In eastern Belgium lies a track that any racing fan likely knows: Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. The circuit has been hosting races since 1925 and features its picture perfect Eau Rouge-Raidillon uphill corners that lead to the long Kemmel Straight. With tons of configurations and 4.352 miles of race track, it is known as one of the greats in the world of motorsports. On iRacing though, it’s known as four miles of fun sim-racing, but a massive killer for driver’s Safety Rating as there is little room for mistakes, despite the massively wide racing surfaces. The iRacing.com Grand Touring Cup visited this historic track (virtually of course) for week four of the first season of 2013.
The Volkswagen Jetta TDis pulled out in front on the starts and brought the field around to complete an average of nine laps in the 25 minute races. Mazda MX-5s and Pontiac Solstices ran together and broke into separate little packs as a result of draft. With few hairpins to make passes in, track position was important on the starts. Thus qualifying became crucial for Week Four and anyone who was able to get pole for the week was in great shape. That’s one reason Carl Williamson in the Mazda class was able to win all three races he entered at Spa: he won pole for the week with a lap of 2:53.384 and scored the most points for the week (160). The other reason? He’s pretty good in his Mazda MX-5, running the series regularly.
Kenville Inniss (International) was not too far behind Williamson on the Mazda MX-5 time charts and on the track. Inniss ran a 2:53.785 for qualifying which put him second for Week Four. Inniss registered four races in his MX-5 at Spa, driving off into the sunset for a win in his first race, but finishing second in the next three. In the last of Inniss’ four races, Williamson just edged him in an epic battle for the win in the Mazda class.
Giuseppe Curri won pole in the Solstice class with a time of 2:53.865, running for the first time in the series this season. Curri won his race in his class, only registering a single incident. A regular in the series and in the Solstice class, Dmitry Uglov, finished second in qualifying times for the week by a tenth with a time of 2:53.973 around Spa’s twists. Joni Hagner beat-out Joni Bäckman in the points for the week, scoring 204 points in two races in his Pontiac. He won both races he entered with a combined 13 incidents. Hagner raced against Bäckman in one of those two races and finished eight tenths in front of his fellow Finland Club mate.
The Jetta Class’ points from Week Four looked as it has looked all season, except for who is at the top. Marco Luca Abbate raced his way up the points and into the top spot for the week, registering two races and winning both, just beating Stefano Falcetta in both heats. Mika T Savonen (Finland) and Kevin Parrish (Indiana) followed in points for the week. Alexandru Raileanu put a blistering lap time up on the board (2:48.78), winning pole by over four tenths.
Ruben Martinez Velasco (Iberia) has been quietly making his way up the point standings. Velasco raced twice during week four at Spa. On the first of two races Velasco entered, Terry Nightingale JR edged him by just five tenths, but Velasco led six laps and registered the faster lap time. The next scheduled race (two hours later) Velasco returned the favor by beating Nightingale JR by five tenths, but this time Nightingale JR edging Velasco with the lap times. This is just one example of the extraordinarily close racing Spa-Francorchamps creates with its long straightaways with heavy draft and tight corners with close, tight quarter racing.
The Grand Touring Cup resumes its eventful season with a skip back across the pond to the United States. This time, the series will be traveling to a hidden wonder in the hills of West Virginia. A much smaller track than Spa, the incredibly technical Summit Point Raceway will host iRacing’s current premier touring car series with pleasure. Looking back on the season so far, there is no telling the excitement that is yet to come among the iRacing servers.