Week Six of the iRacing.com IZOD IndyCar Series led the drivers back  to short oval racing and saw some great online races. The Milwaukee Mile with a length of a bit more than one mile is the oldest oval in operation – even older than the famous Indianpolis Motor Speedway!  Built in the 1800s as a horse racing track, it hosted its first auto races in 1903 and, with its symmetric shaped track  layout consisting of two 180° turns, is the mother of many modern race  tracks. Did you know that the very fast Turn 3 at Pocono Raceway was  built on the model of turns of The Milwaukee Mile?

Gerard van Langevelde holds-off Tim Doyle, as Christopher Cahoe and Mark Schute follow.

Although the track layout is very similar to the one mile oval of New  Hampshire Motor Speedway it in fact is a very different track. You may recall the previous season when the IndyCars visited NHMS it was difficult to drive a low line because of the bumpy surface.  At Milwaukee there are no such bumps which make it easier to use the whole width of the track and to find — as well as drive — the ideal line.  In addition, Milwaukee’s turns have a larger radius which also makes it  faster than New Hampshire.

After the success enjoyed at NHMS for Niles Anders (Club Great Plains)  and Tim Doyle (Atlantic) it was not unlikely that both could use that  momentum and adapt to the track.  In retrospect, it’s clear both did exactly that; and in a very impressive manner.  No only did they both set new world  record laps times for the race (Doyle, 21.768 sec.), qualification  (Anders, 21.631 sec.) and time trials (Anders, 21.786 sec.), they also motored away from the competition every time when the green flag was dropped.

Niles Anders side-by-side with Aaron Linkens ahead of Tim Doyle.

As a result  Doyle scored the most wins of the week with 11 (out of 17 races) but Anders took the most points of all drivers with 138 ahead of (surprise,  it’s not Doyle) IndyCar veteran Martin Blais (Eastern Canada). Therefore  the “real race” started behind the “aliens” with some very entertaining competition.  Because the ideal line features a very late turn-in point for the  first and third turns, there is also a great opportunity to attack and overtake twice a lap – if you can keep the momentum (and the car) on the low line, without spinning. Certainly some sim racers had some choice words for their spotter when a following driver made a late move to the inside but, as it was demonstrated throughout  the week, the key ingredient to success was patience.  Turn Four, in particular, showed no mercy for those who attacked too hard and suffered and immediately suffered the penalty of an oversteering rear.  Many drivers figured out that it can be very entertaining to make a 360 when you are racing  two wide (like PJ Stergios did once), racing on your own (like  Connor Cross did with a beautiful example) — or frightening to the fans in the lower rows on the grandstands when they crash into the  wall at 120 mph or more  (like some drivers did…).

In the point standings, Ryan Field (Massachusetts, 807 points) was able  to hold-off  his closest chaser PJ Stergios (New England, 751) and even improve his lead by two points. After passing the half way mark of the  season, Stergios is now under pressure to regain some lost ground while Field  has to stay focused and keep concentration so as not to make any silly  mistakes. In third place we see a new face in the form of Florian  Kirchhofer (DE-AT-CH, 636) after the old holder of that place — Felipe  Mafra (South America) — skipped the week and slipped several positions. Maybe we will see him back there at the end of the season.

On board action with Tim Doyle chasing Niles Anders.

The next week brings the iRacing.com IZOD IndyCar Series back to road  course racing.  But this time it is a very special track variant: the  modified version of Sebring International is a shortened track layout which offers the feeling of airport and street course racing at the same time. On the frontstretch the cars race between unforgiving walls and  slow down hard for a tight right hander shortly after the very fast and very bumpy first turn – this promises a lot of smoke and small pieces.  On the wide open backstretch the cars reach speeds over 170 mph to brake  hard for the second to last turn.

Pictures from Week Six – The Milwaukee Mile: http://www.flickr.com/groups/iracingindycar/

Week Seven – Sebring discussion thread: http://members.iracing.com/jforum/posts/list/1351685.page

Five Questions

P.J. Stergios -- a successful racer, online and elsewhere.

With this weeks edition we like to start a series of short interviews  with sim IndyCar drivers. At first we like to welcome PJ Stergios who  also has real race car experience. His brother Jake Stergios  successfully qualified for the Intel GP Series finale which takes place  at the CeBIT exhibition in Hannover at March 4th 2011.

Five Questions to… PJ Stergios

#1 You are an iRacing member from the first day on and one of the top 350 drivers with a road course Pro license. Which challange,  championship or single race did you enjoy most?

Answer: With so many starts it’s hard to pick just one thing. I guess  I’d have to pick my 2009 Season 3 Silver Crown Series overall  championship since before the season started I don’t think I was even  considered to win it, but had an awesome season with 10 wins in 17  starts.

#2 I know you tried the Williams FW31 as soon as it came out but you  came back to the IndyCar. Can you please explain why and what the  difference in those two cars is?

Answer: The FW31 is a great car, but growing up I was always an Indy  Car fan so I can relate to it a lot better than I do with Formula 1. I  also enjoy the oval and road mix that the Indy Car schedule has. I will  run the FW31 more in the future, but it’s a very difficult car to race  with because it’s so fast!

#3 In your biography we can read that you already have much real on  track experience and also in different cars. How difficult is it for you  to master the challange of the iRacing IZOD IndyCar Series with those  very different tracks like short ovals, superspeedways and road courses?

Answer: That’s the best part about the Indy Car Series since you have  to be good in so many different disciplines rather than just specialize  in one to compete for the championship. I really enjoy running all sorts  of different things here at iRacing and this series is great for that,  and I take pride in being able to be competitive at every type of track  the series has to offer

#4 What is your favorite track and car combination on iRacing and why?

Answer: Another tough one, but I’d have to say the Radical SR8 at  Watkins Glen. The circuit flows so well, and the car is so quick and  nimble there that it’s pure driving bliss.

#5 At last please give us a tip: How do you plan your pit strategy  before the race and how do adapt it during the race?

Answer: With the Indy Car pit strategy can be complicated at times. For  ovals ideally I like to pit under the first yellow where I can make it  to the end of the race on fuel. Usually it doesn’t work out that nice,  so either I follow what the leaders do, or if I feel I can stay ahead of  them with the tires I have I’ll stay out and try to stay out front and  hope for a yellow. Of course there are other times where it all goes  wrong and I wind up in the back from poor pit strategy.

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