On an interesting debut at the Circuit of The Americas (CoTA) located in Austin, TX, the iRacing.com V8 Supercars Series roared to life as the Week 8 sim racing action got under way. For 27 laps, drivers traversed the winding West configuration of CoTA. With this week being a dreaded “fuel saver” race, the drivers had to carefully conserve fuel if they hoped to finish the race without making a pit stop.
Taking pole position with a time of 1:33.452 was defending series champion, Madison Down, followed closely by Richard Hamstead and Shaun Kelly. As the lights turned green, all 21 drivers raced uphill to the signature Turn 1. For drivers Leigh Ellis and Beau Cattell, Turn 1 would bring about a race-defining incident. Starting in fourth and on the outside lane, Ellis quickly moved to the inside at the start. The only problem was that inside lane was currently held by Cattell who started fifth. As they raced side-by-side up the hill to Turn 1, Cattell had nowhere to go as Ellis continued to move to the inside. As a result, the two made contact at the apex of Turn 1 when Ellis didn’t give Cattell enough room to make the corner. Cattell slammed into the back left tire of Ellis, sending him spinning off the track and causing a brief pile-up behind them. Several other cars suffered damage but it was Ellis who paid the highest price as he ultimately finished dead last.
In the front of the pack, the mayhem behind them enabled the leaders to create a bit of a gap from the rest of the field. Looking to take the win for himself, Hamstead began applying the pressure on Down from the start. Within three to four laps, Hamstead was able to pull alongside of Down but un-able to complete the pass.
This went back and forth for many laps until Down began pulling away on Lap Five. From that point, he never looked back and went on to lead all 27 laps of the race to bring home the Week 8 win with a four second gap over Hamstead, who set the fastest lap of the race with a 1:34.518. A little ways behind, Kelly rounded out the podium followed by Jake Burton and Cattell who, despite the Lap One incident, still managed to complete the race in the top five.
This Australian Strength-of-Field (SoF) race had a strength of 3578 and three splits times. The top five finishers from the other splits are as follows:
Split 2/SoF 1789
1- Alan Meyer
5- David Nenadic
Split 3/SoF 1126
2-James N Scanlan
To many sim racers, fuel savers are a dreaded racing experiences. As Andrew Green put it in the forums, “Fuel saving is for poor people, not race cars.” On that note, Week 9 should bring about a more enjoyable experience for the drivers as the V8s head back home to one of Australia’s most historic tracks, Oran Park Raceway. For 50 wild laps, the V8s will tackle the 1.62 mile 12-turn road course. Opening its doors in 1962, Oran Park became a fixture of the Australian Touring Car Championship and the V8 Supercars Series. Unfortunately, the track was closed in 2008 and ultimately bulldozed in 2010 to make room for a housing development. With Garth Tander being credited for winning the last race at Oran Park in 2008, the track now lives on with the help of iRacing.com
With only four more weeks remaining in Season 2, the battle for the championship remains close. As such, we can fully expect the racing to be just as close as we head into Week 9.
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