Week Six brought the iRacing.com Skip Barber Race Series to short and tricky Lime Rock Park. Since the track is owned by Skip Barber, mastermind of the Skip Barber Racing School and Series, the week represented a home-coming of sorts. Only two years after the 2.41 kilometer track opened in 1957, Sunday racing was banned after the Lime Rock Protective Association took the track to the court. Happily, the noise issues central to that LRPA’s court case have not proven problematic for iRacing and there is sim-racing aplenty at Lime Rock on Sundays!.
In this week’s 3995 Barber Series strength of field race, multiple great drivers were set to get racing. Amazingly, the difference between pole position and last place on the grid was only a second. Simon Hulbert (UK/I) started on pole with a brilliant time of 57.500 seconds. In second was Paul F Grillo (UK/I) only 0.084 seconds behind and with Simon Povey (UK/I) third at 57.624s.
After a clean first lap was completed, nearly everyone retained their starting position. However, that clean start didn’t mean the lap was uneventful. For instance, Rudi Reinkort (Central-Eastern Europe) nearly drifted the last corner in the grass, yet managed to save it and didn’t collect anyone. Mike McCormick (Texas) clipped the grass at The Uphill and wasn’t able to put his car back on the tarmac. As a result, he slightly touched the tire wall at the next corner and gave his race up.
Apart from these incidents, the race produced some good overtakes. Jyri Mäntylä (Finland) overtook Grillo at the first corner, as the Scottish driver took a bad racing line, and nearly touched him. Mäntylä also overtook Hulbert for the race lead after he almost spun his car out, but continued his race. Unfortunately, he collected one driver, and that was Povey. He had to retire from the race due to his steering damage. The most shocking incident was yet to come. Mäntyla looked to have the race in the bag, but on the 14th lap, coming into the first corner, Grillo attempted to overtake him. Their wheels touched and Grillo headed straight into the fence, and out of bounds. Mäntlya was sent into a spin and almost recovered, but the resulting damage forced him to retire. It was a close race for the lead, but Hulbert managed to parry the attacks of Harri Anttila (Finland) to win the race with the Finn finishing just 0.498 seconds behind. Third place went to Klaus Rachbauer (Scandinavia) ahead of Reinkort and Jairo Via (Iberia).
Although he came up short in the SoF race, Anttila leads the standings with 1055 points. Second is Martin Peck (UK/I) (1031) just ahead of Hulbert (1027), with Jeroen Ganzeveld (Benelux) (1017) and Victor Nandez (Iberia) (991) fourth and fifth, respectively.
Next week, the Barber Series heads to Circuit Zolder. The track hosted the Belgian Grand Prix from 1975 to 1982 and again in 1984. It also hosted a Champ Car series round in 2007 and the WTCC’s Race of Belgium in 2005 and 2010. Tune in next week to find out what happens when the Barber Series’ top drivers race there.