As you can probably tell by my choice of photo to illustrate this update, my second race saw ORD Racing take its first chequered flag of the IFCA ALMS Series. And that’s despite the fact I ended up hosting the race lobby due to a number of competitors not being able to make the start.
The DNF from the first race had put me in one of the final two lobbies for Mugello, and the commitment in time and effort is often a lot more challenging when you’re not necessarily predicting a victory for yourself. As a result, the final two lobbies both had a number of racers missing – to the point that the eventual race had just three cars on the grid, as the other lobbies were already full.
That was actually a positive for me, as it meant I could concentrate on consistent laptimes without checking for a constant queue of racers looking to overtake me. I actually made a reasonable start, as the eventual lobby winner prorp4, shot off into the distance in his BMW M3 GT2. Mine slotted into second, ahead of the Ford GT of Metzkill1. Sadly it wasn’t long into the race before I had a bit of a moment and Metzkill1 made the most of the opportunity.And yet, for quite a while, I was able to hang onto his tail and cause him some pressure – even retaking second for a minute when he was distracted by events outside of the racing lobby. He managed to make his way back past, but I figured I still had a shot for second on the road…
Until I managed to screw up the uphill Arrabiata2 not once, but twice. Both times I ran just slightly wide on entry, hit the bumps, and shot into the gravel, creating a sizeable gap to second, and prompting me into an earlier pitstop than planned. This almost paid off, as a few laps later Metzkill1 made his mandatory pitstop, and rejoined the circuit just ahead of me. Sadly my attempt to put the pressure back on backfired with some really ragged and slow laps until I managed to calm back down and settle back into a decent rhythm.
And that’s how it ended – prorp4 was way in the lead as the hour mark arived, Metzkill1 was comfortably ahead of me, and I was just happy to take the flag without any internet connection issues. In the space of 60 minutes, I’d covered 105.05 miles (Mugello is 3.26 miles, meaning I’d completed 32.22 laps, and averaged just over 1 minute 51 seconds per lap. Considering my fastest lap in practice was 1 minute 49 seconds, and that average includes a pitstop and trips into the gravel, I’m pretty darn pleased with it!).
The overall results take a while to be updated due to the number of racers, teams, and different point permutations, but having seen the distances from over lobbies, I think I’m probably around midtable or slightly below it for Mugello, and that’s made me one happy racer. I might not have won the GT2 Class, but to go from a DNF and what had already been shaping up as a bad result, to actually finishing and beating some of the other racers, is quite an improvement in the space of a week. Plus several drivers ahead of me in the championship were unable to race, so the fact I made it will make a world of difference in the championship.
Next up is another track I rather like, Road America, on Saturday February 5th.
I haven’t had a chance to get out on track with the M3 yet, but from previous experience, I think the car will handle pretty well, and the straightline speed from stock should be pretty reasonable. The big challenge will be the corner exit from the extremly long 180 degree Carousel Corner, which I don’t think I’ve ever been happy with, and the braking into Canada Corner, which is a tight right-hander following the kinked back straight. If there’s somewhere I’m likely to leave the track and head straight on, it’s when I try to brake just a little later into Canada Corner.
Still, after the joy of Mugello, I’ve revised my ambitions for Road America to break into the top half of the GT2 class. You’ll have to keep reading to find out whether I manage it.
The previous exploits of ORD Racing: