The 12 hours of Donington Park was a race to remember for the championship, as the previous round’s Aston Martin domination was nowhere to be seen. With the Astons struggling, this gave the series underdogs a chance to score big points and get their championship fight back on track.
Right from the start, it was clear that every team and driver was looking to capitalise at this track, as into the first few turns a huge accident occurred, sending the midfield into disarray. Whether you could capitalise or recover would be the rewarding factor, which is always sure to cause some more sparks to fly…
|#62 G2 Esports||1st|
|#111 DV1 TRITON Racing||2nd|
|#32 GTWR R8G Academy||3rd|
1st: #62 G2 Esports
Round two of the world cup saw the #62 G2 Esports team claim victory in their BMW M6 GT3. The drive that took them to victory was one that could only be described as almost faultless in every sense. The team’s previous outings in the SimGrid x VCO World Cup have been plagued with technical faults and unfortunate incidents, but this time around, they kept things consistent.
The G2 Esports team started their race at the fringes of the top ten, down in ninth, but got off to a great start, as through all of the first lap carnage they managed to stay on the track and climb to seventh place. Shortly after, their BMW managed to power its way past the #149 Yas Heat Mclaren to claim sixth place. In addition, the #123 FFS Racing car began to drop back due to their success ballast from the previous round at Spa, now placing the G2 Esports BMW into fifth.
As the race progressed, the #62 G2 Esports team managed to climb further up the order, with the team taking second place only two hours into the race. From here, the battle with the #149 Yas Heat Mclaren continued and looked to be the main contenders for the race win. However, disaster struck for the #149 Mclaren as they made contact with another team, handing first place to the #62 G2 Esports BMW.
From here, the #62 G2 Esports team were untouchable and led the race until the end. A fine performance by the G2 Esports team put them back into championship contention, but also to Kyalami with the maximum success ballast.
2nd: #111 DV1 TRITON Racing
The #111 DV1 TRITON Racing Bentley came home with their second top-three finish of the season, after winning the opening round at Bathurst. The #111 Bentley had a great start to the weekend, qualifying in third place, which became key to avoiding the carnage behind.
The opening stint of the race began well for the #111 Bentley, with them securing second place and breathing down the neck of the #11 Griphax Engineering Mercedes, who held first place in the first phase of the race. The pressure and patience of the #111 Bentley finally came good, with an unforced error from the #11 Mercedes relinquishing the lead. However, this was short-lived, as the #11 Bentley made a mistake of their own, going off track and handing back the lead to the #11 Mercedes.
For the rest of the race, the #111 remained fairly stable within the top five spots. The team did receive some penalties, but their consistent driving reduced the overall impact, allowing them to stay in contention. This effort came back to repay the team tenfold with both the #149 Yas Heat and #157 GTWR R8G Academy teams disconnecting from the race, placing the #111 DV1 TRITON Racing Bentley into the second spot on the podium. The team managed to keep it clean for the remaining hours of the race taking, them home to their second top three of the season.
3rd: #32 GTWR R8G Academy
The #32 GTWR R8G Academy Ferrari was certainly a team that was looking for some better results than previous rounds, and they sure did capitalise on the beneficial BoP and others’ misfortune. The team started the weekend well with a seventh-place qualifying spot.
The start of the race was a very fortunate one for the team, as they managed to be one of the few capitalising from the turn one incident, and jumped them up to fifth place. The mistakes early on from the #111 Bentley and the #123 Aston then allowed the team to jump their way to the third podium spot.
From here on out, the #32 Ferrari bounced around the top six spots but never lost touch with the others. The team continued through the race with great consistency, which in the end, came to be their success. The disconnects from #149 Yas Heat and the sister #157 Audi gave the #32 GTWR R8G Academy Ferrari that final podium spot. The #32 Ferrari is now within the top ten, making them the leading GTWR R8G Academy team.
What the winners had to say
After the race finished, the G2 Esports team were ecstatic, as expected, with their win at Donington Park. The race couldn’t have been better described than by Nils Naujoks who said they were “super happy” and “that was the first race where literally nothing went wrong”.
Despite the excitement when asked if the team could keep this sort of form up for the rest of the season, Nils was quick to bring everyone back to the reality of the situation. He summed up the rest of their season’s expectation with “we have to be honest, in the end, we think it’s down to the BoP and at Donington, we knew the BMW was strong. We take this win of the series and will have to live with the other results as they come.”
