Over at Tradition Racing, rookie Forza racer GoGators has been chronicling his experiences in the Tradition Touring Car Championship (TCC) Series with accompanying race reports for each race. His latest report covers the Hockenheimring race which was won by s n g. You can catch other and future race reports from GoGators in the Tradition Racing forum as well.
Riding With the Rookie Part VIII
While all the credit goes to SNG for taking the checkered flag, the story of the night was at the back of the pack as rookie driver KSherm had his best race yet grabbing a top 8 finish and being guilty of one hell of a celebration afterwards. Quoted after the race, “I’ve never been more satisfied to finish 8th in my life!”
(This captures my celebration last night, running around the apartment shouting about my #8 finish)
Coming into this week I felt this would be a great track for the RWD and give me an opportunity to finally do something in this series. Then, I was called out by another driver Mr. Bondzai007 who threw down a challenge early in the week for the rookie driver. After a long week of practice and tuning my own car, I got my times down and was ready to roll on Monday night.
Beginning of Race:
I started 10th on the grid and couldn’t be happier with that. Starting up front is too much pressure and I’m slow off the line which is usually terrible for everyone. I got off to a solid start and was able to avoid all the traffic bunch ups during the first half of that lap, granted I very narrowly missed a car or two.
The first quarter of the race was interesting. I settled into 10th with Bondzai and jms493 behind me. I have a little experience racing Bond, but I’ve never seen JMS on the track before and it took me a second to figure out who the hell was in the green bimmer behind me. After I did, heading into the hairpin turn I learned everything I needed to about JMS. The man is a kamikaze driver. Entering the turn, JMS dove to the inside and went hard for the pass and was able to pull it off cleanly pushing me back to 11th. I’d try to undercut him on the next turn but it wasn’t to be as we ended up swapping some paint and I settled back into 11th. The two BMW’s would prove to be nemesis’ of each other in this one going forward. JMS’ car was faster in the first half of the track, but he lacked grip and a clean line on the second half which would put me right back on his bumper. Unfortunately the back half of the track is way too narrow and I never had a clean opportunity to pass him back.
This was my first time racing in actual traffic and staying on some one and it was a blast. But if that wasn’t enough, the entire time I had Mr. Bonds constantly popping up in my rearview. The subaru was fast enough in the turns to catch up to me but the lack of power resulted in big gaps on straight aways that couldn’t be overcome. I think this was what forced Bondzai to push harder than he wanted and resulted in a couple off track instances.
Eventually JMS went wide and off track coming off the esses in the back half. I was able to get by and take 10th. I ran a couple clean laps and had a lot of wide open track with zero traffic. My pit strategy was to pit around lap 16 if possible and that worked out great as laps 10-16 were pretty much wide open and enabled me to put down some really fast lap times (1:50 flat, best of my week). The key to it all though was that JMS and Bondzai didn’t pit either and they ended up pitting around the same time I did. That enabled me to stay ahead of Bondzai and never have to battle him on track for a spot saving valuable time. Earlier in the race, I lost time when I’d catch JMS in the back half of the track but be unable to pass. Thankfully I was able to avoid that in the mid race and after JMS pitted I think he ended up behind me.
JMS would put together one good lap to challenge me around lap 18 or so maybe and he had a great run but unfortunately he ran up on me in the big sweeper and it’s way too narrow to pass there. The result, JMS went off track and I never heard from him again.
With about 5 laps to go began gaining on Dylema. I could see him clearly and even got up on his bumper a time or two headed into the hairpin. His car was strong enough to hold me off and he drove great to do so. Then, around lap 23 we were headed into the hairpin when @gravitty and VahSteelah got tangled up in front of us and went wide. Dylema passed inside and Steelah did his best to get back on track. At one point were running 3 wide coming out of the hairpin and down the straight away. As we went into the left turn at the end of the straight away I pulled back and allowed the other cars to battle a bit. I picked my line with the intent of passing on the next straight away. I ran clean and came out of the next turn onto the straight away with a lot of speed and was set to pick off Steelah when all of a sudden the jackass swings right into me like we’re playing demolition derby lol. We traded paint and Steelah was able to hold me off there. I fell in behind him in 9th place and trailed him through the front straight and the next straight away. I made a great turn before the left sweeper and put together a strong run to make the pass on lap 24 in the straight away leading to the hairpin moving into 8th.
Dylema and I were all squared up and had one heck of a last lap for that #7 spot. Dylema had a great drive and was able to keep me at bay.
Amazing!!! It’s the first time I actually beat someone in a race where they finished. Usually I place up the grid due to DNF’s. I was/am stoked!
I took the time to tune my own car and put in tons of practice. Tuning my own car gave me a better understanding and feel of what I was driving and that really helped. A shot out to DelZaster and Hellisan though as Del’s responsible for the transmission tune and I took some ideas from Helli’s tunes he’s helped with in the past and used them to develop my own. Also a special thanks goes out to the wifey for letting me practice so much this week.
Great race guys. I had a blast. After that race I was completely and utterly exhausted. I was completely unaware of the focus it requires to race in the middle of the pack like that. I had a blast. This games so much more fun when you actually get to race against people than just hotlap yourself haha.
Thanks for another great night of racing guys.