Monday, September 11, 2017

instigate inaction

Another endurance race, another DNF. I parked it after 54 of the 191 laps, just over a quarter of the race distance. As soon as the pace lap started I lost my nerve, then it was all shaky and skittish as I ran about 1 second slower per lap than I did in practice. The downshift paddle started acting up, refusing to shift gears arbitrarily, and I just couldn't establish any rhythm.

Somehow I make it to the first pit stop, but the short break didn't help me at all. I come out and rejoin the race and a few laps later I finally get involved in a lapping incident, the sight of a blue flag and a bunch of faster cars in my mirrors made me lift off the throttle at the wrong time and I get punted in to the grass. I try to recover but there was enough damage to affect the car's handling.

Suddenly I become aware of the aches and pains that I've been overlooking. My wrists had become jelly while my neck and shoulders were stiff. My lower back felt warm and my eyes were drying out. But the biggest strain was on my left leg, it felt like it was going to cramp at any moment, something I have never experienced before. It was from having to hover my left foot over the brake pedal. And then I remember I had a dead pedal in my old rig.

Anyway, I decided to pit in to repair the damage. Sitting there for a minute or so, feeling my body breaking down and knowing there were so many laps ahead until the checkered flag, I decide to give up. If I had kept going I would have just been a nuisance on the track and would have ruined the race. I have to improve my fitness and make modifications to my current rig before I try another endurance race.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Fadeaway Dunk

And we are back in the BMW M1 for Round 5 of HSO 1982 World Endurance Championship. It's been months since my last endurance race, after skipping Nurburgring (driver failure) and Spa (no cars available). We will race at Mugello Circuit in Italy for 1000km (191 laps), a track I have never seen before. I also don't feel fit enough to be honest, so I will have to ramp up the practice for this event.

At least I am familiar with the car, setting it up shouldn't be difficult. And it looks like Mugello is a nice flowing track with high speed corners so I hope it will be easy to learn. I haven't finished a race at all in this series and that has to change.

The drawback of running in this event is that I have to skip another race in rFR Grand Prix Season 13. Oh well, that season is lost anyway with that DNS and DNF in the opening rounds. I don't dwell on it.

Monday, August 28, 2017

lesser life forms

A DNS and then a DNF, ain't a good way to start a racing season. But that is exactly what has happened. Round 1 in Bahrain, my connection was busted so I couldn't even start. Round 2 in Spa, after such a good practice and qualifying (where I beat my teammate), I got beached on a verge and suffered a subsequent engine failure. After such a good performance during the preseason, I am now on the backfoot. Could it be any worse? As a racing driver, part of my job means to look ahead. So, I try to remain positive, despite these last two weeks of disaster. From here, I can only go forward. It still sucks, though.

Monday, August 14, 2017

hey guys wonder joints

rFR Grand Prix - Season 13 Preview

Yes, I am back in the Minardi for another season of rFactor Racers League Grand Prix! I am still riding high from Season 12 where I finished a personal best 7th in the overall standings. I hope to build on this performance and score more points and finish even higher in the Championship. Maybe I can even get that elusive podium. I have been driving the same car for several seasons now and it's like an old friend to me. I feel very confident when I am out on track with it and I know very well which setup values to change to make it do what I want it to do. It is a distinct advantage against all these new drivers coming in.

I also had an excellent preseason, and in all 4 races I finished 6th or better (but no podium) against a varying grid. I have a lot of data on how I will perform with the two kinds of tire compounds available and with the fuel strategy. I also feel very warmed-up as essentially I did not take the summer break and instead kept working. So I have a very upbeat feeling for this coming season and I expect to fight in the midfield.

The Drivers

Arrows 2000
#10 - Jeffrey Backer
#29 - Dragan Tanasic

Caterham 2014
#77 - Markos Zervos
#88 - Julio Ronaldi

Ferrari 2016
#19 - Arek Kulak
#68 - Andreas Fischer

Force India 2015
#22 - Can Yildiz
#99 - George Simeonidis

Marussia 2014
#13 - Edijs Batars EDEX
#87 - Juris B.

McLaren 2015
#11 - Gustavo Montenegro
#27 - Antonio Hreljanovic

Mercedes 2016
#2 - Eduardo Méndez
#5 - I'Gor Grigorovich

Minardi 2000
#14 - Logan Johnson
#42 - Alaster Langsom

RedBull 2016
#23 - Nikolaus Steven
#41 - Vince Wertenbach

Renault 2006
#30 - Peter Mobsy
#69 - Gatis Stalsans

Renault 2016
#7 - Sven Dirks
#78 - Kimmo Savolainen

Williams 2015
#15 - Gabriel Marcos
#17 - Yuri Matias

Reserve Drivers (alphabetical order):
- Edilson Medeiros
- Fabio L
- Igor Milinkovic
- Kenneth Ragland
- Levent Orhan
- Matthias Mueller

We have a full grid to begin this season, 12 Teams, 24 Drivers, plus 6 Reserve Drivers and possibly even more new and returning Drivers waiting in the wings. I expect the first few races to be jam-packed, and scoring points will be tough even with rFR's generous points scoring system. I am not anticipating the usual thinning out of the grid as the season wears on, either. It seems the word has gone around that rFR League has some great racing that is being run by very professional admins and more and more new drivers are signing up to participate.

Antonio Hreljanovic is the reigning Drivers Champion, and he returns to Mclaren with longtime teammate Gustavo Montenegro (our superadmin who pretty much does everything to make the Season happen). They were second in the Team Championship and this season they will use the black 2015 livery. Last season's Team Champions, Arek Kulak and Andreas Fischer remain in the coveted red cars of Ferrari. It looks like it will be another epic battle between Antonio and Arek for the top spot. Peter Mobsy and Gatis Stalsans, who finished third in the Team Championship last season, also retain their pairing as they switch to Renault 2006 from Jordan. Mercedes have a very strong driver pair with Eduardo Mendez (aka Joe Mclaggen) and Igor Grigorovich, and can be expected to fight for race wins and the top position in the standings. Also watch out for the veteran team of Sven Dirks and Kimmo Savolainen running the Renault 2016 colors. Some newcomers including Vince Wertenbach and Dragan Tanasic have shown their speed in the preseason. I am teaming up with Logan Johnson in the Minardis, and our main competition looks like the Marussias of Edijs Batars and Juris B along with other midfielders like Gabriel Marcos, Can Yildiz, and Markos Zervos.

The Races

As usual with rFR, where the race tracks are determined by both drivers vote and admin choice, the season is another mix of old and new tracks. We will return to some consensus favorites, including Spa, Istanbul, and Austria. We will also have some old school tracks like Estoril, Magny Cours, and the season closer at Brno. But what I am really excited for is Round 3 in Laguna Seca. I have raced here before, but with GTs, so I am curious how an F1 car will handle the infamous corkscrew.

And that's it for our rFR GP Season 13 Preview.