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LMP1 season - One third of the way

Niki Djakovic

Senior Member
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The usual suspects make up the top of the line competitiors in LMP1. To start with, last season's defending champions FEEDER Racing Poland and their close rivals Doug Henson Racing remaining in the class with their last years car of choice, Audi R18. Last season Istanbul race winners Revolution racing also remain in the class with same car of choice.

However, there are a few new teams joining LMP1 tier. GT champions, Team Vires have elected to step up from GTE-PRO Porsche into LMP1 powered Porsche for a new challenge. Their car choice is a surprising and a refreshing move. Last year only one team have stuck with P1 Porsche althrought the season. Another new team from GT grid is Vod:Bul Racing. They're the only other Porsche team on the grid. We have another three new teams on the grid. They are P2 champions Team Spirit racing, 1aco GT protagonists and p2 vice champions Magenta Warriors.

A new car has also been introduced into P1 cathegory. It's a 4wd front-mid engined Nissan. This car features quite unique design, as it fatures both very low downforce and low drag. This allowes for some astonishing acceleration times. Magenta Warriors are going to be racing with this car. A new team, composed of ex-DHR's drivers have also taken on with this car. However, they'll have to start their season in Grid2 alongside 3wide who have been given a grid2 slot due to poor consistancy last season.


Preseason saw close fought qualifying and race between Revolution Racing, DHR and Team Vires. Vires seemed to have just a slight edge of the matters until a small setback, which left Revolution and DHR to battle out for preseason honors. Yuri Kasdorp took this one home for Revolution after a close fought battle on final lap with Maximilian Schieder. This looked more than promising to be entertaining season if it carried on throught the year.


At race one held at Indianapolis, Kuba Brzezinski for Feeder, the defending champions who have missed out on preseason test have qualified in 4th position. Behind Pole sitter Djakovic (Vires), Parkin (DHR) and Michel (Rev). This looked like a carbon copy of preseason grid order with Magenta in Nismo down in 6th. To illustrate how close the compeititon really is, top 6 was covered within 4 tenths of a second.

Djakovic made a great get away and managed to strech a 10seconds lead throught the first stint for Vires, whilst both Brzezinski for Feeder and Michel for Revolution have managed to find their way by DHR's Parkin. Near the end of first stint there was a code 80 called by administration. But, the voice messege hasn't reach through to everyone. After the race it was decided that there weren't going to be penalties for speeding at this code 80, since there were communication troubles. However, this saw a comfortable lead dimish for Djakovic. A few laps later Brzezinski was leading the race ahead of Djakovic and Michel. What followed was a titanic chase from Djakovic to regain back the lead.


This provided some astonishingly close racing. Brzezinski held Djakovic of for nearly two stints, but just a few laps before end of stint three Djakovic found his way back into the lead with an on track pass. He then gave the car over to Adam Taylor, as well as did Michel to his team mate Kasdorp, whilst Brzezinski remained at the wheel for Feeder. Feeder's Brzezinski muscled past Taylor back into the lead. Meanwhile Doug Henson Racing had struck some trouble for the repairs have put them two laps down on the leaders, but they were still runing strong in fourth position.

Midway through the race we've had our first official code 80 of the season when SimHQ car lost it's rear wing. This saw for some interesting strategic calls from our leaders. Feeder and Revolution have opted to both pit under code 80. Feeder changed tires. Revolution have only refueled their car and Vires have stayed out. Needless to say both the pitting teams removed the need to make a splash and dash at the end of the race, whilst Vires would stretch it out. This saw Taylor back in the lead of the race for Vires, closely followed by Kasdorp on more fuel and Brzezinski on new tires. Taylor held Kasdorp off for several laps whilst the pair got their tire temperatures back to optimal temp. Meanwhile Brzezinski closed the gap to Kasdorp who had dropped from the back of Taylor. This was now a battle for second position between Feeder and Revolution. After a short battle on track, coming out of final turn, Kasdorp tangled with a GT car, which sent him spearing into a P2 car, both of which carriered them into oncoming Brzezinski.

The aftermath was an airplane type wreckage that nearly saw Feeder wipped out of the race. After repairs Revolution resumed the race in 6th position, 6 laps down on the leaders and Feeder further 3 laps back down in last position of class. Due to no incident report request after the race, the incident wasn't scrutinized. This prompted Team Spirit up to 3rd and Vod:Bul up to 4th in the class, leaving Vires to lead the race from DHR with 2 laps advantage for a while. With DHR suffering a couple of stop-go penalties for track limits, Vires would lead the race with 4 laps until an hour to race finish when Taylor's router got in trouble and this would see a nearly secured victory taken away from Vires due to hardware issue. Vires finished this in 7th. Revolution managed to recover back to 3rd position. Whilst Feeder got into more trouble and never really recovered.


Parkin and Schieder drove the car home comfortably for DHR into victory lane.

After the race it was clear that Revolution have stepped up their game from last season and taken onto a real fight with defending champions. It also seemed like Vires was just edging the both of them in the race, but it was clear that if there was no trouble, the next race could go down right to the wire.

Despite a podium finish reigning P2 champions Team Spirit retired from the season after just one race due to internal afeirs. Administration decided to promote 3wide back to room 1 after they've showed a clean race in grid 2. GNS Endurance has also been promoted to room 1 after a podium finish in room 2. Now, this saw a grid of two Nissan powered teams in room 1 alongside 8 Audis and two Porsches for race 2 at Istanbul Park.


Onto the next round at Istanbul. Immediately, new team in room 1, GNS showed the true speed of Nissan is right there with a convincing pole position. They were followed by Michel who just outqualified Djakovic ahead of Brzezinskis now usual p4 grid slot ahead of Vod:Bul's Kappet in 5th. DHR would start the race only from 7th this time.