One of the most excited drivers in the team was for sure Gregor Schill, who made a brilliant tribute to everyone’s favourite Australian F1 driver, performing the infamous ‘shoey’ for all on the live stream. For most, it would be difficult to stomach drinking from your shoe, but a clearly delighted Gregor went on to describe that to him it just “smells and tastes like victory”.
As was his teammates, Gregor was quick to bring it back to reality, highlighting how great it was to win but “Kaylami will be a struggle, with an additional weight penalty”.
To end their interview on a high, Arthur Kammerer made it clear to all that the team was flawless going on to say that during the whole race “there was just one way and that was forward”.
A Race of Attrition
It was clear that at Donington the Aston dominance was no more, and this only gave the rest of the field that opportunity to ensure they stay in the fight before crossing the midpoint of the season.
One of the stand out cars of the race was the #1 PPR Esports Porsche, which showed us all that it’s not just the car that makes the race. The team certainly came into the world cup without the best car on the grid and getting top-flight results would be a challenge. However, here at Donington, the team and the Porsche just clicked. Starting the race down in thirteenth was always going to be a tricky one, however, the team took their car slowly but surely through the field, climbing into the top ten within the first third of the race. But as mentioned, with the unfavourable car, the team was hunted down in the closing stages of the race and eventually came home to finish in 12th. This result is nothing to discount, as this has been the highest placed finish yet for any Porsche this season.
Another team that put on one of their best races to date was the #92 Triple A Esports team. As was known to all due to the success of the Astons last round, many carried an abundance of success ballast into an already unfavourable track for the car. This clearly was taken to the Triple A Esports team as a challenge that wasn’t to phase them, who came home to finish the race in eleventh, starting down out of the top twenty. This was no easy task; it was a slow and steady race for the team, climbing a few positions each hour. The team looked to be on for a top ten finish, but a late-race drive-through sent them back to the fringes of the top ten. However, the team should be one to watch as the season continues to more favourable tracks for the Aston Martin.
One of the cars that definitely had an edge over the others was the 720s Mclarens, and the #77 PRIME eRacing Mclaren made that known. Qualifying was one certainly to forget for the team, starting down in fourteenth place, but forget they did and came into the race looking hungry and eager to get going. With this excitement, they were one team caught in the turn one incident which sent them down to the bottom twenty. Despite this setback, the team kept their eyes forward and certainly made a spectacular comeback. After the first two hours, the team was back into the top ten, showing the raw pace the team and car had. This just continued in the latter half, with the #77 PRIME eRacing team taking every chance they got. They came home at the end of the day to finish their season-best result of fifth place.
Who Missed Out?
As with any race, there are winners and losers, and sometimes luck just doesn’t fall your way. One team that looked like they could have taken control of the race in the early stages was the #11 Griphax Engineering Mercedes.
At the start of the race, the #11 Mercedes looked to be in complete control of the race, leading out in front and dictating the pace. But as time went on, the pressure appeared to start to take a grasp of the team and mistakes started to creep in. This led to the team dropping out of the top five and it seemed they couldn’t find that early race performance that looked so promising. The #11 Griphax Engineering team still came home in ninth position, which was their best race this season, but I think we all wondered what could have been.
One of the more dramatic disasters of the race was from the #149 Yas Heat Mclaren. The team had been looking strong all weekend, with great qualifying and then throughout the race being on pace with the leading group. The #149 Mclaren took the lead at points of the race despite suffering some contact setting them back a few spots. However, despite all the hard work they put in, the team was struck with the worst technical fault of them all. A disconnect took the team from one of the top spots to almost the bottom of the field. The #149 Yas Heat team managed to jump back to the thirteenth spot, but will not be happy as the win looked in their grasp.
What’s next for the SimGrid x VCO World Cup?
The SimGrid x VCO World Cup 12h of Donington Park was certainly a dramatic race, mixing up the championship standings going into the latter half of the season. The top ten are only separated by seventy-five points, so all is still up for grabs with two rounds still to go.
As with each round this season, the top fifteen teams will be subject to success ballast to ensure that a competitive balance between all the teams is achieved. As we saw, many of the Aston Martins were out of the top fifteen this round. but they will be ones to watch moving into round four at Kyalami. Expect the solo Honda NSX to put on a great show at the next round also, with it being one of the best at the South African circuit.
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