Round Two of the iRacing.com Road Warrior Series was held at the daunting Mount Panorama Circuit, a venue in keeping with the series’ title.
This week saw the MX-5 Cup cars do battle for 40 minutes around the most intense road course in the world. Bathurst, as the circuit is commonly known, has the steepest elevation change of any circuit in the world. It is like a sick twisted Australian cocktail of Monaco, Laguna Seca, the Nordschleife, and Road Atlanta. The view out of the visor as you head down the Mountain Straight is hugely intimidating with the mountain looming over you. Then on entry to Griffins Bend the walls narrow as you begin the climb. Suddenly everything appears to be moving much faster, and the margin for error is now zero. As you climb through The Cutting, Quarry Corner, Reid Park, Frog Hollow, Sulman Park, McPhillamy Park, and then down Brock’s Skyline you play chicken with the cold concrete barriers right on the edge of grip. Scared, sweating, and white-knuckled you crest the hill and dive into The Esses.
Now it’s a sudden and violent application of the brakes with the car dancing on the front tires, the back end trying its hardest to hit the barriers on the left of the entry to The Dipper. Hard to the right for the entry to The Dipper, and then immediately back to the left skimming the walls on both sides as your stomach flies up into your throat. Through 15, 16, and 17 downhill into Forrest Elbow . . . as you hug the wall on the left through Forrest Elbow you get hard on the gas and watch the wall shoot towards you on the right. Now you can catch your breath while careening down Conrod Straight towards The Chase. As you crest the hill and go under the Fusso banner you ease over to the left and use the extra pavement to widen your line for the flat-footed Chase. You break heavily for 21, turn in then clip the curb on the left. You pull around to the right then run down to Murray’s Corner the final left hander. Hard on the brakes again and turn in trying not to grab any curb as it unsettles the car. Crossing the line you have now traveled 6.1 km, traversed 20 potentially fatal turns, and flown up and back down 174 meters of Australian mountain.
This was Bathurst by yourself; now add 42 other equally-matched cars and repeat . . . for 40 minutes. Now you have Round Two of the iRacing.com Road Warrior Series.
This week we again saw some of the top teams in sim-racing show show their might. With 446 competitors the aliens had their work cut out for them. Across the four top splits two drivers outclassed the rest: Aday Coba Lopez won three out of the four top splits with Anthony Roselli winning the fourth and highest SOF race. The online racing was close and some of the favourites walked away without a win. One of the notable non-winners was Tommaso Carlà who, despite a rather disappointing weekend, is still in the points long haul.
The Saturday 1:00 GMT SOF race saw Tomasso start on pole. He would lead 15 of the 16 laps and yet come away with nothing but a fourth place to show for his efforts. Coba Lopez, on the other hand, led just one lap – the only one that counts – to claim victory in the first race of the weekend ahead of Tamas Szabo, Matt Busa and Carlà, with Jörn Jens completing the top five.
Later that day at 20:00 GMT saw the highest SOF (4210) race of the weekend. Attila Sippos started from pole and led four laps before Jens, Roselli and Christopher Roberts each took a turn at the front. As the saying goes, “He who laughs last laugh best” so it was Roselli enjoying the final chuckle, claiming the victory and setting the fastest lap of the race for good measure. Jens recorded his second consecutive top five, claiming the second step followed by Roberts, Julian Rodriguez Moreno, and Blake Townend while Sippos faded to P13.
In the Sunday 1:00 GMT SOF race Aday Coba Lopez would again come away with the win after Carlà appeared to fall upon tough luck. In a mirror image of Saturday’s form, Lopez did the lion’s share of the leading, but only after Carlà led the first two laps before an incident knocked him out of contention. Sergio Moura came from fifth on the grid to take second place. The last step on the podium went to Dirk Reinhard who started ninth, with Joao Dario and Joao Pinho fourth and fifth respectively.
The Sunday 12:00 GMT SOF race was again won by Aday Coba Lopez who had out-qualified Carlà. Lopez took the lead at the start and never look back, leading all 16 laps and setting a new track record in the process. Carlà came home second followed by Szabo,Jens and Tim Claessens.