Much of the pre-season talk in the Radical community was about the anticipated release of the latest version of the new tire model. Dubbed NTMV5 it was hoped the changes to the tyres would improve what was already a popular and exciting car.
When the patch arrived, however, the community were overjoyed to find that the changes were more than just “tyre-deep,” with damper changes, suspension configuration tweaks and a more adjustable rear wing promising to make the Radical SR8 even more fun to drive.
And so it seems to have proved with 190 drivers taking to popular Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (nee Mosport) for the season opener.
Division 2 driver, Mitch McCracken led the early running with 213 points from his two wins and two starts giving him an early season lead over another series regular, Iberian Xavier Busoms. Tino Buchneim rounded-out the top three opening drivers.
In a new feature, these iRN Radical articles will focus on a random race. Different to the more traditional ‘top SoF race,’ the hope is this will encourage people to just race, and will see many more drivers featured in addition to the championship contenders.
This week’s “feature” is the 9:45 pm race on February 2. This non-split race had a SoF of 1673 and 17 drivers. Top of the tree when it came to iRating was series regular Johannes Hestermann with Ian Nadin and Endre Papp lining-up next in the ratings game. Nadin earned pole from James Dahan and Papp with Stefan Vesterlund lining up alongside Papp on the second row.
Dahan made a great start, however and led into Turn One from Nadin and Papp with Vesterlund under pressure from Philip Beedles. Unfortunately into Turn Two, Beedles didn’t give Vesterlund room after he failed to anticipate an overlap under braking and the pair spun off. Behind the rotating twosome, Katier Scott slipped through into fourth, while Rafal Skrobiranda and Garry Schilling both went off in sympathy, the latter unfortunate to make contact with the inner wall. The chaos continued when an unfortunate Scotty Elliot made contact with the spinning Skrobiranda, sending the UK&I driver airborne and out of the race. Further contact behind unfortunately damaged more cars and — in a not atypical Mosport start – half the field was carrying damage by Turn Two.
Hesterman, who perhaps wisely did a pitlane start, almost collected the last of the crashed cars but rejoined at the back of the field and started a fantastic drive.
Up front Nadin looked comfortable but further back things were much less clear. Papp and Anbjørn Lønning were soon embroiled in a tough battle for third while Mark Chorley, Scott and Dahan. Dahan, who had been accidently spun by Scott at the end of the opening lap, soon slipped past her, while the charging Hestermann finished the lap in 9th.
By Lap Nine Dahan and Nadis had created a nice gap back to third, as much of the field spread out, before a spin by Nadin at Moss Corner dropped him to third. In contrast, Hesterman was up to fifth and rapidly chasing Chorley down in a quest for a top four placing.
By Lap 17, Hesterman and Chorley were tied together, with the experienced DE-AT-CH driver breathing down the neck of the fourth-placed driver. Two laps later, a bold pass round the outside of the last corner netted Hesterman a fine fourth place. From there to the end the field stagnated and Papp led Lonning over the line by 6s with Nadin a further 5s back. Chorley held onto 5th ahead of the struggling Scott with Diederik Kinds taking a solid seventh from P17 on the grid.
Wesley Pistole was the first of the lapped drivers with Dahan, Schilling, Beedles, Elliot, Connors and Glockner all continuing several laps down after repairs. Despite the first lap carnage only three drivers retired from the race.
The field now moves on to the Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway for the second week of what promises to be a fantastic and exciting season. The fact that reviews of the revised car have been almost universally positive, bodes for a fine season of sim-racing in the Radical Challenge.