The year 2014 has proven to be quite an exciting one for the Skip Barber F2000 in iRacing. Week after week we’ve bore witness to the majesty and simplicity of this car through the eyes of the UK&I Skip Barber league during the first two seasons of the year, and the new paintable wheels have really brought the car to life. Another Skippy gem that’s come to light with the start of Season Three is the Skip Barber 2k Cup. This new league is reserved for sim-racers with at least a 2000 Road iRating or more and features races that are a little bit longer (45 to 55 minutes). The new league is owned by Philippe Leybaert from Texas and already has broken over 100 members from across the globe.
Week One of the Skip Barber this season headed to Lime Rock Park where 43 sim-racers lined up to complete 44 laps of the only circuit from Connecticut in iRacing. The cars all barely fit on the Start/Finish straight, with the final car being only around 20 meters from the apex of the final corner. League owner and organizer Leybaert took pole position by 0.099 seconds with a 57.708 ahead of Mike Matheson, Sebastian Job, Kevin Vaughn, Dominic Brennan, Riku Alatalo, Simon Hulbert, Vinicius Rocha, Mattia Branchini, and Timo Huotari.
The opening lap of the inaugural race was tame as the sim-racers got a feel for each other. The only movement in the top ten came from Alatalo who snuck past Brennan at Turn Two. Lap Two started off much like the one before it, but took a turn for the exciting when Matheson ran wide coming up the hill at the exit of Turn Five and forced Job to lift off the throttle, putting him under attack from Vaughn. Job held on to the position but Vaughn then came under attack from Alatalo. Alatalo took Vaughn’s fourth place position around the outside of the final corner.
The Lap Two excitement continued further back in the pack when Fahim Antoniades also went wide at Turn Five, but with much more dire consequences. Antoniades’ F2000 spun left into the barrier and then was bounced back into oncoming traffic where Mike McCormick was currently going nearly 80mph and could do little to prevent the head-on impact between them which launched Antoniades higher than I’ve ever seen in iRacing.
After six laps of being behind Matheson, Job chose Turn One as his location to overtake the New Zealander. Job had a much better run through the final corner and with a bit of slipstream took second place at the inside of Turn One.
Job seemed methodical in his planning and surgical in his execution as he immediately began eyeing Leybaert for the lead of the race. Laps Seven and Eight he used to close up on the Texan and used the exact same move at the inside of Turn One that he used on Matheson two laps prior to overtake Leybaert and take the lead.
After passing Leybaert it appeared that Job certainly had the pace as he never really was forced to take defensive line. For lap after lap it seemed Job could win the race, but on Lap 15 his fortunes took a turn for the worse when a wheel dipped in the dirt at the exit of the final corner and Job was spun into the barrier. On the bright side, he was literally feet from the Pit Entrance and stopped (probably much earlier than planned) for repair and fuel, and possibly tires.
Leybaert continued pumping in flawless lap after flawless lap, and ran unchallenged at the front for nearly two dozen laps before taking his compulsory stop for fuel. Meanwhile Alatalo had been gaining positions during the race and was up to second place, even if several seconds behind Leybaert. Alatalo stayed out for two laps more than Leybaert and pit at the end of Lap 38. Alatalo attacked the pit lane with everything he had and came out of the pits directly alongside Leybaert, and with the inside line for Turn One took the lead of the race with only six laps remaining.
Alatalo defended the lead in a fashion that is suiting to his Pro Road License and won the first ever Skip Barber 2k Cup by less than three tenths ahead of league owner Leybaert who drove a nearly flawless race from pole position. Rocha had started from P8 and gets the final podium position only three seconds behind Leybaert while Hulbert and Branchini rounded out the top five. A total of 33 of the 43 cars that started made it to the checkered flag, and 19 of them did it on the lead lap.