Great success for Torque Freak Racing at the 6 Hours of Sebring

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 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.