161017-221The first round of the NEO Endurance Series ended in a great 6th finishing position for our NES driver line-up of Alex Riebel, David Barraclough and Bram Reniers, with reserve driver Georg Gruber spotting, proving their worth between some of the best teams in sim racing.

After qualifying the TFR Aston Martin in a good 8th place on Saturday, our youngest team member, Alex, was already hungry for more. “Qualified 8, I’m so angry. I had the possibility to improve up to 5th spot in the last lap because a slower car gave me a draft on the back straight, but I ran out of fuel at the end of the last turn.” Nevertheless, qualifying in front of teams like Radicals Online and Pure Racing Team showed that we had the speed to surprise on race day.

On Sunday, it was Alex’s time to shine once again. Driving a great opening stint, he managed to maintain his position at the start, and stay with a fast pack, led by the Coanda Simsport Corvette C6 of Klaus Kivekäs in P4. Only when the lapped traffic was starting to appear, he lost contact to the group, and also made a slight mistake when overtaking a GT3 car, which resulted in a spin. Not hitting anything, Alex quickly got back up to speed again, and tried to make up the lost time, gaining back 2 positions in his second stint.

After Alex’s double stint, it was David’s turn to jump into the hotseat. He picked up right where Alex stopped, and quickly reeled in and passed the SRN Aston Martin. Several incidents put fast teams of Mivano, Rugaballine, and SimRC Crimson out of the race, solidified the hopes for a good finish. Getting ever closer to the Pure Racing Team GT1 Aston Martin, it was becoming clear that they were going to be another chance to pick up a position.161017-16

Taking over the car from David, Bram was mere seconds behind the PRT car when leaving the pits. Due to bad luck with traffic, and trying to keep away from any more incidents, Bram wasn’t quite able to keep up with PRT, slowly losing time to them over his first stint. But then, lightning struck for the Austro-German team during Bram’s second stint, as they got hit from behind by a lapping HPD and hit the tire wall at Tower turn. That gave Bram the chance to catch up and pass them for 6th position, even though they made it as hard as possible for him – a “beautiful move” as described by Racespot going into Sunset Bend.

It was David’s turn again to finish the race off with one last stint. With PRT electing to not change tires, he had to pass them once again, to guarantee the finish in 6th position. It only took the TFR Team Driver/Manager minutes to catch up and get by. Sadly, there was just not enough time left for David to catch up to the car in P5, the Coanda Simsport Corvette, which was about 25 seconds in front. The TFR Aston Martin finished without any more incidents, no damage visible on the car, and still on the lead lap of the GT1 field.

Georg was on hand throughout almost the entirety of the race, providing invaluable spotting calls when the iracing spotter decided to go on vacation for 5 hours of the race, and some great advice to keep our drivers focused along the way.

David summed up the result at the end: “What a brilliant race, congratulations everyone on one of our best finishes. To finish less than a lap down on the winners of a NEO race is a great achievement, and bodes very well for the season to come!”

Congratulations to all class winners, Team Chimera in Prototype, Pure Racing Team in GTS, and especially our friends at SimRC.de in the GT Class.

Once again, thanks go out to Egil Sandfeld, Niel Hekkens, and everyone else involved with making the NEO Endurance Series such a success. And of course to Team Chimera for the awesome pictures of the race, and Racespot TV for the broadcast.

 
TFR Aston Martin GT1 at the newly released Circuit de la Sarthe

TFR Aston Martin GT1 at the newly released Circuit de la Sarthe

Torque Freak Racing are delighted to announce that we shall once again be entering a car into the prestigious NEO Endurance Series, for the third straight year. In our first season after reorganization and expansion, this represents a great effort by Sascha & all others involved in leading the team forwards. The first step will be to achieve prequalification on 2nd October 2016.

