Friday night seen the TORA Formula E gaggle of teams and drivers head to the Rio Coast for round three of the exciting electric powered championship. VPR drivers AnonCaliga, Select Veepz and Nutter aiming to add further points to the team collection took to the qualifying session which seen Select Veepz setting the top qualifying time for the Virtual Pirtek Racing team trio with a best lap time of 0:47.609 placing him second on the starting grid in lobby A for the main event. Team driver Nutter pushed in a qualification lap time of 0:47.997 placing his VPR car 5th on the lobby A starting grid and finally team driver/owner AnonCaliga placed 15th on the lobby A starting grid after setting a qualification lap time of 0:48.816.
The main race event in lobby A recorded delays whilst one driver on the grid complained about steering wheel issues and also asked for a delayed start time to allow his team mate to appear on grid. Finally once the race did get under way it was soon halted again for restarts due to collisions at the top end of the field and once again for issues with one driver in the pack having steering wheel issues. A final restart and within minutes several drivers made contact allowing lower placed drivers in the lobby, AnonCaliga being one, to take advantage of positions being lost by other drivers and to make up valuable positions. A fierce battle raged throughout the later part of the race between VPR driver Select Veepz in second position and the pack pole sitter. Select Veepz chased down the lead race driver for most of the race matching lap time after lap time until the mandatory pit stops came into play from lap ten onwards. Meanwhile VPR driver three FAA xXNutterXx struggled with balance issues and the occasional avoiding manoeuvre due to accidents by other cars ahead of him who ploughed into tyre and wall barriers which caused several corners of the track to become blocked and heard lobby drivers calling for a pace car to help rectify the issue. Team driver AnonCaliga meanwhile took a mid race pitstop and managed to pass several drivers to then move his team car up into seventh position after having a fun chase, pass, chase battle with the Benedict Racing team owner.
A defining moment of the race came quite late with several laps remaining Select Veepz leading the race and AnonCaliga in fifth position until the second place lobby driver from another team rammed AnonCaliga’s car to pass which was the second time within the race the same driver involved had resorted to this course of action in hope of catching Select Veepz, however this time AnonCaliga was pushed into a barrier which caused severe front suspension damage and causing him to fall down to fifteenth position after a pitting for repairs, the driver who caused the damage to AnonCaliga’s VPR car later claimed, wrongly, that he was being ‘Brake Checked’ by AnonCaliga.
Finally the flag came down on the TORA Formula E round three race at Rio Coast and celebrations began immediately at Virtual Pirtek Racing as Select Veepz placed first and claimed the teams first ever top step podium win with Nutter placing thirteenth and AnonCaliga limping across the line in fifteenth place. The Virtual Pirtek Racing media team spoke to VPR team owner/driver AnonCaliga the following day to ask him about the previous nights events.
A VPR maiden win and in an electric car of all things, how do you feel?
“Indeed, we’ve had numerous 2nd place finishes, several 3rd place finishes on various race organising websites since the CTech Motorsport team was established in 2012 but never a top podium place finish and finally that monkey is off our back at last. It doesn't matter if its electric powered, petrol or even steam powered, even though steam powered isn’t possible on FM6, a win is a win and that was an outright, clear cut, raced to the line win by Veepz. We’re all stupendously happy and proud for Veepz right now and the fact that this is a first ever win for CTech Motorsport but more so for our officially sponsored Virtual Pirtek Racing team.”
How do you feel now looking back on last night’s race antics that caused you to drop back down the field after such a progressive climb through the field to fifth place at one point?
“You know I was fuming last night, it was all bitter sweet, in one hand the team had Veepz secure a well deserved win but on the other hand we had me working my way quietly through the field, with a killer tune may I add by our new team tuner/driver Nutter, only to be purposely smashed into on two occasions by the same driver from another team who simply wanted to catch Veepz but couldn't match Veepz pace and so resorted to illegal tactics in attempt to catching Veepz, had it not been the fact that the team was so happy at Veepz taking the win then I’ve no doubt we would have taken the matter further with race stewards at TORA regarding the driver who cost me a 5th place finishing position. The entire lobby participants told the driver to stop crying after the race, it was terrible, it was like listening to a little child crying over a lost toy and it has now transpired that the driver involved is clearly a very, very bad loser, everyone has now seen this, he became quite verbal on Twitter afterwards claiming one VPR team driver had ‘Brake Tested’ him and another VPR driver had ‘Crashed Into’ him to aid Veepz race win, which is absolute nonsense as there is NO way we would be risking our then 5th place possible race finishing position, the guy is nuts, obsessed and obviously his claims are very inaccurate, unfounded and childish and further proof that he is pretty poor at taking a loss, although he did place 2nd in the race I believe so I don't understand what his issue is really.”
