Sebring International Raceway played host to the iRacing.com IZOD IndyCar Road Series for Week 11 of the series. 53 drivers raced during the week with four different drivers taking victory on the mile 3.7 mile course. Sebring was formed on air strips of a former World War II airfield and is the oldest permanent road course in the United States. With a variety of surfaces ranging from the rough concrete runways to (relatively) smooth asphalt, the track has the feel of a street circuit and, though it’s best known for hosting the 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race, Sebring is as a favorite test track for the IZOD IndyCar Series so its drivers know the layout quite well.
Riccardo Schiavon (Italy) continued to make a stand during Week 11, scoring a series-leading 156 points at Sebring. He won the 2616 Strength of Field race over Daniel Ryan (Australia/NZ) by 5.894s with David Sockrider (Indiana) coming home 18.795s back in third. As he did last week at Indianapolis, Schiavon dominated the SoF event, starting in pole position, setting the fastest lap of the race and leading all but two laps in route to the victory.
Schiavon is turning it up when it counts the most because his championship rivals did not fare very well at Sebring. With the victory, he continued to close the gap to Carlo Labati (Italy) and Nico Brandt (DE-AT-CH) in the points. Though Labati scored a win during Week 11, it was not a strong points day and this week will be a “drop week” as only eight of a sim-racer’s best twelve points-scoring weeks count in the championship. Brandt had an uncharacteristic week, running poorly by his standards at Sebring. He only managed a third place finish in the SoF race; in fact this was the first event Brandt entered this season that he failed to win.
With Labati — together with Denis Garese (France) and Matt Lambertson (Pennsylvania) — adding his name to the roll call of winners at Sebring, he now leads the overall standings going into the twelfth and final week with 1251 points. Brandt follows in second with 1223 points and Schiavon is in third with 1211 points. Rounding-out the top five are Garese with 1096 points and Jon Allott (Australia/NZ) with 1081 points.
The final stop for the IZOD IndyCar Road Series season is at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, a 13 turn, 2.71 mile track with the feel of both a permanent course and a street course. No matter which way you think about it, the track is very difficult to get a hold of. Its mix of fast straights and very tight turns challenge the drivers to find a setup that will allow them to grip the track correctly in the slick corners, yet be able to maintain speed down the long back straight. Along with all the competitors, the top three in points hope to avoid a run- in with the “Wall of Champions.” This wall seems to bite the best that the motorsports world has to offer as they push to the absolute limit exiting the final chicane onto the front straightaway.
Two-time overall IZOD IndyCar Road Series (Fixed Setup) champion Labati is seeking his first overall road title, Brandt is chasing his third straight overall road championship while Schiavon is looking for his very first overall championship in any iRacing Series. No doubt the pressure will be on all three next week at Montreal, and the championship could come down to just a hand-full of points.