Our hopes are pinned on running an Aston Martin DBR9 in the GT1 Class. The team are looking to improve upon last season’s result of 10th in class, during which the car finished consistently but lacked a little top end speed. This season, David returns and is leading an otherwise all new 4 driver lineup, including Bram, Alex and Georg. The entire team has committed to giving their all to finding more from themselves and the setup of the car, and prove their mettle in the same class as many of the top teams in online sim racing. They are already well attuned to each other, as evidenced by a 6th place finish in the second split of the Spa 24 Hour race earlier this year, and consistent top 5 placings in strength of field races of the gruelling iRacing VLN series.

Introductions:
David Barraclough: Driver & Team leader
David is the most experienced iRacer on the team, having also competed in the NES in the previous season, along with two GES seasons, and takes on the task of leading the other drivers through this season’s races. Known in the team for his speed and on-track fairness, he has had a lot of success in multi class racing already. His biggest successes this year so far have been, and multiple 2nd division titles, and overall season podiums in the C Spec and Ford in IMSA and ProtoGT, a 4th place in the 2nd split of the Sebring 12h with Bram, a great 6th place finish with the rest of the team in the Spa 24h, and numerous top 5 finishes in the top split VLN races.

Bram Reniers: Driver
Bram has proven to be a great endurance driver for the team over the last year, incredibly consistent through multiple stints and is known for his awareness and measured approach. As media manager he is responsible for the fantastic paints of our cars. This year he has proven himself with a 4th place in the 2nd split of the Sebring 12h with David, a great 6th place finish with the rest of the team in the Spa 24h, and numerous top 5 finishes in the top split VLN races.

Alex Riebel: Driver
Alex is a rookie drive on the team, known for his rigorous approach to setup, and he is looking to prove himself at the very highest level of sim racing. In his first season with the team he has already showed his talent throughout his first 24 hour endurance race (Spa), and has shown some further bursts of speed in GT3 and GT1 racing against established division 1 competition. It’s going to be interesting to see how he fares himself against the experienced NEO competition.

Georg Gruber: Reserve driver & Crew chief
Handling pit wall operation & setup work, Georg draws upon real life touring car race experience as a driver and team manager at the Nordschleife in VLN, Red Bull Ring, and Monza, amongst numerous other tracks. As the team’s reserve driver he will also be looking to drive with the team at the Le Mans round at the very least. Georg has shown to not be far of the main drivers’ speed as a part of the Spa 24h team, and the VLN team..

Sascha Lamp: TFR Team Manager
Sascha will be supporting the NES team throughout the season in the organizational areas. He was also responsible for the reorganization Torque Freak Racing went through, leading up to having this entry into NES.

Our thanks go out to the rest of Torque Freak Racing, who will be supporting the team leading up to and during the NEO Endurance Series, as well as all our friends in the sim racing community. Finally, good luck to all fellow competitors!

 

CbwKNjRWIAAC6DZDavid Barraclough: We went into this race after a scruffy affair at Spa hoping for a more consistent run, with myself and Timo sharing duties behind the wheel.

Practice throughout the week prior to the race had mostly been held on a track with scorching conditions, where tyre management was key, as the GT1 class could easily lose up to 3 second a lap by the end of the stint! To that end we had focused our setup on being as easily to drive within the tyres as possible. However, the dynamic Gods of iRacing Physics intervened, and we found that the race session was held in a quite chilly air temperature of 20 degrees, and mostly cloudy conditions. This had the fortunate effect of reducing tyre wear to a point where laptimes remained constant throughout the run, an interesting factor that was to play out throughout the race.

Timo qualified the car of Saturday in 14th pace, but I spectacularly threw that away by being forced to start from the pitlane due to two brainfades on the qualifying target time laps. First attempt was 1x by running wide on corner exit, second attempt blew the engine when minimising iRacing to check our target time on a seperate sheet!

However, as is often the case starting from pitlane might have been a blessing in disguise as the bottom two GT1 cars of FRT Hawkers and Dart Frogs came together in the Senna S on lap 1, resulting in some damage for Dartfrogs and even worse for the FRT Hawkers car, losing a lot of laps with repairs.

