On the evening of Sunday 27th March TORA held round three of the Base Performance Simulators Production GT at Hockenheimring, this round would be the last chance for teams and drivers to maximise their points standings within the championship before the teams competing broke off for the Easter break of this six round series.
Virtual Pirtek Racing went into this round still occupying top place in the team standings and with their target set on scoring a full bank of points to see them securely stay on the top step until after the Easter break at the next round on April 17th, however things didn’t fully go to plan for team VPR as they had in team testing pre race.
In qualifying, team principal AnonCaliga could only manage an 11th place grid position in lobby two after putting in a disappointing qualifying time of 1:51.469 which was a far step back from his late 1:47’s and 48’s that he had been putting in during private testing before the race. Next up for team VPR was Nutter who qualified 11th place on the grid in lobby one after he set a time of 1:46.656 which again was considerably slower than that which Nutter had been setting during private testing and team practice. Finally, it was Select Veepz to qualify and although once again slightly slower than his personal best lap time set during team practice and testing Veepz did however set the best lap time out of the VPR trio by setting a 1:46.512 placing him in 9th position on the grid for race one start in lobby one.
Race one was the usual battle for Veepz and Nutter in lobby one with competing faster cars and slower cars, which considering turned out to be a pretty quiet race for the two VPR drivers. AnonCaliga in lobby two also had a pretty eventless first race apart from a couple of minor collisions by some overly eager opposing drivers that caused minor to medium damage to Anon’s Pirtek BMW M4.
Race results came in and by the end of the first race of round three it was Veepz who came out best for Virtual Pirtek Racing with a 5th place finishing position scoring him 121 points to add to the team pot. Nutter finished in 11th position from where he started the race, although many higher positions were held by him during the race but after the second of two mandatory pit stops Nutter found himself up against cars better suited for pit strategy at Hockenheim than that of our VPR BMW’s, nevertheless Nutter collected a worthy 115 points for the team. AnonCaliga took a step back from his original grid starting position finishing 12th after having to add an extra, but unscheduled, pit stop to his plans to repair damage to his steering caused by another driver, Anon brought home 97 points for his finishing position.
The final race of this round would see all drivers on grid starting race two in the positions they finished race one which immediately put Veepz in the higher points scoring position for the team starting in 5th position, Nutter started 11th and Anon 12th on his lobby grid. The race for Anon was to be immediately a disappointment, by lap two he had once again incurred damage to his BMW M4 caused by two further drivers out braking themselves and colliding with his car. Later, toward the final laps of race two Anon found himself once again with damage to his car when one of the same drivers who collided with his VPR BMW earlier in the race again came into contact with Anon whilst battling for position, however this particular battle would later see a steward’s inquiry being launched by team VPR, the outcome of which has yet to be decided on by the stewarding team. Anon took 103 points for his 10th place lobby finishing position.
Things weren’t at all much better for Veepz and Nutter in lobby one as just three laps before the end of the race and holding 2nd place in his lobby Nutter ran out of fuel. Sadly, too far away from the pits to be able to coast his car back for refuelling Nutter claimed his first ever DNF since joining Virtual Pirtek Racing although he did however collect DNF points which added a further 96 points to the team tally.
To add further insult to injury for team Virtual Pirtek Racing Veepz also fell victim to a DNF but the cause of his non finish was more internet connection issues than car related, Veepz unfortunately lagged out of his lobby just one lap after Nutter on lap 18 where he had reportedly been holding 5th position until losing connection with the server. DNF points also claimed by Veepz added a further 98 points to the team end of race tally. In total after race one and two had been completed the VPR team mates brought home a total of 630 points between them to add to the team scoreboard and although this round has so far been the worst round for the team, Virtual Pirtek Racing still hold the number one spot on the TORA Production GT team standings.
On Monday, earlier this week, the VPR Media team felt that team principal Anon by now would have got over the previous night’s race upset that we were daring enough to ask him for a response. He had this to say:
How do I feel, I feel we could have done better as a team but I personally could have done much better if not for a couple of competing drivers racing beyond their capability which caused me damage to my car and loss of places, hey it is what it is and we just look forward to getting back onto the virtual black stuff for round four next month. Our two guys Veepz and Nutter both know they were slightly slower than what they had been during private test sessions on the lead up to this round but to be honest, we as a team, I, couldn’t ask more from them. Veepz and Nutter, lets be truthful, are working with a car that’s not the fastest on track, isn’t the best handling nor is it any lightweight but they both do a tremendous job with what they’ve got to work with, helped of course by Nutter who is the team master tuner now as well as team driver.
It was unfortunate that Veepz lagged out in race two, can’t be helped, it happens to us all and no doubt somewhere down the line it will happen again but no matter what he brought points back and that’s what is important. Nutter, got to feel for the guy to be sitting second place and three laps before the end of the race you run out of fuel, annoying is an understatement.
I don’t yet know the reason how or why exactly Nutter came to get so low and run out of fuel particularly as fuel in this car is something we, as a team, have regularly spoken about and keep tabs on during each race but at the same time I’m not angry at all about it as I’ve done the very same thing myself whilst in third position back in round one of this series and that was just a few corners before the end of the race. I think you just keep telling yourself, “yeah there’s enough fuel to get me across that line” but as we have all found out now at VPR, there’s never enough even when you think there’s enough!
We’re looking forward to round four after these short few weeks break and heading to Monza Italy. Early indications tell us the car, the VPR BMW M4 likes this circuit but like everything we just have to wait until the lights go out to see how accurate our info is and to see what the other teams have brought to the table.
So while we’re all on a few weeks mid series break I’m personally looking forward to the start of the real world BTCC season and seeing our official sponsor, Pirtek UK / Pirtek Racing doing well in the new Motorbase Ford Focus at the first round of the 2016 BTCC season at Brands Hatch this weekend.
Round 4, Monza, Race 1 & 2 Of The TORA Base Performance Simulators Production GT Gets Underway On Sunday April 17th At 8pm (UK) & You Can Watch Both Races Live From On-board One Of The Virtual Pirtek Racing BMW’s By Visiting & Following Our Official Twitch Channel At: www.twitch.tv/ctechmotorsport
Alternatively, You May Also Watch A Live Stream Of The Round Four Races From 8pm On Sunday April 17th On This Very Website By Clicking On The ‘Video’ Tab Found On The Navigation Menu Above.