Vedran Broz has a jealous and angry cat.  This cat is the frequent subject of lengthy posts by the sim-racer in the Ford Mustang FR500S forum, interwoven with track tips, driving impressions, setup ideas and other information that is lapped up by competitors.  While the cat doesn’t appreciate its caretaker’s attention being diverted to a computer screen, Broz nevertheless found time in Week 1 to take the top series points and top qualifier position at Okayama International Circuit to kick off Season 1 of the Mustang Challenge.

Vedran Broz opened Week 1 of the Mustang Challenge at the top of the points standings.

Broz’s work schedule often prevents him from participating in the top “Strength-of-Field” races as is typically required to earn maximum points each week.  However, thanks to time off (and permission from the cat), he earned the top points for the week and the overall lead for the series championship with a win in Sunday’s popular 22:15GMT race.  In addition to winning both of the races he entered for the week, Broz posted the top qualifying time of 1:45.005.  “Vedran is also very generous with time, help and sharing the setup he kicks your butt with. Nicely done crazy cat man,” noted Mike Baures.

Week 1 at Okayama featured a bounty of races all week with a great mix of drivers at all levels.  The week attracted 282 sim-racers participating in 44 official races producing 29 different winners. Mike Baures claimed the most wins for the week, with four victories in seven races.  Carl Quigley’s 16 starts for the week made John King look like slacker with “only” 10 starts.  Even the series rookies were raving about the good racing action: “Well I had my first ever ‘D’ License race tonight in the Mustang and I loved it. Completely different to racing in the rookie stuff,” said John McFarlane.

Andrew Casey leads a pack of Mustangs through Turn 1 at Okayama on his way to winning the Saturday 2:15GMT SOF race.

All sim-racers shared the challenge of learning a new tire model for the Mustang in the opening week of Season 1’s 12-week points battle.  Early comments of frustration at figuring out the new tire were gradually replaced by overwhelmingly favorable reviews at the improvement in the car’s performance.  “The New Tire Model and new build is fantastic!” said Travis Mihm, one of the series leaders who has shared generously with setup and racing tips.  “The V5 tire model is a huge improvement IMO, and the chassis is now better than I’ve ever experienced.”

Close racing action even at the back of the Saturday SOF race featured Joshua Filyaw(#13), Jake Hayes (#14), Jeff Jacobs (#10), and Connor Dayton (#12) running nose-to-tail and side-by-side.

Everyone will get a chance to keep learning the limits of the new tire model in Week 2 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.  The improved weather conditions compared to Week 1 combined with the better racing surface at Mosport are already producing good reviews:  “Wow. The racing on this track is so good,” reported Nicholas Bailey. “Thanks to all the drivers in the 2:15GMT race tonight. That was some of the best racing I’ve ever had. Really looking forward to the rest of this week.”   Everyone can find a track guide, setup tips and videos in the Series Forum.

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