So coming out of the pits we started off in 12th, and I quickly overtook the Blue Flag and IRDK Corvettes with moves down the inside into Curva du Sol in first 10 laps. The gap to midfield turned out to be around 20s by the time the lead pack had broken their draft, and amazingly I held this for most my first stint. Alas, a couple of mistakes in the last few laps of the stint cost us 10-15 seconds, but I held off Fenix and IRDK with a 3 wide moment down the straight after the second of those two moments.

We were amongst the last to make our pitstop and I was expecting to emerge around 35 seconds behind the midfield pack. Unfortunately I chose this moment to make my biggest mistake of the race – I hit the limiter button too soon on exit and had to take a 15s stop and hold which lost us around 40 seconds overall. This left us almost a lap down on most of the field, and while my second stint contained no big mistakes, my pace was definitely scrappy compared to the first hour. I caught and passed IRDK again at the same corner as at the start of the race, but this time I couldn’t pull away and the gap remained under 10s by the time Timo jumped in the car.

Timo was able to run a great consistent pace, and from here on we held the single lap gap to the midfield. Egil Sandfield had jumped in for IRDK, and he and Timo engaged in one of those great proxy battles that happen so often in endurance racing. We were on the longer strategy with hour long stints, they were slightly quicker but stopping one more time. It was still quite close at end of hour 3, with us able to use less fuel than the corvettes, so able to pit on the halfway mark exactly.

However, drama – race control threw a FULL COURSE YELLOW! Fortunately my chat was set on, so I was able to inform Timo in time to slow to pit limiter speed. All HPD managers had been summoned unceremoniously to the stewards briefing! (As an aside neither of us had any big issues with any of the HPDs throughout the race, yes they did take a few risks but each time they had done enough to make us aware that they were coming through beforehand.)

This played into our hands as it eased our fuel use and helped us pit on the hour mark again. By this time the SRN Corvette had had a couple of issues and had dropped back into range – and even better, they were engaged with IRDK on a very similar strategy, which cost both cars time.

Hour 5 held the status quo, with myself back in the car. This was a much better stint my previous double, I was able to keep up on track with Chimera ahead, a great sign for races to come. This set up Timo with a cushion of 10 seconds to SRN, and 15 to IRDK once both of their cars emerged from their final stops. The sting in the tail – our tyres were 10 laps older. We were set for a 3 car showdown to the end of the race!

What ensured was a great battle for 5 laps between Timo and SRN’s Steven McGarvey, captured by the Racespot coverage. Some great defence from Timo held of Steve for 2 laps. Their Corvette was on high downforce and fresher tyres, and had the advantage in the slow corners of the middle sector. A switchback, and disaster – we were hit! A racing incident, and only a few seconds lost as Timo was able to scamper across the track and re-emerge with no damage done. That would have been that, but Steven very gentlemanly let us back through on the straight, and the battle resumed. A few laps later both cars were side by side again throughout the first half of the track, and Steven finally got the move done into turn 5. A battle for the ages!

One of the downsides of battling so long and hard was the use of more fuel – with 10 laps to go we were now critical to finish without stopping again, and IRDK were only 8 seconds behind. I was watching the fuel level with apprehension and urging Timo to lift and coast. We were able to bring our usage down, but Marcello in the IRDK was gaining gaining gaining, he could smell the metaphorical blood in the water. With 2 laps to go it was down to 1.5 seconds, and we were only just going to make the line.

And then – BANG. Black smoke everywhere in our mirrors. An HPD had tried an unwise move around IRDK on the exit of the Senna S, and left them with nowhere to go. An unfortunate end to a great all race long battle with those guys.

Finally, we took a dash and splash just in case the HPD leader beat the white flag (he didn’t), and crossed the line with exactly the 5 litres of fuel added at the stop.

