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Pro GT - Round 1 Report

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Pro GT - Round 1 Report Empty Pro GT - Round 1 Report

Qualifying Results: 15
Race Result: 10
Race Time:: 345 min 45
Fastest lap: 2:01.749 (Hayden Thompson, Stint 2)
Drivers: Sam Evans (exp1osive sam) Alex Davis-Loades (Speed Demon 64) Hayden Thompson (HaydieT)
Car: BMW M3 GT2

As has seemingly become customary for RaceART Competition in endurance races lately, the week of the race started with drama. RaceART had managed to secure the services of two big names on TORA, Hayden Thompson and Will Hinds. Both are fast drivers and could help to put the team towards the front of what promised to be an ultra-competitive grid. However, despite numerous attempts to contact the two drivers during the week, neither would respond, leaving huge doubts as to whether they would be racing or not. It wasn't until the Friday evening before the race that Thompson had confirmed that he would be racing, a huge relief for the team. However, team manager Sam Evans felt he could not wait for Hinds too, and so he was dropped, with Evans himself as the replacement, alongside RaceART regular Alex Davis-Loades in what was a strong driver line-up ahead of the race.

Only Davis-Loades could qualify for the team, and did so on Tuesday evening. He set a competitive time, but wasn't entirely happy. "I tried my best, but I felt there was more in it from me. Qualifying went ok, but I could have done a better lap." RaceART therefore lined-up 15th on a 21 car grid, leaving them in the midfield area, a position where they could attack and move forward from.

It was Evans, who threw himself into the team at the last minute, that took the start of the race for the first stint. RaceART were positioned in 5th place in Lobby B, but with the live lobby rule that was in place, everyone knew that they could move up into Lobby A if results went their way. At the race start, Evans made up two positions straight away, first out-dragging the Extreme GT BMW as the lights went out. He then made a very bold move around the outside of Carlos Pittman in the Team VGHS car at turn 3, and made it stick. He quickly caught onto the back of Adam Watson and Tom Maynard, but struggled to get past, sticking behind for 15 laps.

Evans then had to come in for his pit stop earlier than anticipated, after striking Curtis Dunn's Harsh Probe Racing Corvette while attempting to lap him. He left the pits back in 5th position, but with everyone ahead having to make their mandatory stop. Evans quickly caught back up to Carlos Pittman and re-passed him with a similarly ambitious manouvre, this time around the outside of turn 21 at the end of the Conrad Straight. Disaster struck though as on the following lap, Evans suffered a brake problem coming into turn 2, and slammed straight into the wall, heavily damaging his, suspension and bodywork. He was forced to limp back to the pits, where he was quickly fixed and returned to the track. After making an extra pitstop compared to everyone else, Evans was now 30 seconds or so behind where he should have been.

Spured on by his issues, Evans pounded round the track, lap after lap, like it was qualifying, going as fast as he could take the car. He caught and past Gordon Anderson's Ferrari at the final corner, and then went sbout chasing down Pittman once more. The pressure he applied seemed to work, as Pittman slid off the track at the fast turn 10. Unfortunately, the two leaders, Maynard and Watson both retired from the stint, leaving Evans with a 20 second gap to chase down. The target was Jacek Kalisz in the Extreme GT BMW, and he had 10 laps to do so, meaning he had to drive flat-out absolutely everywhere. The consolation for Evans was that Kalisz had made his stop very early on, so his tyres would start to wear out by the end of the race, but he still had a huge advantage of Evans. The RaceART driver was lapping faster than Kalisz, but not at a fast enough rate, just half a second per lap. But with 5 laps to go, Kalisz appeared to struggle with his car, he made a few mistakes here and there and the gap was visibly reducing with every turn of the steering wheel. On the penultimate lap, Evans was within two seconds of the Polish driver, and continued to close the gap. Kalisz then ran wide on the exit of turn 21, comprimising turn 22, giving Evans a run on him as the cars headed down into the final corner. The pair were side-by-side, with RaceART on the outside. Evans was the later braker, and moved swiftly around the outside at the final corner to take the lobby lead with a lap to spare, finishing in a decent 89 minutes and 6 seconds, considering the circumstances.

Next up was Hayden Thompson on his RaceART debut. He was likely to be the teams faster driver, and started in 6th position in Lobby a after the first stints results. Thompson showed all the qualities that made RaceART want to snap him up. He made a good start and made up positions. As the race settled down, he managed to pick off cars one by one and moved into second position overall, while setting highly competitive lap times. He had developed a 10 second gap to third place man Ashley Stubbs in the Limitless Racing Team BMW. After making his mandatory pit stop, he continued round before making a big error, heavily damaging his car, meaning he too would have to make a second pitstop. This put him back into the midfield, and despite continuing to lap quickly, he had to settle for 7th position, after over taking Alan Townsend and Mateusz Gawel on track. His stint time was still competitive, 30 seconds faster than that of Evans in the first stint. However, Thompson was overall disappointed with his result, knowing it could have been a lot better, but RaceART are confident that Thompson can be a real help for the team in future events in the Pro GT, and look forward to working with him again.

RaceART's Alex Davis-Loades would complete the race for the team, doing stints three and four. Stint 3 was a fairly straight forward drive for Alex. He had a fight early on with Sam James, in one of the HCR Corse Ferrari F458's. However, James had slightly more pace, and was able to make the most of this as they exited the first corner, and he out-dragged Davis-Loades down the straight into turn 2. He finished his first stint in 89 minutes and 40 seconds.

Alex's second stint was much more eventful. He got caught up as the field slowed down heading into the first corner, and picked up damage, meaning he had to make his pitstop at the end of the first racing lap. This completely changed the dynamic of Davis-Loades' race, as he had to try to maintain a good pace, while holding onto his tyres for 40 laps of Mount Panarama. He did so very well, as his tyres held together, despite having a 10 lap battle at the end of the race, which Alex won, holding onto his 8th position in Lobby A. Once again, his second stint was completed in 89 minhtes and 40 seconds, bringing a good end to a strong race from RaceART.

The 1000km of Bathurst was certainly another eventful endurance race for RaceART Competition. Despite making two extra pitstops compared to the rest of the field, the team fcompleted a strong race, and this has definately been the most successful endurance event for RaceART Competition
exp1osive sam
exp1osive sam

TORA Race Number : 92
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