Decent GES opening for Torque Freak Racing in the 4 Hours of Road America

The inaugural round of the 2016/17 GES Championship ended with a bitter-sweet 5th place in the Proto class for our TFR Sunset team of Jake Robson and Pedro van Baelen. And a tough 10th position in the GTC class for our TFR Raidillon team of Phil Roberts and James Ewens, with spotting help from Team Manager Sascha Lamp.lharjpy

Qualifying was a mixed affair with TFR Sunset qualifying in 5th, 5 tenths away from the pole sitter, Thrustmaster Mivano. Jake felt he nailed both laps and was pleased with his position on the grid, however couldn’t help but feel there was still some time to gain on the rest of the field.

The C-Spec of TFR Raidillon on the other hand ended up qualifying last in their class, 5 tenths away from the next car, James was disappointed but was confident to gain speed in the race.

The race started quite interestingly for the C7 DP, with Jake having to take evasive action leaving him millimetres away from both another DP and the pitwall after the polesitting Thrustmaster Mivano Corvette didn’t go on the green flag. After lap 1 Jake already made his way up into 3rd place following closely behind Simracing for Holland. After both Mivano and SimRC received penalties, a lot of pressure was taken off Jake, who was then able to battle with the SFH car for 2nd place.

Meanwhile, James in the Ruf C-Spec ran at the back of the GTC field, finding his rhythm and keeping out of trouble.

Briefly, Jake was able to get by the Dutch C7 DP with a quick pitstop, however made a mistake at turn 8 which handed the position back to them. Simracing for Holland soon after had a spin coming out of the penultimate corner, resulting in some damage on their car although they were still able to maintain position. Whilst all of this was happening Backmarker Racing with Niklas Hjelm were running away with a 20+ second gap from the battle behind them.

During James’ second stint, the SFH Corvette had an incident in traffic that caused them some more damage, whilst forcing James’ C-Spec into a spin. GES race control ruled it as a race incident, and both cars were able to continue, even though it cost James his 11th place.

With SFH now having aero damage, Jake decided to try and make a move on the Start/Finish straight. With the TFR Sunset DP now having a clear speed advantage it seemed like an easy pass, however the current driver of the SFH DP, Dennis Douna, made a move to block Jake’s passing attempt, resulting in them being given a drive through penalty for blocking.

James handed the C-Spec over to Phil for the final 3 stints. Phil quickly got into his grove and made some consistent lap times to move the TFR Raidillon Ruf back into 11th position again.

TFR Sunset now found themselves in 2nd, with hunting them down. The Austro-German team however were to suffer a spin coming through the penultimate corner resulting in a big loss of time.

After a stellar triple stint, Jake jumped out of the Corvette, handing over to Pedro for the final stretch of the race. During a fairly uneventful first stint for Pedro in the TFR Corvette C7 Daytona Prototype he pulled a gap of around 15 seconds to and their driver, Christoph Weitz. Pedro and Jake were looking set for an amazing 2nd place finish.

However heartbreak struck as the slow and damaged GT3 car of Black Adder Motorsport #266 was breaking into turn 8, Pedro misjudged the damaged cars speed and received a light front end contact. Due to the damage Pedro then made the same mistake Jake did coming out of Turn 8, however this time resulting in contact with the #323 C-Spec of Team Buchfink Racing Blue, putting Pedro into the tire barrier and causing some more damage.

The damage seemed to be slowing down the car significantly, with Pedro having to defend his positions aggressively, but sadly the other cars were too fast. With TFR Sunset being overtaken by SimRC, Mivano and SFH they found themselves back in P5, where they started the race.

Phil’s first stint in the TFR Raidillon Ruf was relatively uneventful and except for losing the iRacing spotter (a situation that would occur to the sister team in NEO the day after), the C Spec was running well. This all changed with 30 minutes to go when Phil had a spin in turn 1 and collected the Apex Academy C7 DP. With more cars piling into the melee, not slowing down sufficiently for the yellow flags, this ended up with the biggest crash of the 4 hour event. With some repair time Phil managed to get the C Spec back out on track and finished in 10th place.

The DP of TFR Sunset of Jake and Pedro would hang onto its position until the end of the race to secure a solid 11 points, keeping their championship hopes alive. At the end, both of them were still satisfied with the race even after the issues and heartbreak. They are now looking forward to the 3 Hours of Imola, this time planning to play a much bigger role in the fight for the overall victory.

d6gt1ekPhil and James of TFR Raidillon were both disappointed with their 10th place. But considering lots of scheduling issues which caused them to have to drive without the support of Team Manager Georg Gruber, and backup driver David Barraclough, a top 10 result was not bad in the end. The C-Spec team is looking forward to having Georg in the car, who will be racing hard with a vengeance at Imola.

Congratulations to all class winners, Pure Racing Team in GT3, and our friends of SIMRC and Team Buschfink Racing in Proto and GTC.

Thanks from the whole Torque Freak Racing Organisation go out to the Gathering of Tweakers team around Nick Thissen and Joep Willemsen for organizing this amazing series.