Pretend Race Car Driver

Occasional Ramblings

Season 1 Awards

Season awards as voted by the competitors.

 Highest Event Score – Jon Holman

45 points for Jon at Silverstone beat Darren’s 43 points at Donington Park, Round 1.

 

Race event of the Season – Silverstone

Three events (Donington Park, Thruxton and Silverstone) received the majority of the votes – with the action packed Silverstone finishing as favourite.

 

Driver of the Season – Darren Kirk

There were three names with multiple votes – Mark Winwood, Jon Holman and Darren Kirk. In the end, Jon and Darren tied for the result, but on closer inspection Jon had voted for himself whereas Darren hadn’t so by the smallest of margins Darren wins this.

 

Most Improved Driver – Sam Newland

Four drivers took the majority of the votes for this award, with the result being closely fought. Sam Newland finished with one vote ahead both Sanjoy, who in turn was one vote ahead of both Mark Winwood and Stephen Dye.

 

Surprising moment of the season – Sam Newland Surprise Victory at Thruxton.

70% of people voted for Sams surprise victory at Thruxton. Sanjoys 2nd place at Silverstone and Stevens 5th place both picked up 15% of the vote a piece.

 

Biggest Vehicular Bandit – Sam Newland

Four drivers were nominated but only one had 70% of the vote. Congratulations Sam.

 

Wooden Spoon Award – Sam Newland, Gary Watson and Sanjoy Chakraborty

Three drivers managed to bag double 10th places – Sam at Donington, Gary at Thruxton and Sanjoy at Brands Hatch on their debuts whilst they learned the nuances of the R8.

 

Drivers Championship

DriverNumberTeamWinsPodiumsFastest LapsTop 5RacesPoints
D. Kirk5Bandito Racing394910*154
J. Holman7Team Foxhole37288147
J. Thomas1Team Racelogic264910*130
M. Winwood3Team Yob1401010*124
S. Newland6Bandito Racing120710106
D. Fox8Team Foxhole00011064
S. Dye10Posh Stiffy Racing00011050
K. Bursnall4Team Yob0001840
S. Chakraborty11Independent0102838
O. Khan13Team Racelogic0102434
D. Cooke9Posh Stiffy Racing0000630
L. Cordell2Team Racelogic0000417
G. Watson14Posh Stiffy Racing000023
T. Hunter12Independent000000

 

Team Championship

PositionTeamWinsPodiumsFastest LapsTop 5sRacesPoints
1Bandito Racing41141610287
2Team Foxhole3721010228
3Team Racelogic2841210210
4Team Yob1401110195
5Posh Stiffy Racing00011086

 

 

Bandit Newland shocks competition with Endurance win

Bandit Newland shocks competition with Endurance win

 

The lead up to the Thruxton round was subject to much discussion. With Jon unavailable for the race despite having blistering form, a gentleman’s agreement was reached between the top four competitors (Darren, Jon, Julian and Mark) to only score their top four rounds to counter for Jon’s Diversity date. The step will not affect the rest of the standings but should provide an entertaining finale.

Talk of an elusive club, ‘the 1:09’s’ was touted heavily before the event, however during qualifying only two drivers managed to join the club, with Julian taking another pole position ahead of Mark and a resurgent Sam. Omar was 4th in the second Team Racelogic car with Darren languishing back in his lowest quali position of the year.

Race one had an entertaining battle between the top 5, with Julian taking another dominating victory in front of a hard charging Mark and Omar, with Sam narrowly missing the podium. Darren was sat behind this in 5th place but span and fell to 6th behind Sanjoy, taking his best position since starting. Dan was 7th in front of Kevin in 8th, followed by both the Posh Stiffy cars.

Race 2 started well with only Darren facing the wrong way after turn 1 after being caught out by Gary’s T1 cautiousness but managed to spin the car away from the field. Apart from the usual jockeying for position once the field has straightened out, Julian, Omar and Sam were involved in a battle for the lead, with Mark and Darren going side by side behind through Church at 150+ mph. Team Racelogic both span in the chicane

The following lap Mark was hit by technical failure and he was forced to reset and was guided back into position (albeit reporting a lap down) by a quick acting Race Control. At this point, Sam found himself in the lead with a 5 second gap to his Bandito team mate in second. Mark was behind somewhere in third with Julian/Omar 10 seconds behind in 4th and 5th. Despite one naughty straightlining of the chicane by Kevin, he finished a solid 6th after a battle with Sanjoy and Dan Fox for 7th and 8th followed by both the Posh Stiffy cars.

