Week Seven brought the iRacing.com GRAND-AM Sports Car Series to South Florida and Homestead-Miami Speedway. Using the “Road Course B” layout, drivers attacked 2.3 miles (3.701 km) of asphalt consisting of 11 turns. The R-oval format to the circuit gave drives a hard time setting up for both the high speed oval section along with the tight road course section. Mastering this for the Prototype class was Cesc Riu (Iberia) with a pole speed of 1.26.126 and Csaba Volyka Jr (Central Eastern Europe) in the McLaren MP4 with a time of 1.31.590. Seeing another drop in population this week for both classes, the Prototypes attracted 192 drivers in race sessions, with 118 placing a qualifying lap and 40 completing a time trial. This was the first week this season where the McLaren participation was lower than the Prototype, as 180 drivers entered a race, 93 qualified and 32 completed a time trial.
Riley Mk XX Daytona Prototype
On top for the second week in a row was George Sandman (California) with a score of 195 points. Starting from the pole position, Sandman held off all attacking attempts and checked out from the field over the fifty minute race. When the checkered flag flew, Sandman crossed 26.079 seconds ahead of Robert Senneville (Eastern Canada). He also competed in another race during the week, putting on another dominant performance to take the victory by 16.788 seconds.
Second place for the week was Steve Vayanos (Australia/NZ), scoring 178 points. Vayanos started from the second position in the 2924 SOF race behind Mark Ellis (Australia/NZ). After Ellis was involved in an incident on Lap 13, Vayanos took over the lead position and never looked back, stretching out to a 2.792 second lead over Riccardo Schiavon (Italy) as he crossed the line on Lap 43. He also competed in one other race throughout the week, scoring a fourth place finish.
The final step of the podium was filled by Robert Senneville (Eastern Canada). Senneville competed in the race mentioned earlier where George Sandman broke out to a very large lead, leaving Senneville to hold onto his second place position. This gave him a nice score of 170 points. He also competed in one other race throughout the week with a fourth place finish.
The remainder of the top ten included Ronnie Åkesson (Scandinavia), Schiavon, Richard Kis (Central Eastern Europe), Chi Nguyen (France), Anthony Roselli (New Jersey), Tyson Cierpial (Australia/NZ), and Pawel Bienkowski (Central Eastern Europe).
McLaren MP4-12C GT3
Current points leader Norbi Kiss (Central Eastern Europe) was on top once again this week with a score of 213 points. The overall pole position enabled Kiss to start from the inside front row, giving him clear track from the drop of the green flag. This allowed him to run his own pace and focus on setting fast laps. By the end of the 41 lap race, Kiss brought home the victory over Scott Michaels (England) with a 16.071 second advantage. Kiss was obviously pleased with this result, as it was the only race he competed in throughout the week.
Another strong run for Mikael Hellén (Scandinavia) with 193 points earned him the second position this week, and boosted him to third in the season standings. In the 3212 SOF race, Hellén started from the pole position and maintained a quick but safe pace to avoid the Prototypes coming hard from behind him at all times. He survived until the end of the race to take a 12.563 second victory over John Mallia (New York). Hellén competed in two other races throughout the week, scoring a third and fourth place finish.
Completing the top three in Homestead for the McLarens was Scott Michaels (England) with a score of 186 points. Mentioned earlier, Michaels chased Kiss but did not have enough to keep with him. After the 43 lap race he had to settle for second position, 16.071 seconds behind. This was his only race throughout the week.
The drivers completing the top ten were John Mallia (New York), Julio Palacio (Georgia), Luigi Nespolino (Italy), Sergey Soldatov (Central Eastern Europe), Eric Miller (Texas), Csaba Volyka Jr (Central Eastern Europe), and Jonathan Salhani (Australia/NZ).
Next week the iRacing.com GRAND-AM Sports Car Series heads to Sao Paulo, Brazil to compete at the famous “Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace,” better known to most as “Interlagos.” Being one of the most famous tracks in the world, and playing host to Formula One races since 1972, sim-racers have been craving for this track to come to iRacing.com. Newly released this season, a bit higher participation is expected as drivers may be looking to try out the new virtual circuit. Being a nice wide track, the multi-class racing should not be an issue. This will allow drivers to focus on their in class battles and make it even more exciting for us as spectators and reporters. Please be sure to check back next week for a report from Interlagos!