The iRacing servers during Week 10 did not lack great online racing. However, one of the highlights throughout the week was the incredible side-by-side action put-on by Touring Cars at a familiar venue: Watkins Glen International. The 2.4 mile “Classic” circuit is an incredible example of what American racetracks have to offer. The iRacing.com Grand Touring Cup has been to a few racetracks in the US during its scheduled Twelve week season so far, but this will be the last for 2013 Season One as the Mazdas, Volkswagens and Pontiacs head back to Europe and Asia for the remainder of the season.
Michael Booth2 (Celtic) with 187 points and Duncan Coppedge (Northwest) with 182 points finished first and second for the week in their Pontiac Solstices while Andrey Loginov (Central-Eastern Europe) finished third, earning 172 points. Booth entered three races, placing first in two of them and second in the third. Booth was also on top for the week, dominating the time charts with a 1:25.472 over Ilham Halabi’s (International) 1:25.774. Just as on the point board, Loginov was third for Week Ten in qualifying. The Solstices were fast and fun to watch at Watkins Glen, but not the only cars on track.
The Mazda MX-5 was another car to challenge the twists of the upstate New York racetrack. Kevin C Ford (Plains) just edged Nathan Saxon (New England) and Omar Sòto (Iberia) on the points chart. The three iRacers were separated by only one point each at the end of the week. In fact, all down the board this week was extremely close, each sim-racer separated only by a couple points, even past the top 25. Johan Lespinasse (France), with a rookie license on road courses, set the pole lap for Mazdas during Week Ten. Lespinasse ran a 1:25.219, beating Jonathan Daw’s (England) 1:25.238 by a small margin. Jamison Sampaio (Brazil) came in third with a great attempt at ruining the European battle at the top.
Some of the best drivers in the Grand Touring Cup series once again appear at the top of the charts in the Volkswagen Jetta TDi Cup class after Week Ten. Marco Luca Abbate (Italy) just edged Alexandru Raileanu (Central-Eastern Europe) by two points, while in third came Mika T Savonen (Finland) with 141 points, 15 points back from first for the week. In qualifying sessions, nobody could beat Raileanu, but Attila Sipos (Central-Eastern Europe) came pretty close being only less than a tenth of a second slower. Mika Korkeamäki (Finland) was only another tenth off in third.
With only two weeks left in Season One of 2013, the point battle will soon come to a close and a true champion of each class will emerge. In the Jetta TDi Cup class, Raileanu leads Abbate by 24 championship points. Kevin Parrish (Indiana), Savonen and Terry Nightingale JR (Australia/NZ) round-out the top five so far this season. Kenville Inniss (International) still holds on tight to his 147 point Mazda lead over Sergio Moura (Iberia). Simon Palmer (England), Konrad Hutten (DE-AT-CH) and Anders Backman (Scandinavia) will fight for positions 2-5 in the remaining weeks. Loginov and Joni Bäckman (Finland) will fight to the last lap for the championship in the Solstice class, being separated by only 53 points. Paul Clark2 (Australia/NZ), Chris Hughson (New York) and Stephen Warcup (Western Canada) are all over 100 points back from the lead, but still in a position to hang on to top five finishes for the season.
With the twelve week season finally winding down to a close, the last two weeks will be held on non-American circuits… virtually of course. A long trip to Belgium will prove exciting, both on and off track regarding the points battle for the Grand Touring Cup Series. The 2.492 mile Circuit Zolder is up next, featuring ten of the tightest, quickest and most hair-raising corners of the schedule so far. Can the top drivers in each class hold on to the point leads they hold? Or will there be surprises and shake-ups on and off the track? Tune into the Grand Touring Cup series updates for more to come following the seasons end.