 1078 to 1044. Due to my podium at Lime Rock Park the following race - my iRating went up - significantly - to a respectable 1105 - I was on a roll - and I wasn't stopping - Increasing iRating at both Summit Point and Okayama where I finished 4th twice in a row, peaking at a (whopping) 1187. The Infamous Laguna Seca race was next, and due to getting hit and then disqualified later on, it lowered, but still in the 1.1K range.
During Week 13, I did the unbelievably fun "Le Mans Lucky 7's - 777" (7 Days, 7 Tracks, 7 Cars) which was a 30 minute GTE Series, which instantly made me fall in love with not only the Ferrari 488 GTE - but the whole GT scene as a whole!
This was especially amazing, as the series was marked "unofficial" meaning iRating was not touched. The next season was the thoroughly enjoyable Ferrari GT3 Challenge - which I desperately wish makes a return within my life-time - these were some of the funnest times (bar Kabort) I've had on iRacing. But maybe I was having too much fun..I lost iRating during the first three races of the season, dipping below 1.1K by the third round. I missed the start of the first Brazilian round of the Ferrari GT3 Challenge - and lost 103 iRating due to me not competing - dropping me below the magic 1,000...but somehow gained 24 iRating in the infamous Brazilian round which I did participate and was involved in a large start-line shunt...
Somehow, no drivers were seriously injured in the accident. Despite an early spin, Laguna Seca also went alright, just putting me above the 1000 iRating line... But from here it spiralled out of control - losing iRating at both Monza and Montreal. Sebring with the legendary Kiyan Tajbakhsh delayed me from going below 900 iRating. This was further helped by the absolutely phenomenal race at Imola we both had - boosting me up to a modest 956 iRating...He may be the secret - whenever I'm in a race with him - I'm happy - and my iRating - and even HIS iRating are happy!
Looking back at the Sebring race, his iRating was only at 580 - so maybe we'd been travelling the same story?
Unfortunately, he wasn't able to attend Bathurst, and my iRating was sad - (or I was hopeless) and it dropped below 900 - The beginning of Week 13 only further worsening the damage, until a short, happy break. This break consisted of: Nurburgring, Imola, Tsbukuba and surprisingly Laguna Seca - where it flourished for a short while - not spectacularly, just slightly, before creating Kabort Motorsport for Season 3....and endurance racing isn't the place for vulnerable iRating....
In the beginning, things went well - despite a DNF at Laguna Seca - I still gained iR - pushing my way into the 900 iR region...and this small gaining streak lasted a little while - gaining at an incredibly memorable Canadian Round of the VRS GT Endurance Championship with Ex-Drivers Declan Eady and Florian Hundertmark and an unforgettable Glen 6 Hours, before the streak ended at the disappointing Donington round.
I only lost a single iRating during that round - and we were back on form at the following race at Spa - me being only 10 iRating away from reaching the magical 1000...but obviously, I wasn't going to have it easy Getting the most incident points out of the whole team at Brands Hatch wasn't going to do any favours for the lowly rating. Our first 24 Hour race was up next - surely an unmissable opportunity to get some well-earned iRating a 12th place and 12 iRating for me was the perfect end to a perfect race...
It was only at the following race at Mount Panorama however that I was finally rewarded with an iRating of 1001...all I needed to do now was keep it that way... This is MUCH easier said than done, as I lost 5 iRating at the race after this - Barber Motorsports Park... The next race was Imola - and for the first time in my iRacing career - I lost iRating at the track I so dearly loved.
This trend only continued to worsen....a double DSQ at Suzuka pulled me further from my goal... It was Week 13 again, and more pain ensued as I did not finish the Mazda Race which started the week. Finally, at last I had some relief at Tsbukuba - gaining a dollop of 44 iRating... and after trying a taste of Industrifahren and TCR I gained none - and lost none - a relief after a three tough races. The last race I did compete in however, did count - and after being talked to half-way through the race by my parents, I was forced to quit, returning to the danger zone of leaving the 900's. The Bathurst 1000KM was next - and from experience - I knew that Mount Panorama was difficult - and the V8 Aussie was a beast that I had to get used to...Somehow - out of no-where we managed to finish 7th place (our Korean friends finishing 4th). A good dose of 19 iRating on top of the race result would satisfy me for a while.
Then the new season rolled around - The Endurance Le Mans Series was our series of choice for the next 6 Weeks - a 6 Hour Endurance Series in the GTE'S....bring it on. Losing 55 iRating for joining the Le Mans Series, as opposed to the Endurance Le Mans Series was definitely one way to start the season...- immediately dropping me out of the "900 Zone". the race itself wasn't much prettier - losing 1 iRating - small - but incredibly significant. This would set the theme for the season - Losing more iRating at Le Mans, whilst testing the Porsche 911 Cup at Interlagos and Nurburgring (DNF'ing from both) before losing more at Twin Ring and Sebring.
