With a new name and the new tire model, the iRacing.com Production Car Challenge is off and running.

Those iRacing sim-drivers looking to run their Mazda Roadster or Pontiac Solstice in the inRacing News Challenge will notice this series has been overhauled in several ways.  First-off the name has been changed to the “iRacing Production Car Challenge” and, secondly, the release of iRacing’s new tire model which has provided uniform racing between both cars.

Season 4 of the 2013 schedule starts out in Japan at the very popular Okayama in its short configuration.  This seven turn 1.3 mile layout on paper looks simple enough but seasoned veterans can attest its very technical and extremely slick nature.

Season 3 Pontiac Solstice champion Lewis King (Mid-South) is back to defend his title while Mazda champ Kester Baird (UK&I) told iRacingNews “I will be running for a title in the Grand Touring Challenge series.”

Inside the numbers –Week 1 – Okayama Short
345:  The number of drivers that started a race in the Mazda.
228:  The number of drivers that started a race in the Solstice.
75:    The number of Rookies that started a race in the Mazda.
45:    The number of Rookies that started a race in the Solstice.
6:      The number of Rookies that won a race in the Mazda.
3:      The number of Rookies that won a race in the Solstice.

The NTM puts Mazda Roadster and Pontiac Solstice on equal footing.

Pontiac Solstice
Kian Kim (Canada) starts-off Season 4 with a solid performance by qualifying seventh best at 1:03.804.  He he won both races from the pole and his 159 point win was the highest strength of field race of the week which puts him on top the Solstice standings.  Sammo Niemisalo (Finland) did not post a qualifying lap at Okayama which had him starting mid-pack but this didn’t stop him from charging to the front and winning both races for 124 points in Japan.  Former Solstice champion Andrey Loginov (Central-Eastern Europe) is no stranger to the iPCC series.  Loginov qualified second at 1:03.804, he won two of three races from the pole and 120 points put him third overall in the standings respectively.  In Time Trial season two Solstice Champion Christoph Schon (DE-AT-CH) posted the fastest average around Okayama with a 1:03.472 while Andrey Loginov’s .576 average is second best and Michael McCullough (UK&I) average of .848 rounds out the top three.

Notables – Sven di Vries (Michigan) is in a third place tie with Andrey Loginov as he also posted 120 points.  Jorgen Petterson (Scandinavia) who teaches SIM racers how to become competitive through his “AAA Racing Academy” won 4 of 5 races and 116 points puts him in fifth place overall.

Tight, twisty and slippery Okayama “short” offers iRacers many a technical challenge.

Mazda Roadster
Joao Dario (Iberia) qualified seventh at a 1:03.646; he won all three of his starts, led every single lap and won the highest strength of field race this week which paid out a stout 169 points.  Jay Adige (UK&I) did not post a qualifying lap so he also started mid-pack but he still won two of three races and finished second overall this week with 119 points, 50 behind Dario.  Nicolas Sanchez (France) did not post a qualifying lap either and had no wins but his 112 points puts him in third place overall.  In Time Trial Ivo Howeller (DE-AT-CH) a Rookie posted the fastest average around Okayama with a 1:03.471 while Yoeri Flossie (Benelux) .844 was a second place effort and Andy Thompson (UK&I) 1:04.244 rounds out the top three.

Notables – There are several contenders for “Ironman of the Week” honors as five drivers posted double digit starts.  Yore Flossie won 13 of 29 races for 102 points and Paul Knight (UK&I) won 5 of 12 races for 103 points.

With Season 4 underway and the last 12 weeks of 2013 we hope to increase participation by double digits once again so please invite drivers / friends to run this series.  Check back with the iRacing News for weekly articles and also visit the Rookie Forums where there is a thread discussing the tracks.  Please check-in next week when the series heads to Summit Point to tackle the always popular technical Jefferson Reverse configuration.

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