Interestingly, here is a screenshot of the fastest lap times by the end of the evening. Anyone with a grey background made a step forward and improved, so Julian, Sam, Mark, Sanjoy, Kevin, Dan, Steve and Gary.

 

 

Taking Dropped Rounds into account, Darren has won the Championship but the battle for second is ultra-close. Working with Excel and a prediction spreadsheet, we are anticipating a Battle Royale for third place between Julian, Mark and Jon. Silverstone will be a crucial round for the three contenders as a strong result will be required and with other drivers like Darren, Omar and Sam potentially taking big points away from the other drivers.

Bandito Racing have now what looks like an unbeatable 49-point advantage over a resurgent Team Racelogic in 2nd place, with 15 points between Racelogic in 2nd and Team Yob in 4th. Barring a major catastrophe, Silverstone is likely to see Bandito Racing taking the Team Championship trophy.

Sam has proven that practice pays off…. However what will Silverstone bring?

 

Thomas visits winners circle

The Racelogic R8 GT3 circus travelled to Dijon-Prenois for an exciting third round of the championship.

Julian qualified on pole position, a tenth clear of Darren in second and Mark in third. Despite having a slightly sluggish start, Julian was able to retain his position with careful car placement into turn 1 with Darren having to lift off the throttle out to avoid a barrier and Jon and Sam making blistering starts to be 2nd and 3rd through the first corner. Darren overtook Sam for third Mark found himself deep into the gravel in Turn 1 after ‘Posh Clutch’ Dan tagged him on the way in along with Dan Fox.

With Julian taking the lead and placing his car perfectly, Jon spent 7 laps within a second and a half from Julian but unable to overtake for the lead resulting in Julian’s and Team Racelogics first win of the season. Darren was a second behind this battle in 3rd until a death wobble around the final corner dropped him off the back of the leaders and was followed by his team mate Sam in fourth. Mark rounded out the top 5 after a strong recovery drive. Sanjoy was 6th, a vast improvement from Brands Hatch and Omar followed in 7th, leaving Dan Fox and the Posh Stiffy cars bringing up the rear.

Inverting the grid for Race 2 always provides an exciting start and it was all going so well until chaos unfolded in Gauche de la Bretelle. I have no idea what happened as I haven’t seen the replay, but I can report that both Posh Stiffy cars disappeared off into the lead, followed by myself – and there was no sign of Julian, Mark, John or Sam on my relative board at the end of lap one.  Omar was facing the wrong way at one point, Jon was tagged and on the grass and that’s as much as I know at this point.

Sam was tagged by two cars during the race judging by the screams of protests, Mark drove a brilliantly controlled race to hold Jon at bay and pushing Darren towards the end but by this point, the race was over between the top few positions and that’s how it ended with Mark 2nd, Jon 3rd, Julian following in 4th and Sam 5th. Dan Fox redeemed himself with a solid 6th, followed by Omar in 7th, Stephen Dye in 8th Dan Cooke 9th and Sanjoy bringing up the rear.

  • Julian took his first pole position and first race win.
  • Darren failed again to score a pole position.
  • There have been 4 different winners in 6 races.
  • No-one has managed to achieve both wins or both fastest laps in a race evening.
  • Sam and Sanjoy scored their highest results with a 4th and 6th place respectively.
  • Dan Cooke realised that the left pedal is the clutch not the brake.
  • Darren’s +5 luck in the second race resulted in another overall win, but the luck has to run out at some point with Julian, John and Mark closely chasing behind.
  • Sam continued his blistering starts but this time did not hit anyone in Turn 1.
  • There were no steward’s enquiries.
  • There were no screams about blue flags
  • Omar joined the series with two 7th place finishes.

With Thruxton as the next round will we see a return of Lee Cordell and Kevin Bursnall, will Darren’s luck run out and will we see another new race winner…. It’s certainly shaping up to be an exciting end to the series!

Gathering of Tweakers Endurance Series – Round 1, Sebring

After ordering new Fanatec pedals and managing to short calibrate my G27 pedals, I sat down on Friday to complete a race stint in our Corvette C7 Daytona Prototype. I was hitting the time targets set by my team mates and improving on my consistency when I spotted that my G27 steering wheel was drifting and losing its centre point – disaster!

I picked up my G27 in 2011 and I am not surprised that the optical sensor has failed after the hours of use it has had. With a race the next day, I ordered a Thrustmaster T300 GTE from Amazon with ‘guaranteed’ Saturday delivery.

