Predictably, 2013 S1 of the iRacing.com Skip Barber Race Series produced robust competition.

After visiting Oran Raceway Park and Suzuka for the final two weeks, the 2013 Season 1 iRacing.com Skip Barber Race Series has come to a close.  As drivers test the changes to the car and prepare for next season, we at inRacingNews had the chance to catch-up with the top three sim-racers in last season’s championship.

Overall champion Kenneth O’Keefe was very happy with his efforts this season.  We asked him a few questions.

inRacingNews: How do you feel about your season as a whole, what could you have done better?
Kenneth: At the start of the season I did not plan to fight for the championship.  I raced about 40 races within the first two weeks at Jefferson and Sebring.  At the end of Week 2 I decided to cut back on the amount of races I ran and focus on the SOF races which were convenient for me on Monday afternoon.  This started-off well with a win at Phillip Island.  The only thing I would change about this season was my engine failure at Oran Park.  My wireless headset was not picking-up once I had gridded for the race, so I had no choice but to race without sound.  This caused me to downshift too early coming down into Turn Two, hence the engine failure.

“At the start of the season I did not plan to fight for the championship.” – Kenneth O’Keefe

inRacingNews: Sounds like a good season.  What are your plans for next season?
Kenneth: Next season I will continue to compete in the Skip Barber Series and I will be reporting on the Grand Prix series for inRacingNews.com.  I will also continue to race in the oval series which I find attractive on any certain week.

We also had the chance to catch up with the second and third place finishers, Rudi Reinkort and Paul F Grillo.
First, we have Rudi Reinkort.

inRacingNews: Tell us about your history in iRacing.
Rudi: This was my third full season in the Skip Barber, so far I was driving whenever I felt like it and simply trying to practice and get faster. This season, I decided to go for only the toughest races and only race for points. Since Monday nights were agreed to be the SOF races, it suited me perfectly.

“I decided to go for only the toughest races and only race for points.” – Rudi Reinkort

inRacingNews: How was your season? Could you have done anything differently?
Rudi: I quickly emerged to be a contender for the second place in the championship and it was looking good since my qualifying speed was improving and the end of the season offered a lot of my favourite tracks. I had some bad luck in the big SOF races with others drivers taking me out, but since some of my closest competitors simply didn’t make a lot of the SOF races, my second place kept looking stronger.  At the end of the season, I feel there is only driver whose qualifying speed I can’t match, but the rest are really about the time I put in each week and just the matter of finding that one lap.  I think I have earned the title of “Best of the Rest” and I’m kind of happy with it for now.

inRacingNews:  What are your plans for next season?
Rudi: For next season I am still undecided.  I might try out-some new things, but we will see.  I will drive depending on my mood each week.

O’Keefe (1) and Grillo (3) battle with Wojciech Swirydowicz at Phillip Island.,

Finally we had the chance to catch up with third place finisher, Paul F Grillo.

inRacingNews: How did you feel about your season result?
Paul: I was shocked to snatch third. Norbert missed qualifying and that put him in the back and under pressure. Considering how clean and fast he drives I thought  even from the back he would have climbed into the top five and that would have given him the points to retain third.  I guess something happened at the beginning of the race which set him back and allowed me to move up to the third position in points with the victory.

“Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!” – Paul F Grillo

inRacingNews: Are you happy with the Skip Barber series and your progression with the car?
Paul: This season was good and bad.  The level of competition was seriously tough and challenging.  However the controversial track selection took away some of the fun, in particular the abomination that was Road Atlanta  along with Mid-Ohio and Summit Point which provided little opportunity for overtaking. I have learned lots this season and I am surprised at the speed I have found. I am now being more aggressive on turn-in for slow corners and on the flip side probably a little too aggressive into fast corners. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!

inRacingNews: What are your plans for next season?
Paul: I don’t have a lot of time for iRacing so I will focus on one car.  At the moment that will be the Skip Barber again, but I might switch to the Lotus 49 if it is released.  I have also toyed with the idea of the Lotus 79.

Drivers are now either taking a week off, preparing for the new season, or enjoying week 13 activities.  The new season will begin April 30, 2013 with Skip Barber drivers taking to the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course.  This will see drafts of more than one second back meaning that it will be very hard to break away.  It will be some interesting racing to say the least.

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