January 28th, 2016 by Paul Slavonik
Although many GT3 teams chose to test their endurance in last week’s iRacing.com Daytona 24 Hour, several participants still made appearances for Round 6 of iRacing’s Blancpain Endurance Series at Brands Hatch.
With only four total splits for the week, several drivers saw this as an opportunity to bag a win or a solid top-five since many of the heavy-hitters were participating in the 24. The racing was no less intense, however, as full-fields of cars raced towards Paddock Hill Bend on Lap 1.
Choosing to go it alone, Riccardo Schiavon of TeamGT-RS dominated in the top Strength of Field race (SoF 2569) by taking the win from pole position. Also setting the fastest lap of the race with a 1:23.893, the fast Italian drove his BMW Z4 ahead of the 28 car field and sailed to an unchallenged victory by a vast margin of almost 27 seconds.
The first of only three cars to remain on the lead lap during the three-hour event, Schiavon netted 159 championship points and takes the top step for Round 6.
Cronos SimRacers Endurance
Featuring a full complement of drivers, Xabier Sanchez, Juan Antonio Barba Bermudez and Gorka Barron of Cronos SimRacers Endurance grab the second step of the Round 6 podium. Utilizing the agility of the BMW Z4 as well, the trio of drivers started in third in the top SoF race but maintained consistency to move into second before the checkered flag waved at the end of the race. Although they unable to challenge for the win, the Cronos drivers maintained a healthy margin over third by over 30 seconds.
Only accruing seven incident points over the course of the three-hour online race, the three drivers hit their marks and finished strong to take home 153 championship points for their efforts.
The final car to remain on the lead lap in the top SoF race, Raul Diago and Jordi Clara of Dream Factory rounded out the Week 6 podium with their third place finish at Brands Hatch. Although the duo started in second and lost a spot to the Cronos trio, Diago and Clara both held on to clench a step on the podium.
Driving the McLaren MP4, the Dream Factory drivers had their hands full with the larger vehicle which may have contributed to the increased number of incident points the duo accrued throughout the race. Regardless, Dream Factory were able to grab 147 championship points from their third place finish.
Coming to America
As iRacing’s Blancpain Endurance Series prepares to make its third stop in the United States this season, it will be a familiar setting for many teams since a majority just completed (or attempted) 24 hours of racing there.
Daytona International Speedway is home to Round 7 of Season 1 and you can sure that participation will be high. With no pesky Corvette C7R Daytona Prototypes to get in the way, GT3 drivers will have the track to themselves for three hours of endurance sim-racing.
As was the case in the 24-hour, look for the McLarens to be a dominating force due to their high top-speeds. Although the BMWs will suffer on the oval sections, their braking and maneuverability will still make them a force to be reckoned with.