T300Ferrari-1

The T300 did arrive on Saturday, unfortunately at 6:30pm in the evening – just in time for qualification. I would only be driving in the race if I had managed to run some laps beforehand. It was clear this was not going to be the case, so a strategy was put in place for Dean and LJ to complete the race.

Dean qualified the car on the front row of the grid in second place and would be starting the race. Despite falling back to third for a few laps, Dean quickly took control of the lead over the first two stints in the race. We had a scary moment involving brushing a BMW and receiving a small amount of rear wing damage, but the car was still drivable and on pace.

After two stints, our first driver swap was upon us. LJ, due to get into the car, discovered that his dog had managed to knock the USB connection to his pedals (clearly unimpressed with the Bones 4 Pablo sponsorship on the car). Plugging it back in, and reconnecting to the session, LJ jumped into the car and left the pitlane.

LJ's Dog

LJ’s Dog

Disaster struck when LJ pressed the brake pedal for turn 2 – nothing happened. Faced with a choice of hitting a race ending armco barrier, or aiming for a gap in the fence and seeing what happened – LJ managed to thread the needle and the car reset to the pitlane with no damage, albeit with a 3 minute tow time.

After the tow, Dean went back out again to try and claw back some of the time lost. LJ was then able to get back into the race but by this point, and with the quality of the competition it was unlikely we would have been able to regain the positions lost. LJ did have an incident at sunset bend which put us further back. We crossed the line 12th in class, but were promoted to 11th after the race.

The G27 will hopefully live on – I gave it to a new owner who wants to get more involved in sim racing after dipping his toe into the water. Once we’ve replaced the optical sensor, hopefully the G27 will live on for many more years.

Fanatec Clubsports

Saturday 17th October sees the start of the Gathering of Tweakers Endurance Series. Round 1 is at Sebring International Raceway and the #199 Friction Racing car will be driven by Dean Prescott, LJ Garnett and myself. Our fourth driver, Rinse Jacobs is unavailable for the event.

GES_SpotterGuide_4H_of_Sebring

Unfortunately, during Free Practice 1 I noticed that my Logitech G27 pedals are clipping heavily on the throttle and despite trying to repair the pedals, they need replacing. Every cloud has a silver lining so today I put my (pre) order in for a shiny set of Fanatec Clubsport V3 pedals.

 

fanatec-clubsport-v3-2-638x425

I’ve never used any Fanatec gear for a prolonged period of time – I never got to use the Clubsport V1 pedals I paid for previously so I’m looking forward to giving these a good go. It does mean I’ll be racing on my dodgy pedals and I am sure these will be short calibrated significantly to get through my stint at Sebring. As to when the pedals will arrive, I do not know as I had to ‘Pre-order’ – I am optimistic I’ll have them this year.

Our GES entry is an intriguing one – I’ll be driving with two of my ex-Apex teammates LJ and Dean, as well as Rinse. I do not have the one lap pace of the other drivers however as it is a team event and one run for fun – I’ve been told I can drive as slow as I want on the proviso I bring the car home in one piece.

The team have given me a target time to drive to during my stint which is obtainable even driving around my pedal issue so many laps will be driven before I get in the car at the weekend.

Friction Racing also have an HPD racing in the Neo Endurance Series – the GES bigger brother, with an intimidating line-up of fast drivers – Marcus Hamilton, Christian Tanahatoe, Tom Ward, Paul R Williams, Frederic Evers, Frank Levick and Marco Mogren. Their first race is an 8 hour battle on Sunday at Sebring,

Both races are broadcast on Racespot – I’ll update this page with the live stream links when they are available.

Brands Hatch – Race Report

Simply Race Brands Hatch Record

As I mentioned in my last post, I have always found Brands Hatch Indy to be a challenging circuit. However, in the Audi R8, I’ve found my speed increasing and I currently hold the lap record, which I managed to move another 3 tenths further forward.

Despite having a clear pace advantage, I severely struggled in qualifying finding space in the traffic to get a fast lap in – I was blocked on several laps which meant I was unable to challenge Jonathan Holman for the overall pole position.

One issue we have seen with the WCP version of Brands Hatch is the non-working light gantry for the starts. Relying purely on a set of beeps, we had several false starts before the race got underway. I momentarily fell back to 4th in the sprint race behind my team mate, before getting the inside for Druids hairpin and settling down behind Mark Winwood and Jonathan Holman. On lap 3, Winwood ran wide in clearways promoting myself to 2nd. The chase was on behind Jonathan and despite closing up I couldn’t find a decent position to really attack, so I decided to keep the pressure on. Coming out of Graham Hill on the 11th lap, John ran wide and span, gifting myself 1st place with a 5 second lead. From then on, it was a case of keeping the tyre temperatures under control and making sure I didn’t have any issues with the backmarkers, crossing the line in front of Mark, Jonathan and Julian. With Marks penalty promoting Jonathan to second the next race was going to be crucial.