TFR vs SRN NEO InterlagosOverall one of our better races, we finished 8th out of 15 with no big incidents and no damage to the car, no mean feat for a GT1 on the twisty Interlagos track. I feel that it was only above average races from most of our competitors that meant this was not our highest placing of the year. At times we were on a pace with the upper midfield, but less consistency and a couple of mistakes in my double stint cost us a lap in the first half of the race.
If I can improve on this, we may be able to strongly challenge in the midfield in the last two races of the season.

Up next is Monza, which will be a very different prospect to any track up to this point. A good setup over the kerbs will be key to allow us to stay close in what surely will be a draft fest.

Timo Verhoest: I had a great time. It was the strongest race of the season so far for TFR, and was probably my hardest fought race. Had a great battle with the SRN car and IRDK was always lurking in the background. Looking forward to the next one!

 

GES race at Sebring

After the the Petit Le Mans and BES races at Road Atlanta this our second busy weekend of the month. We will race in both the GES and NES races at the famous circuit of Sebring in Sunshine state Florida.

For the Gathering of Tweakers Endurance series (GES) Jasper Groeneweg will team up with Sascha Lamp in the GTC class and Bram Reniers and Stefan Coppens will share a BMW Z4 in the GT3 class.
In the second season of the NEO Endurance series (NES) drivers David Barraclough, Timo Verhoest, Lars Moldenhauer and Phil Widdowson will share an Aston Martin DBR9 in the GT1 class. 

The 4 hour GES races will start Saturday evening at 17:30 GMT. The 8 hour NES race will start Sunday afternoon at 13:00 GMT.

Both races will be live covered by Racespot TV and there also will be a live feed from the BMW Z4 car at Twitch.tv.

Livestream Twitch: http://www.twitch.tv/TkillaB
Spottersguide GES: http://www.got-racing.eu/…/GES_SpotterGuide_4H_of_Sebring.j…
Spottersguide NES: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/…/…/NES2_spotter_guide.pdf

 

nes

The Neo Endurance series is the biggest and best organized endurance championship for Iracing. TFR will be entering two cars in two of the three classes within this championship. A Ford GT in the Grand Touring (GT) class and a RUF C-Spec in the Gran Touring Challenge (GTC) class.

Jasper Groeneweg (TFR Team Principal)
“I’m very proud seeing both cars on the entrylist. This is something we have worked very hard for. Endurance racing is in our DNA and after Iracing and NEO announced driver swaps for their upcoming championships we started planning right away. Still there is plenty to do in the next couple of weeks. The real preparation starts now.”

Stefan Coppens (#81 RUF C-Spec driver)
“I’m looking forward to the first race. With driver swaps and 6 hour races NEO brought multiclass endurance racing to a whole new level. Tactics are more important then ever. With 3 different classes, 43 teams and 137 drivers it’s difficult to have any expectations but I hope we are able to finish in the top 5.”

Driver line-up:

#41 Ford GT (GT class)
Phil Widdowson
Timo Verhoest
Mark Bird

#81 RUF C-Spec (GTC class)
Jasper Groeneweg  (PRO)
Stefan Coppens (PRO)
Peter van de Kolk (AM)

The first race will take place at Sebring on the 23th of November.

 

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The first NEO Endurance event of 2013 was 2.5 hours around the 3.74km Sebring International circuit in Florida.  Racing at night on the bumps at Sebring always produces an exciting challenge for everyone involved. TFR was represented on track by Mark, Jasper, Ian and for a short time, Phil. A total of 64 cars were entered for the first event, which would have to whittled down to just 43 entries. Ian Rogers would qualify his Corvette C6.R GT1 11th in class, while Philip Widdowson would narrowly miss out in pre-qualifaction by under a tenth of a second. Mark Bird would figure out the Sebring circuit to qualify 8th in the Ford GT2, while Jasper Groeneweg would overcome some adversity to sneak in a few tenths down on Mark. (more…)