You mentioned VPR’s new team tuner/driver, any feedback?
“FAA xXNutterXx is indeed the new Virtual Pirtek Racing tuner, latest addition to the VPR family and driver line up. Look, he has told me himself he struggled in that race with balance issues, now we haven’t looked into that in detail but it is what it is. I’ve personally witnessed Nutter and Veepz match each other in pace, race side by side in private team practice and test sessions, Nutter kills it during team test sessions, he creates superb tuning setups for the team and does well in the qualifying sessions but at the minute it just hasn’t all came together for him in the main events so far and thats not through lack of trying but I've absolutely no doubt it will all click together for him soon and once that ice is broken there will be no stopping him. The guy is a credit to the team, all the drivers love him, you guys at back of house love him and he doesn’t shy away from putting the time in and he’s always asking if we need adjustments to the tuning and checking if the drivers are happy with the performance of his latest creations, I cant, we cant find fault with the guy and look forward to the very near future when he’s battling up front with Veepz for podiums, ha just as long as they don’t take each other out.”
Finally on the Formula E topic, overall what do you think about the team progress so far?
“I mentioned above about how it will all come together real soon for Nutter, but I just wish it would for me also ha. I’ve suffered, as you know, with pains in my wrist since fracturing it several months ago and it's stopping me getting back onto the wheel setup, not an excuse of course but I know I can shave 2 maybe 3 seconds off my best times if I could just manage the wheel setup again, I’ve tried the wheel recently and it was agony trying to turn and pull gears, I doubt I’ll be back on the wheel setup again anytime soon.
Veepz, what can I say really, the guy is laid back, quiet, chilled, relaxed, in fact if he was any more laid back he’d be horizontal. Veepz will always be the last to log on for team testing, last to be ready for on track time, we’ll always find ourselves laughing and joking about waiting those extra few minutes for him during team test sessions for him to ready up but when he gets on the virtual black stuff he dedicates himself for the entire session and nails it consistently every lap. If it wasn’t for Veepz relaxed approach to everything then I think he wouldn’t be the fun character he is, we’re all proud of him and his funny ways and I guarantee he will be a threat to any Formula E contender for the remaining of the series.
Nutter, like I said is our latest edition to the team and actually a last minute decision by me as we weren’t accepting any further team drivers at the point when the media team guys heard from him one day. I still reckon he’s building up to something big and simply waiting his time, he’s a sheep in wolf clothing who at some point is going to make a stealth attack and surprise us all in a big way, that I’m totally certain of. The team tunes he’s knocking out ahead of each race event are super fast and every one of them so far have been flawless, course he could create even faster tunes but that would take away from car stability on some occasions and I personally prefer a slower but dialled in setup than a blistering fast, unstable car that just won’t hook into corners. I will say this, Nutter has the unique skill and technique of tuning on Forza mastered and thats without any doubt, it was Nutter's tuning that partially aided Veepz taking the round 3 win last night. Lots of people can and have claimed they can tune on Forza but only a small amount of people truly, truly can, Nutter is one of that minority and a highly valuable and respected addition to team VPR.”
Now a final question regarding Virtual Pirtek Racing taking part in the season finale of the TORA TCC series, what was the thinking and reasoning behind this decision?
“Yea thats a tricky one to be honest. VPR was originally registered to take part in this series as an independent since round 1 but due to TORA banning the number 5 Honda Civic which we had invested a large amount of time into through tuning and creating the season livery for we then couldn't find the time to ready the number 2 Honda Civic in time for the series start and then with VPR commitments on another race organising site to participate in another form of racing things simply got confused and it wasn’t possible to continue the idea of participating in the full TORA TCC season. As for why we have come back to this TORA TCC series for the final round of the season was more for the reason of fact gathering so we could see how the WTCC civic performed in this sort of touring car series as this is the first time Forza Motorsport have included WTCC and BTCC cars into the game and going by the amazing progress throughout the TCC season by team CQR in the Honda Civic it seems the japanese pocket rocket is a great car choice for the series. VPR as you know were and are committed to growing further and as we signed Veepz and Nutter during the TCC season I also felt entering the final rounds of the TCC series would be an experience for them and a break from the Formula E format. Hey its like this, we aren’t going into the final races of the TORA TCC hell bent on taking wins or points from anyone, thats not our plan or intention but that said we don’t intend to move over and let everyone past either and if points do become a playing factor then of course we’ll pocket them like any other serious competing team and drivers would do.”
The next round of TORA Formula E will be Round 4 held at Brands Hatch Indy circuit on 26th Feb, meanwhile the season finale of the TORA TCC championship will be held at Brands Hatch GP circuit tomorrow night (Tuesday 2nd) from 8pm GMT.