Week 10 of the iRacing.com GT Challenge headed to Japan and the Suzuka International Grand Prix Circuit, most notably known for its hosting of the Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix. The circuit consists of a flowing layout that includes a bridge where the track actually crosses over itself. And while this fast circuit is one of the most flowing of its kind, it can also bite you; from the very first corner, to Degners, to the fast 130R and heavy braking into Casio Triangle.
The Corvette standings have seen drivers chasing Richard Avery most of the season, the most notable chaser being Ricardo Goncalves Silva. Suzuka saw Silva in chase mode again, however, in this case he was chasing fellow Corvette driver Giorgos Tzanetos for the entire race. Silva followed Tzanetos every single lap, with the interval never growing above a second. Silva had been within striking distance multiple times and couldn’t pull it off. This became critical as Tzanetos went on to win the race and collect 181 points for the week, while Silva only managed 158. Alongside Tzanetos, driver Martin Gosbee was also able to bring home 181 points over Luiz Eduardo Ribeiro as he controlled the race, leading every lap.
Richard Avery and Silva participated head to head in the week as well, where we would find Silva leading every lap until, unfortunately, he and a McLaren driver made contact enabling Avery to lead the rest of the way to grab the win. The win gave Avery 169 points in his attempt to buffer his lead in the championship.
The McLaren class was extremely competitive at Suzuka, with three drivers finishing the week only two points apart from each other. Third place for the week was the championship leader, Patrick Valente Ferro. Ferro captured 184 points for the week after having complete control of his race, starting from pole, setting the fastest lap and winning after leading all laps in the McLaren class. Second place for the week came from Frenchman Laurent Beteille. Much like Ferro, Beteille was able to control his race and win, earning 185 points. However, Beteille not only won the pole and set the fastest lap in his race, but he also had pole for the week and the fastest race lap of the week overall, a very impressive showing.
Taking top honors for the week was Juan Jose Sanchez Caudrado, with 186 points. Caudrado had to fend-off Ben R Chadwick and Paolo Muià as the three ran nose to tail for nearly the entire race distance, with the only overtake being Chadwick passing Muià at the beginning of the race.
Ford GT has had a swing of momentum this week in Japan. Nearly this entire season, drivers have been chasing Kevin Duwel in the standings with Matthias Reuner seeming to be the sim-racer most up to the challenge. A strong showing came for the Ford GT crowd at Suzuka, where Reuner was able to start on pole and get out to an early lead. This was vital as Jonathan Fuller started last on the grid and made his way to second, and then set-off in hot pursuit of Reuner. Thankfully for Reuner, time ran out for Fuller and Reuner took top honors with 239 points.
Duwel also participated in this race, but lost control and went off on Lap One. Duwel showed he is a true championship contender by not only recovering the car to finish the race, but to finish on the podium after dropping to last after his first lap bobble. However a solid third place finish gave Duwel only 159 points. Duwel will be in defense mode these final two weeks as Reuner makes a late season charge for the Ford GT Championship.
Next week, the iRacing.com GT Challenge Series enters Road Atlanta, home of Petit Le Mans, for Round 11. All three class championships remain up for grabs, and all sim-racers eligible for top honors will do everything they can to take home the crown.