The past week saw the OnlineRaceDriver.com team compete in two Virtual Motorsport events for Forza Motorsport 4. First up was the Rivals Round 7 at Silverstone. Then Saturday saw Badger Gravling team up with painter and race BigBen0913 as the OnlineRaceDriver.com team for the VM Classic Enduro Event.
Virtual Motorsport Rivals Rd 7: Silverstone
I’ve always preferred Brands Hatch and Donington Park to Silverstone, and Round 7 of the Rivals series did absolutely nothing to change my mind. With the news that Audi racer Lanrell21 was going to have to miss this meeting, it left the battle for top Audi between myself, and Jaytwobad. And both of us are currently also holding on to positions in the Top 10 overall drivers, so there’s a lot to compete for.
I knew it was going to be tough to beat Jay, but I was reasonable confident. I’d managed to post fairly consistent times for qualifying on the GP circuit, and also knew that I was probably better suited to the shorter International circuit as I chose to run with full downforce, and to try and focus on the handling of the car.
The first problem came in qualifying. For some reason, my final flying lap wasn’t recorded, and despite another driver backing up my complaint when the grid was being formed, the protest was denied. So although I’d qualified 10th, right behind Jay, I ended up starting 11th. That threw me a bit, but I thought I’d cleared my head enough to get on with the task in hand.
I’m not the best away from the line, but as others had various moments, I’d managed to make my way up the field to a reasonable position, and thought I might be able to catch the Cadbury Fudge Audi of my rival. At which point, I got tagged by Th3 Lobst3r, who was recovering from an earlier incident, and had been stuck behind me for a while. Not only that, but it also spun me way into the gravel.
So I uttered some self-righteous and indignant words as I got back on track, and found myself being passed by Desertrainfrog on the main straight. At which point I put two wheels on the grass, careered back on track, and smashed into Th3 Lobst3r again!
We’ve chatted since, and I’ve explained that it honestly wasn’t retribution – just ridiculously bad luck for the pair of us. In the end, I managed to claw back a couple of places to at least salvage some points rather than following my instinct to quit out and sulk for the rest of the night.
So onto Race 2, which was on the full GP circuit. This time, I just needed to stay ahead of Jaytwobad. Simple.
I made a better start, but was still on the outside of the first turn, so was pushed wide as several cars came underneath me. Then, as I tried to ease off early to avoid a number of colliding cars in the first chicane, I got hit up the backside and launched into the scenery by Gaz Pot 71. By the time he’d waited for me to rejoin in front of him, I’d had enough of Silverstone!
Yet again, I was faced with catching up to the pack. But having caught the main group and closed up again, I narrowly avoided Schuey75 who had fallen victim to a different collision. Feeling pleased I hadn’t tagged him, I then proceeded to do just that 2 seconds later, and in the confusion, we both lost places again.
Generally, virtual racing is some fairly relaxed fun for me, but I was surprised on Wednesday that I hadn’t thrown my controller through the TV.
In the end I finished outside the top 10 in both races, despite qualifying and fastest laps which would have put me in a similar position to Jay. And that now leaves me 10 points down going into the final round. I’ve pulled that points gap on Jay twice, but at least one of those involved him lagging out of one of the races, which I obviously wouldn’t wish on anyone. So it’s going to be tough at Maple Valley this week, but here’s hoping I can stay calm, get a decent qualifying time, and get back to being the top Audi in the EU series.
Virtual Motorsports Vintage Enduro:
This one-off event saw a range of classic Trans-Am spec cars taking on 4 x 37 lap stints around the Laguna Seca track. Having had BigBen0913 volunteer to team up with me, I couldn’t refuse his suggestion to run the Dodge Challenger R/T, and definitely couldn’t turn down his awesome Sam Posey-inspired paintjob.
And after my horrific Audi experiences earlier in the week, it was nice to be back in a classic car for a longer race distance. As the marginally faster driver of the pair of us, I managed to qualify at the back of Lobby 1 for the first race. And I actually made a decent start, making up a couple of places as the race went on. And that was despite managing to spin the Dodge at one point, having got up to 11th – I was caught out by the penultimate turn, touched two wheels into the dirt, and the Dodge was remarkably light as it spun around….
Happily I posted a fast enough lap time to qualify for a second stint in Lobby 1, and again had some great racing – this time I didn’t make any major errors, and finished slightly higher up the field. Total times for the races were 59:15.113, and 59:13.968, which proved the consistency, and was around the times to compete for a top 10 result, so I was happy.
BigBen0913 took over for the second two stints. And despite the fact he’s only been playing Forza Motorsport 4 for around 4 months, he proved he can race as well as paint. With two times just over the hour mark each, he helped us to secure a 16th place, from a total of 30 teams, and again, finished both races with just a gap of 4 seconds between his times, show some good consistency to build on.
The event itself was won with race times in the 57:46-55 bracket, so after an hour of racing, we were less than 2 and 4 minutes behind respectively, which wasn’t bad. And it gives us something to build on, as I’m already trying to persuade my new muscle-car obsessed American team-mate that Team OnlineRaceDriver should take on some more classic series.
As a side note, we were also the top, and only, Dodge in the race. But it’s a testament to the car balancing carried out by the organisers that the first 5 cars were all different models from the Trans Am series. First went to a 1970 Nissan Datsun 510, followed closely by an AMC Javelin-AMX, Chevrolet Camaro Z28, Porsche 911 Carrera RS and Abarth 131 Abarth.
So if you know of any other classic races coming up, let us know!