The season itself was not bad - we actually did quite well - but the races I jumped in, my iRating suffered Week 13 returned again - and I jumped into my newfound love...wait that sound really really bad - um - I jumped into the Porsche 911 Cup which I love oh so much and gained a massage of 45 iRating - after a season like that - I needed something like this. This race really showed me how much damage I had done - 766 iRating after a boost of 45 (721 for those bad at maths like myself) - Which really puts me into a "catch-22" situation -
Do I torture my iRating for the fun of hanging out with my friends and ensure Kabort do well, or do I leave Kabort to a trusted leader and build up my iRating using the ever-so-fun Porsche 911 Cup. After all Kabort has been through, I don't fancy just throwing it in the bin - which makes driving the Porsche 911 Cup during week 13 so, so much more pleasurable. The problem is - that yes, it is my career/my iRacing but I've involved 30+ others into the mix - and they've done oh so much for me and I'd hate to let them down and just say "you know this thing you've spent time, effort, money and your whole life with, yeah - it's Toys R Us Now - non existent....
The problem I have is that I want Kabort, my fun, and iRacing to last in unison for as long as I live - or have a computer - and If I were to hand Kabort over to Andy for just one season whilst I ̶m̶a̶s̶t̶u̶r̶b̶a̶t̶e̶ have fun in the Porsche...I don't know - it'd still be my team, I'd still be around, and Andy could make it into a much better team - he's bursting at the seams with ideas - but would it be right for me just to "walk off" - I mean I've been managing for almost a whole year without a break - but would it be morally right? The reason I am considering this is because I thoroughly enjoy the 911 Cup - and Andy's a bloody nice chap, and very trust-worthy, and to ensure that Kabort doesn't sort of "turn into a hindrance" and "chore" - When I wake up in the morning I want to leap over to my computer and join in with the hive of activity with enthusiasm and passion - Kabort's going to last 10+ years - and if you sprint in a marathon - you're not going to make it. Should Andy make a race-winning team, I may or may not step down - If he's got it sussed, I don't want to interfere/get in the way - but then it won't be my team - but if he needs a hand then I might take his old job as deputy-head.
Following a massage of 45 iRating (Total of 766 IR) at Charlotte Motor Speedway, it was Lime Rock - another thoroughly enjoyable race - and due to a start-line shunt, I was able to get back into the 800's. On the back of this success, I returned to Nurburgring and further improved my iRating to 846. Things went from strength to strength - adding to this number once again in Imola. With this momentum I went forth and.....blew it all away by accidentally entering a Mazda Race and losing 66 of my prized iRating - not really worth trying to join a new real life friend who just joined iRacing....
The bad luck continued as I tried to race at the Daytona 24 Hours, but someone joined the wrong team, and another wasn't even racing with us - that weekend only one car finished of three (or four) that were expected to race.
There was another failed attempt at joining a new friend to iRacing (or racing old friends) - resulting in 79 iRating being taken away - returning to the 700's. With mounting college work - and expectation to perform, I stepped out of the race-seat and focused on being team-principal full-time. Sir Smokey (Will) hot-seated with me at the Bathurst 12 Hours - which was going exceptionally well, before I crashed with 25 minutes to go - thanks to his safe driving I was able to pick up 15 iRating - but I don't know how we split that. As quickly as it started, the season ended again - me managing a hiatus for the whole season, and managing to get some good college work done.
After a good while not being in the drivers seat, I was thoroughly looking forward to getting back in and doing some racing with my old friend - The 911 Cup during Week 13. After being hit up the rear and an unmotivated driver up front, I retired from the first race of Week 13 and went down to 708 iRating - Little did I know the danger I was in... My luck came crashing down all at once during the second race - Despite a clean start from 9th, a large accident happened in which I was a passenger and I hobbled home in 12th. 10 iRating lost.
Lime Rock would only go marginally better - a 7 iRating gain would put me at 669. The Nurburgring race which followed would allow me to return to 700 iRating, before the rest of an incredibly damaging Week 13 finished off the season - losing iRating at two of the three remaining races.
I'd start off by losing 63 iRating at Tsukuba, giving a total iRating of 662, before slightly raising to 669 at the next round at Lime Rock, before reaching my lowest iRating to date of 620 at Laguna Seca....which only lasted 100 meters.
After Laguna, the new season was upon us - and it was high time to gain some iRating - especially after all that had happened.