Winning the sprint race gives the privilege of starting last in the endurance race. Knowing that Jonathan, Mark and Julian would all be starting ahead – I wanted to ensure that I didn’t lose too much time off the lights.

I managed to avoid the druids carnage and come out of the hairpin in 5th place, in front of all my rivals, – it was at this point disaster struck, with one of the other drivers managing to drive onto the grass, spin and collect me through Graham Hill forcing myself into a excursion across the grass and into a spin. After getting back on track, and seeing that I was about 20 seconds behind the leaders, I knew I couldn’t afford to have the others scoring vastly more points at the end.

This sparked perhaps the best race of my sim racing career, chasing down the field and eventually being within 2 seconds of the lead in third place on lap 27 out of 28, then my tyres eventually overheated enough to cause me to run wide in Paddock Hill. I would not have been able to take the victory, but to be able to come back in the race and finish behind Mark taking his well-deserved maiden victory and Julian.

Looking back at the lap times, I managed to run a series of 44 and 45 second laps through the field and also through the back markers.

Endurance Laps

Endurance Laps

Our next round is Dijon-Prenois, which I have never raced on before. I go into the race with a 9 point lead in the championship ahead of Jonathan but a bad race will close the championship up.

Sam Newland, my team mate, also improved hugely from Round 1 and finished with two 5th places – contributing towards Bandito Racing taking the Team Championship lead by 1 point.

 

You may notice another lap record set in the Scirocco R. Looking at the data, I can see at least half a second in that lap time – this was a quick practice for the Simply Race Touring Car Championship, which is run over 6 Sunday evenings starting in November. Mark Winwood and I have entered a ‘VBOX Motorsport’ team to see how we get on.

Simply Race SRTCC

Simply Race SRTCC

‘Win’Wood takes honours at Brands Hatch

Mark Winwood provided one of the unexpected surprises of the season at Brands Hatch when he took a well-deserved overall victory after finishing second in the sprint race, followed by victory in the endurance. Mark didn’t have it all his own way, as a postrace stewards panel deemed Mark to have jumped the start of the sprint and received a 10 second time penalty, forcing him down to fourth, however he showed his determination and quickly bounced back and after 28 laps crossed the finish line to take his and Team Yobs first win of the championship – followed closely by Julian Thomas.

brands

The sprint race was a tightly contended affair, with Darren Kirk coming out with the victory, followed across the line by Mark, John and Julian. After the penalty, the order changed with John second, Julian third and Mark fourth. John took the overall fastest lap. Sam made a surprise improvement to 5th place, followed by Stephen Dye with a career best 6th. With the grid inverted for race two, Sanjoy and Kevin found themselves on the front of the grid. After a smooth first corner, carnage broke out in Druids causing a lot of cars to try and claim the same piece of tarmac after some very late braking (we’ve been reliably informed that the brake was applied, albeit gently) from Lee Cordell. Going into Graham Hill, Stephen Dye took the ‘alternative’ line across the grass and span, sending Darren Kirk across the grass, into a spin and dead last, 20 seconds down on the leaders. Julian, John and Mark quickly took the top three positions after the pack and shaken out a bit. After a few lead changes between the top three, John made a mistake in Druids and was surprised to see Darren charging through the field and up to third. He would eventually catch up to within 2 seconds of the lead on lap 27, taking the fastest lap, before his tyres went through Paddock Hill but managed to hold third in front of John. Once again, Sam crossed the line in 5th place, equalling his best result with Dan Fox in 6th, Lee in 7th and Kevin in 8th. Posh Stiffy had their own battle at the back with Stephen Dye besting his stand in team mate Sanjoy after Dan Cooke decided to spend his evening in sunny Portugal with an overheated laptop.

Overall standings for the event left Mark with the victory with 38 points, with Darren with 37, Julian 34 and John with 30.

Mark Winwood

Mark Winwood

Darren extends his lead at the top of the championship to 9 points over John, with Julian and Mark within 18 points of the lead. There is a bit of a gap before the tight midfield, with just 14 points covering 5th – 10th.

