Two teams, two races, two wins in their respective classes. Veloce VEXT (GT3) and Absolute Motorsport Acelith (GT4) won the 6 Hours of Watkins Glen, the second round of the SimGrid x VCO Grand Finals, sending a message to all the competitors: they need to step up if they want to have a chance to challenge them in the fight for the championship.
Veloce win a tense battle of nerves with Unicorns of Love
Veloce VEXT had the perfect race weekend, completing the traditional hat trick: pole position, fastest lap and final win. But it wasn’t as easy as one could think for the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo #55. More than 50 cars divided in two classes racing at the Glen always means chaos. The tight American track requires top-class traffic management skills and the Veloce crew definitely mastered them.
At the start of the race, Aidan Walsingham put himself in a favourable position by defending his lead and managing to pull away from the rest of the field. Behind him, Unicorns of Love quickly emerged as their biggest competitor for the final win. Following a start from third place, Lars Kisser put Cody Sherratt (Genisus Esports) under pressure. After the overtake, the Unicorns of Love racer put together some impressive lap times to significantly cut down the gap from the leading car.
The two teams were separated by a gap ranging between 5 and 20 seconds for the vast majority of the race, and at the midpoint, Kisser looked faster than Grantas Kareckas. But a 5-second penalty reduced the hope for a comeback drive and Kareckas could take the chequered flag in first for the second time in two races.
Battles and penalties across the GT3 field
Genisus Esports won the ‘best of the rest’ race by finishing in third and making it an all-Lamborghini podium. The Italian Job – ITJ Setups ended in fourth place just behind – a much-deserved result for their performance. In fact, Erik Del Fante, Antonino Schirò and Carlo D’Elia were often framed by the broadcast cameras fighting hard with other cars around them, in particular with the #27 SDL-eSports.com and the #858 Absolute RES-TECH by Acelith.
The Tomas Enge Sim Racing entry rounded up the GT3 top five, giving consistency to their campaign after finishing P6 in the opening round – a spot occupied by Wippermann Racing at the Glen after a disappointing first race. Rocket Simsport ended in seventh despite showing promising pace throughout the six hours as a couple of penalties massively halted their progress.
Taking a look at the overall standings, the podium finishers from the Glen occupy the first three spots. Veloce (124) have a solid 24-point lead over Unicorns of Love (100). Thanks to their podium finish in the States, Genisus Esports (82) jumps ahead of Tomas Enge Sim Racing (76) and Rocket Simsport (72).
Absolute Motorsport dominate Round 2 in GT4
Michael Romagnoli, Michele Perrella and Mattia Zampedri took the chequered flag first in the GT4 class in a race in which their lead was never in discussion. They missed the fastest lap of the class, but that stat is academic – with two wins in two races, they now have a commanding lead in the standings with their closest competitors trailing by 24 and 30 points. But judging by what happened at the Glen, we can be sure that those two competitors will put a stern challenge fight for the championship. In fact, they gave life to a breathtaking duel for the second spot, which ended only when there were a few minutes left on the race clock.
Apex One #10 qualified in P7 and fell outside the top ten in the early stages of Round 2. But the potential for a comeback was there and it showed after the first pit stop, when Krzysztof Maczkowski found himself in P3, right behind Motor Sharks Esports.
The Alpine #10 car lost some ground and even a position when Samuele Villa (driving the Glitch Motorsport #117) overtook him, giving life to a tense fight for P2 with Motor Sharks Esports until the latter had to retire from the race.
It was then Apex One who came back to challenge the #117 driven by Oscar Tringale in the final stint, but when Chris Warner looked ready to attack, contact between Tringale and a GT3 runner robbed us of an entertaining fight for P2 to light up the end of the race. A shame for the viewers, but a pure gift for Apex One, who went on and claim the second spot just ahead of Glitch Motorsport.
Following 6 tense hours of racing, on Saturday 9th December, The SimGrid x VCO Grand Finals teams will return for 3 more hours on a track still to be decided by public vote. Will we see another win from Veloce and Absolute Motorsport, or will another team step up? Make sure to subscribe to the SimGrid YouTube channel and tune in on race day!
Banner image credit: VCO Esports