A spectacular double top-10 at both the Sebring 12 Hours and ELMS (Endurance Le Mans Series) Sebring Race after would both do wonders to my iRating - after both I'd have 629 iRating - an increase of 9 just two races into the season
Despite not finishing the first NES (Nurburgring Endurance Series)/Virtual VLN Race in the 911 Cup with Berkley, I was still able to gain some well earned iRating...at this rate I'd hit 700 by the end of the season!
With Daniel Evans by my side, we'd race to a 20th place finish at the the Monza round of the ELMS - more iRating flooding into my little collection.
From here, It'd only grow and grow. Most notable was my maiden podium for Kabort at the third NES/VVLN race alongside Aussie Sam Thurtell and Brit James A. Peace. 666 was now the iRating number.
The tricky Nurburgring 24 Hours followed this - and with many corners and many laps, the Kabort Motorsport Mercedes Global car miraculously finished 8th place. Just 19 iRating separated me from 700 iRating. It was one hell of a race, and one I cannot wait to do again.
But 700 iRating wouldn't come easily - a retirement at the 4th round of the VVLN/NES may've taken a single iRating away, but it wouldn't stop my charge.
The break finally came at the final race of Season 2, 2020 at Le Mans - which was an incredibly enjoyable alongside Sam Thurtell. Now I was at 708 IR - I just had to keep it that way!
Hitting The Magic 1k
(This section was written in November 2020, with extracts from an iRacing Forum post back in August)
As stated in the blog, my iRating fell to an absolutely abhorrent 620 - and with a Class B licence, I was only one of a few with this level of licence and low iRating....but I (somehow) came out of Week 13 (S1, 2020) and swore to myself that I'd try harder and race cleaner.
It wasn't an easy journey, but ever so slowly, my iRating would slowly creep up, reaching 700 iRating by the end of S2, 2020. (end of May)
July would be a good month - seeing me stride past 800 iRating, consistently gaining on a race by race basis.
My 900 iRating Celebrations would come hand in hand at my first Official win on iRacing (which came a day after my first EVER win in iRacing, racing in a league) This all happened before today, August 26th, 2020, when I finally managed to achieve what all this hard work was for...a grand whopping 1K...and what better track to do it at than...Belle Isle, in a Skippy - the only bad news? It was going to stop there for a while.
In total it took 389 Days (a year and 23 days) from when I was last in this position - and with University starting in 27 Days, and some preparations still needing taking place, this is where she'll stay.
Aside from Week 13, MOFO League which happens every Tuesday (and occasionally Thursday) at 8pm BST and the Zolder 24hr Hosted Race, this was one of my last iRacing races until my 3 year university course starts...and after that..who knows (obviously I will be back during holidays).
Uni is a good two and half hour drive from my house, so with wanting to concentrate on University, I will both have insufficient time to practice for races and then only come home at least every other weekend. With the rig staying at home, races will be few and far between - but at least I can say that I'm a 1K-er just like the majority (I think) on this service
Before I end, I'd like to thank some people
- All my competitors for putting up with me (and also being patient, sporting, safe & fair)
- Joe Bradley for inviting me to his Skippy (now Radical) league - without him I would have NEVER even considered driving the Skippy, let alone in an official series (enjoyed GT too much, didn't realise how fun open wheel actually was)
- Luke Bennellick (If you're reading this Holy hecc THANK YOU SO MUCH ONCE AGAIN!!!!) who unbelievably gave me a Playseat Revolution with a Logitech G920 & Pedals for absolutely free in Dec' 2019 (He is honestly the kindest man ever and deserves all the love, cookies and pizza in the world)
Without these I probably would have never pushed as hard as I have for the past 9 months and probably been no-where near as competitive - There's only so fast you can go on a green Ikea Office Chair.
- My sponsors - cheers for replying to my emails and letting me use your logos for free - I don't care there's no money involved, but the fact you are on the side of my car no matter what car I'm in or what place I'm in - cheers.
- My Team - Cheers to the rest of Kabort Motorsport for sticking by my side - yes we may have been through a couple* of drivers, but your support, and the fact you've stayed with me through thick and thin means so, so much to me! Tell me back in January 2019 that I would manage/principal a team that'd last over a year and I'd think you were barmy!!
Alas, it's a massive cheers (thanks) from me, it's been a pleasure racing with you all and making dozens of friends and here's to the next years
I must thank all that read this - or skim over this - Blog Writing is enjoyable - but what me brings me more joy is when people read and enjoy my articles - it almost gives my little existence on this little planet some purpose. Once again, thank you, and I'll see you in the next blog