The season we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived: With the addition of the all new Holden Commodore VF to the iRacing.com V8 Supercars Series line-up, the category is alive and well as participation numbers soared during Week 1 at Okayama.
The addition of the new Holden brings with it some new faces to the online series. With the help of Week 13 at Bathurst, many iRacers were afforded the chance to drive the Commodore in a risk-free atmosphere to prepare for the first Strength of Field (SoF) race of Season 4 at Okayama International Circuit.
Taking to the starting grid, John Emerson of Team TTL gathered-up pole position followed closely by 4 Motorsports’ Mitchell McLeod. The second row was comprised of Hi-Tec Sim Racing driver/defending series champion, Beau Cubis, followed by newcomer and Pro/World Championship driver, Kazuki Oomishima, with Brad Ryan of Team TTL rounding-out the top-five.
For 25 laps, the V8 drivers traversed the slippery Japanese circuit while maintaining control of all 635 ponies which lay under the hood of their Holdens.
Ryan, who started in fourth, only managed to complete three laps before an incident forced him to retire. Unfortunately, Ryan wound-up finishing in last place for the debut race of the season.
Although some drivers found only heartbreak in the Holden, others found glory. For example, this SoF race proved to be a launching pad for the up and coming Chris Coxhead. Only accruing one incident point during the entire event, Coxhead began the race in dead last with the lowest iRating in the entire field. As the race progressed, however, so did Coxhead. One pass at a time, Coxhead began moving forward until he found himself 10 positions ahead of his grid spot. Finishing the race in fifteenth, Coxhead is indeed a driver to watch over the course of the next several weeks.
Another to enjoy a strong finish was Beau Cattell of ANZ Motorsports. Starting in twenty-second position, the experienced sim racer fell back on his time in the Ford Falcon to efficiently maneuver through the crowd. By the end of the race, Cattell had also gained 10 positions to finish the online event in twelfth. Although Cattell ran the race incident-free, it became obvious he was punching way below his league by not posting a qualifying time which caused him to start in the back. Given his pace and ability to race cleanly, we should expect to see more from Cattell in the future, however, as many drivers are simply using this time to get more comfortable with the new car.
Back up front, a fierce battle was underway for the lead. Although the top-four had maintained their respective starting positions, Emerson and McLeod quickly separated themselves from the rest of the pack. Although Emerson appeared to be the dominant driver, McLeod was not about to give up without a fight. As the laps dragged on, however, McLeod was unable to respond to Emerson’s charge. In a clear show of domination, Emerson achieved a ‘supreme victory’ by not only taking the race win from pole position, but doing so without a single incident, leading every lap and also setting the fastest lap time with a 1:30.918.
Although he wasn’t able to muster up the win, McLeod finished less than a second behind Emerson and got his season off to a great start. Finishing third was Cubis who, despite running an incident-free race, finished over 12.5 seconds behind Emerson. On debut, Oomishima held onto his starting position and finished fourth while Wayne C Bourke of Synergy Sim Racing completed the top-five.
This Australian Strength-of-Field (SoF) race had a strength of 3608 and was split four times. The top five finishers from the other splits were as follows:
Split 2/SoF 2208
1- Chris Dickinson
2- Mario Sanchez
3- Glenn Boyd
4- Matthew Vince
5- Will Dodd
Split 3/SoF 1577
1- Matthew Thompson
2- Michael Parigros
3- Alan Meyer
4- Brett Hender
5- Liam Wild
Split 4/SoF 992
1- Jordan Andrews
2- Colin Boyd
3- John Parkinson
4- Daniel Cauneac
5- Bruce Kielly
Week 2 of the iRacing.com V8 Supercars Series brings the drivers to Road Atlanta for their first of three back-to-back races in the United States. This 2.54 mile road course features 12 turns which range all the way from fun to downright frightening. The treacherous Turn 11 will challenge even the most skilled V8 drivers as the car gets very light going over the blind, uphill corner. Additionally, many drivers are finding that the out-lap is extremely challenging on cold tires . . . which promises to make the start of the race very interesting.
With participation numbers continuing to climb, so does the level of challenge being presented as many sim-racers look to tame the V8 beast. If you’re a driver needing help with the Holden, be sure to head over to the forums as many of the regulars will gladly answer any questions you may have. Additionally, V8 driver, Ryan Shelton, has been regularly posting information on the tracks (as well as SoF race times) for each race week. This week’s post by Shelton can be found here. Also, be sure to check out the very first OSR Bathurst 1000 which features V8 Supercar drivers such as Scott McLaughlin and more!
There are lots of great things happening in the world of V8 Supercars so stayed tuned because the best is yet to come!