The penultimate round of the GRAND-AM iRacing.com Online Sports Car Series headed to British shores for a visit to the legendary Brands Hatch GP circuit. The mixed class racing series, open to members of the iRacing.com service, sees the Riley MkXX Daytona Prototype and Ford Mustang FR500S racing for separate class honours on millimetre precise digital replicas of some of the world’s greatest race tracks.
With the inaugural GRAND-AM iRacing.com Online Sports Car Series heading towards its final round of the season, Wyatt Gooden continues to occupy the Division One top spot, and the Ohio-based sim racer looks set to remain there to collect the overall title. Gooden and fellow protagonist Jaro Honzik failed to make an appearance at the Brand Hatch circuit during Week 11, but by virtue of a competitor’s best eight rounds from twelve counting towards their championship total, the pair remain split by 117 points. Capitalising on the series leaders’ absence, Darryn Lobb secured the top divisional score of the week, 184 points, after taking a brace of victories on the former home of the British Grand Prix.
Although Ralf Laurinowski collected the honour of Division Two’s best driver in Week 11, the 150 points earned for an overall victory did little to eat into the gap to divisional leaders John Mallia and Henrick Carlsson. Despite failing to enter any races, Mallia and Carlsson head into the final round of the season with a mere 22 points between them, setting up a ‘winner takes all’ showdown in the season finale at Daytona International Speedway.
A top five finish for Chris Zijlstra saw the European collect the highest score of Round 10 in Division Three, and close the gap on erstwhile leaders, Ikka Estefania and Matthew Davis who remain 63 points apart. Thanks to his relentless grip on the Division Four lead, Kjell-Einar Svendsen heads into the final round of the Championship with the divisional crown safely in his kit-bag. The Scandinavian, who has led the Division from the outset, took maximum points on the virtual Brands Hatch to extend his advantage to 263 points, an unreachable target for closest competitor Jacob Desmarias.
Whilst Tyler A. King dropped points on his main Division Five rival Damien Capelani, the American goes into the final week of the season with a 72 point margin, and as the favourite to take the divisional title. Robert Wachter’s105 points at Brands Hatch moves him even closer to current divisional leader Todd Martelle, and the pair, accompanied by Guido Grosch, will head into the final round with just 22 points separating the three of them.
“It’s been a great season in the GRAND-AM series,” shared Austrian sim-racer Wachter. “I’m not sure if I can hold my second place in Division Six, but I will try to reach the crown. I like the Daytona Road course and the Riley feels good here.”
The seventh division of the GRAND-AM iRacing.com Online Sports Car Series Prototype Class looks set to come down to the final laps of the season, with Scott Bennett holding a slender 18 point advantage over Jim Davey, who made up ground by earning 68 marks at Brand Hatch. “Going into Daytona, I know I need at least an 85 point race to try to take the lead.” Davey wrote this week. “I’ll be striving for a top five finish, which will hopefully be enough to take the lead from Scott. I think it’s a strong possibility, as long as I can get into a high Strength Of Field race.
It’s been a fun season, and I can’t wait for the next one to start!”
After claiming the top points for Round Nine in the eighth division, Jeremy Burris heads to the final round of the championship with a healthy 90 point lead over Don Davis. Likewise, Sylvain Delpech looks almost certain to clinch the Division Nine title, following his 58 points at Brands Hatch, which gives the Frenchman a 137 lead with just a visit to Daytona’s road course remaining. In Division Ten, Joshua Friedrichs also looks set to claim the divisional honours, with the American holding a 93 point heading into the final week of the season.
Ford Mustang FR500S
Although Marcus Jirak has lead the Ford Mustang class of the GRAND-AM iRacing.com Online Sports Car Series for much of the season, as the championship heads into its final round the European finds himself chasing the tail of Scott Michaels. Whilst Jirak scored the second highest total of the week, Michaels posted his eighth round of results in the championship giving the Englishman his ‘full quota’ and promotion to the top of the leader-board.
“After I lead this championship for quite a while, I surely have ambition to climb the top of the rostrum after week 12.” Jirak said this week.
I’d love to see a direct title decider, head-to-head in one race, between all the strong guys that lead the top page of the championship roster.”
In Division Two, Chris Keogh continued to hold off the advances of Mathieu Gagnon, extending his standings lead to 21 points. An early series favourite for the divisional title, Gagnon has it all to play for with the championship heading into it’s final week. “I think the last race will be where the season championship will be played for me.” Gagnon offered this week. “I will try my best to score as much point as possible and will hope that Chris Keogh gets a bit of my bad luck of my last few weeks. They have been terrible for me. I had a awesome chance at scoring 199 major points at Brands Hatch that would have probably secured the crown, but out of my own fault; I missed my braking point in Turn One because I was following a lapped car too closely, and I hit the wall.”
With a slender 26 point leader, Dimitar Stefanov will be looking to maintain the third division advantage over Andrew Bakke for the next round of the GRAND-AM iRacing.com Online Sports Car Series at Daytona International Speedway; whilst Jasper Groeneweg looks set to cruise to the Division Four crown, as the European carries a 120 point advantage over Eric Miller.
Thomas Christian’s second consecutive week as Division Five’s top points scorer sees the American head the divisional Ford Mustang standings by 18 points over England’s Robert Lawrie, who is now 53 clear of Mike Nachtigal following the visit to iRacing’s rendition of Brands Hatch.
Although Patrick Lindsey only secured the third highest total of the week in Division Six behind William Broadfoot and Paolo Ghibaudo, the Floridian still managed to make up ground on standings leader Alexander Khalkin. “I need a good result at Daytona. Last week I cut Alexander’s lead in half but those 56 points are still my lowest amount so far.” Lindsey explained post race. “I have to race hard for 50 minutes. I am on the very edge of the splits from week to week so I could be at the bottom of the top split or at the top of a lower one.
It’s been a fun season and this last week is going to be intense.”
In divisions seven, eight nine and ten, Ryan Cowley (7), Hal Kemrite (8), Petr Lysec (9) and Evgeny M. Garanin (10) have all but sealed their divisional titles, with as the quartet all enjoy barely reachable leads as the GRAND-AM iRacing.com Online Sports Car Series draws to a conclusion.