CTC Celebrates Its First Year
12 months ago a group of drivers addicted to the Lotus 79 were coming up with ideas to try to increase the diminishing attendance of what they believe to be the best car on the iRacing service. Luis Babboni suggested a teams championship. Series organiser Frank Herfjord loved the idea so much he set about organising the Classic Teams Championship.
A year later and the series, while remaining still a fairly low participation series, has a solid and substantial driver base with regular online races throughout its four day week and over 110 drivers registered for 2012 Season 3. They will all be chasing the title which Williams GP took after 12 hard fought rounds during Season 2.
Williams eventually triumphed by 15 points over Ferrari, who had to recover from a slow start, and Ligier who benefited from a poor result from Renault to round-out the podium.
The season closed-out with a trip to the challenging Suzuka International Circuit in Japan, with 11 races taking place over the course of the week, Sam Dobie registered the most wins with a 100% record from the two races he entered and logged 111 points for Tyrell, helping them climb to seventh overall. Three drivers managed four starts during the week, while guest driver, Martin Macjon celebrated being signed by Ferrari by adding another 220 points to his tally.
Macjon, a rookie to the series, also took the overall title from Gernot Fritsche, although Fritsche retained his CTC drivers titles as Macjon spent the season as a privateer.
Frische was delighted at retaining the title and explained that , his team, Ferrari failed to take the manufacturers crown due to a slow start to the season.
“This season was one of my best so far,” he said. “The fight for the top spots was intense every week. So I don´t feel like I’ve lost the official series, instead I’ve done a great second place. Martin was in a league of his own, he could have scored even better if he´d done the high SOF races at the beginning of the season. Henri and Audrius were a real challenge for me, and David has made a huge step forward as well. So winning the CTC title is still a great achievement for me.
“Ferrari was struggling with some driver changes throughout the season,” he added. “I couldn´t do the first two weeks, so we really starting going for points when Simon came to the team. I think we did very well in the end.”
“I don’t feel like I’ve lost the official series, instead I’ve done a great second place.” – Gernot Frische
So looking forward, clearly Ferrari, who retain Fritsche alongside Macjon, and an – as yet – unknown third driver, go into Season 3 as strong favourites.
Best Aurora driver was Nuno Moreira who celebrated being signed by the Lotus team with another strong points haul and seventh overall. Robbert de Rooij was the best third driver, the Shadow Racing team, had a poor Suzuka performance but still finished the season in 11th.
The best Aurora team were Penthouse Rizla, while Graham Eden came a close second. Ram Tit-bits were further back, 20th overall, and the only other Aurora team to beat any world championship team.
But what of the series?
Next season the Aurora teams are more stable, so have a better chance of giant killing exploits, while Herfjord was clearly excited about the future of the CTC.
“The enjoyment of everybody involved in the series was greatly enhanced by David Roberts’ excellent weekly reports . . .” – Frank Herfjord
“If I had any idea [about the future of the CTC], you would probably have read one of my ranting posts on the subject in the forums already!” he said. “The enjoyment of everybody involved in the series was greatly enhanced by David Roberts’ excellent weekly reports posted on inRacing News as well as the impressive LotuSport “glossy magazine pdf” version of the same. My hope is that his work can be continued as well as expanded in the future.
“Regarding the actual Classic Team Championship itself we’ve had to change the rules every season because the previous rule set has not been well suited to the constant influx of new drivers. The rules always have to be adjusted to suit the three major concerns.”
Those concerns all centre around the rapidly increasing popularity of the CTC. Rising numbers and increased numbers of veterans, drivers who have completed a full 8+ race season, are forcing Herfjord to be adaptable with the rules.
But what of his season?
While Hertfjord put his heart and soul into the championship he said, “one thing that’s annoyed me for some time is that the schedule has been in mostly the same sequence every season even though the actual track schedule has changed. The annoyance for me was that all my strongest tracks (Brands Hatch, Silverstone, Watkins Glen) came in short succession at the start of the series so I had an impressively high score after just a few weeks of racing. This, combined with my childhood dream-come true of owning a real Lotus car made me lose interest in iRacing over the mid-point of the season. In the end I just barely managed to complete eight weeks of racing over the season.”
So going forward it looks like the Lotus 79 series is facing a fantastic future with a strong community and long may it live.