Drivers Championship

DriverNumberTeamWinsPodiumsFastest LapsTop 5RacesPoints
D. Kirk5Bandito Racing394910*154
J. Holman7Team Foxhole37288147
J. Thomas1Team Racelogic264910*130
M. Winwood3Team Yob1401010*124
S. Newland6Bandito Racing120710106
D. Fox8Team Foxhole00011064
S. Dye10Posh Stiffy Racing00011050
K. Bursnall4Team Yob0001840
S. Chakraborty11Independent0102838
O. Khan13Team Racelogic0102434
D. Cooke9Posh Stiffy Racing0000630
L. Cordell2Team Racelogic0000417
G. Watson14Posh Stiffy Racing000023
T. Hunter12Independent000000

Bandito Racing overtook Team Foxhole in the Teams Standings, with just one point separating the two teams.  Team Yob and Team Racelogic find themselves only 3 points apart, with Posh Stiffy Racing bringing up the rear.

Team Championship

PositionTeamWinsPodiumsFastest LapsTop 5sRacesPoints
1Bandito Racing41141610287
2Team Foxhole3721010228
3Team Racelogic2841210210
4Team Yob1401110195
5Posh Stiffy Racing00011086

 

Fitbits & Lap Records

I’ve been keeping a close eye on the various ‘wearables’ which have appeared on the market in the past few years, but it was only this weekend I made the decision to pick up a FitBit Charge HR.

I’ve always liked the look of the Microsoft Band – especially for the Golf tracker, but as soon as social media is tied into a wearable the battery life of the band seems to rapidly decrease.

I settled for a FitBit Charge HR – firstly to persuade me to continue to remain active, and also for the Heart Rate function.

We’ve just returned from Simply Race for the practice for second round of the R8 Championship at Brands Hatch. I’ve never been a fan of Brands before, I remember having a few good results in GT3 on the full circuit on iRacing, but every time Brands came up on Race 07, I would struggle.

Not yesterday. Not only did I manage to qualify in pole position, I’ve managed to set the lap record for the Audi R8 at Brands Hatch @ Simply Race. I have no doubt this time will be shattered next week, but for now I can bask in the glory of my first ever ‘Lap Record!’

Simply Race Lap Record

Simply Race Lap Record

The quality of the competition was strong as well, with two real life racing drivers in the field – Julian Thomas (Fun Cup and Classic E-Type) and Goofy Pirro, son of Emanuele Pirro (ex F1 driver and 5 time Le Mans 24-hour winner.)

I did record my heart race for the race we did at the end, it peaked at 121bpm during the start, but dropped to about 80 throughout the race.

Heart Rate

Heart Rate

I’m pretty certain this will never happen again, so I’m going to make the most of it. However it is next week where it all counts and I’m expecting a strong challenge from Jonathan, Julian and Mark who are just behind me in the championship.

The early days – Forza Motorsport

In my hunt for various mediocre statistics from my online exploits I found some previously unpublished photos saved to the Forza Motorsport cloud.

I have gigabytes of data from the last few years of sim racing, so I am going to sort out publishing some of it here, as well as the contents of various spreadsheets, google docs and forum posts of anything that may be of interest, and probably lots that isn’t.

I had played some Forza Motorsport 2 online during the early days of the Xbox 360, but FM3 was the first time I tried to organise a race night for the Apex Racing League.

I bumped into a friendly dutchman in an online hopper, called StubbornGymnast, who despite not talking, enjoyed a few races side by side and ended up racing together most times when we were both online. After hosting a few open lobbies, further people came along and turned up, eventually with Sunday evenings filled with 3/4 hours of close intense racing.

All of the Forza Motorsport 3 photos are from early Subaru 22b and Mitsubishi Evo 10 race nights, with due to the 4wd nature of the cars allowed for close and intense racing with rarely anyone breaking out into the lead.

These early days had very few written rules but the format worked well with a full lobby.

 

ARL NSX

ARL NSX

 

''Gamepod Forza Twingo"

”Gamepod Forza Twingo”

 

Ev X in Blue

Evo X in Blue

 

Sauber Themed Subaru 22b

Sauber Themed Subaru 22b

 

Sauber Themed Subaru 22b

Sauber Themed Subaru 22b

 

Sauber Themed Subaru 22b

Sauber Themed Subaru 22b

 

Evo X

Evo X

 

Veyron Long Jump

Veyron Long Jump

How To: Enable God Mode on Windows

Ever heard of a God Mode in Windows?

 

Windows God Mode

Windows God Mode

But what does it contain?

Windows God Mode

Windows God Mode

Alphabetical, quick and easy access to many common Windows Settings!

 

And how can I get it?

I’ve only tested this on Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10 – but it worked on all.

Create a folder on your C:\ drive and rename it to the following:

GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}

 

The folder will then morph into your new God Mode folder.