The race got onto a good start for Michel. He managed to nip-past GNS's pole sitter Broadbent early on, who then tangled with pitting Atlantic GT car. Djakovic and Brzezinski were now in pursuit of Michel and after a brief battle, Djakovic found his way past into the lead. Brzezinski followed. The remaining of opening stint was rather calm, with teams following each other in set order. Djakovic would build a three second lead over Brzezinski as Brzezinski would over Michel. But, this all was soon to change when Vires elected to pit Djakovic 5 laps earlier in bid to extend the lead with shorter pitstop and quick five laps on fresh tires.


Unfortunetially for them, they've exited on track right bahind Broadbent, who was going to be now lapped. But, being unable to lap him for several laps saw Brzezinski right on the tail of Djakovic after Brzezinski completed his pitstop. Duo battled twice throught the stint and with slightly fresher tires, Brzezinski would make good use of this to pass Djakovic on track for the lead. Michel remained close. Broadbent apologized for this mistake after the race. By the end of stint two, Brzezinski and Djakovic built a 15 second lead over Michel. But, after a spin Vires was forced to pit Djakovic another 4 laps earlier. Since they weren't fortunate enough to make the most of early stops, this would come to hunt them at the end of the race, when they would have to refuel for 9 laps extra fuel over the compeittion. Vires swapped from Djakovic to Taylor and yet again Revolution from Michel to Kasdorp. Clearly, these were a tandem for their teams. Feeder would wait an extra stint to give Brzezinski his earned rest when they got Wisiniewski into their machine.

Wisiniewski was leading the race with Taylor closing down the gap and Kasdorp following him, until Feeder got struck by a lagging car. They could not catch a break, as after repairs they ren into a more trouble to finish yet again very low in the order. On the other hand Revolution remained calm and composed and after yet another driver change would see Michel in pursuit with a gap of just two seconds back from Djakovic. Vires would hope for a clean run and to extend the gap yet again, but it was anything but. Early in the stint, coming onto the back straight they got boxed in by a damaged p2 car and Michel slipped past easily. It was clear now this was a two horse race for race victory. The night has come upon the track, headlights were ablaze and racing was at its best. Vod:Bul followed the duo in third position.

Djakovic would make several attempts to regain the lead, only to see Michel fend him off forcefully. Eventually Djakovic found his way past, but only a several corners later Michel launged past Djakovic to regain race lead yet again. The battle resumed and so did Michel's defense. All the while it was clear that Vires would need to build a 10 second lead for extra fuel come the end of the race. Djakovic found the way back into the lead out of T8 through a gagle of cars going 4 wide at one time and managed to hold Michel off, but having the final stop only a dozzen laps away he was unable to build a substantial enough lead to remain there after the final stop.

Revolution took home their only second race win in class in this championship at the same Istanbul track they've celibrated last season. Vires took their first podium of the season and yet again under team under everyones radar, Vod:Bul completed the podium. Round one Indianapolis winners, this time managed to only bring home 9th at the finish, whilst their #3 teammates scored good points with fourth position ahead of 3wide and GNS. GNS took fastest lap of the race for Nissan.


P1 class got a new and more usable and lasting Hard tires for round 3 and for remeinder of this season. This would see team's vary on strategy a lot more than in season 8.

Third round of the season moved the grid to a high-speed Silverstone circuit. Yet again, this time in spite of low downforce GNS would show that they can make Nissan the quickest car over one lap on almost any track configuration. Lupson shared the exact same pole position time with Kappet. However, Kappet started the race from pole position. Worth mention is three different pole sitters in three races. Djakovic qualifed in 3rd again to become the only driver to qualify three times in top 3 in a row so far. Revolution gave qualifying honors to Kasdorp this time, who started the race from 6th. If you need any proof of how close the competition is, look no further than top 6 covered within two tenths this time. Race one winners DHR started in lowly 8th. Feeder elected to sit out this race, due to their comitments to Road to Vegas event.


The race start couldn't of gone better for 3wide when top 3 recieved a drive-through penalty for jumping the start. 3wide would lead for 6 laps before loosing it to Magenta's Hardwich in Nissan on soft rubber. Both Nissans elected soft tires for this high-speed track, whilst everyone else was double, or even triple stinting the hards. Lupson for GNS managed to recover throught the field back to second position after DT penalty for jumping the start and even catch Hardwick before the end of the stint. He would find his way past Hardwick at the start of second stint after tire change. But, as they were the only two to change tires they were now pinned down in 7th and 8th, although with notably quicker tires at their disposable Lupson would come up the grid back to 2nd before the next pitstop. Meanwhile Kappet and Djakovic had harder time of recovering from penalties without Nismos torque. They've recovered to 5th and 6th at the end of stint one, after staying out during first code 80 as well. With slightly fresher tires, racing past DHR cars Parkin and Hodginson. Late into the stint after a driver error Kasdorp lost position to Porsche tandem too. Vires and Vod:Bul climbed up to 3rd and 4th now in that order. The race would prove to be littered with code 80s and race leaders 3wide would make the most of it. They were lucky enough to make most of their stops under code 80 periods.

After two stints Vires swapped drivers and tires, whilst Vod:Bul resumed Kappet for a triple stint. Taylor would close back the gap and pass Kappet on track later in the stint to climb all the way up to 2nd position for Vires. This gave Vires a strategic advantage over Vod:Bul as Vod:Bul would have to swap for new tires at the next stop and Vires didn't. However, at that point they were around 1 minute behind 3wide who really made the most of the code 80 periods.

Revolution was unlucky to be forced into repairs after being hit by a p2 car slowing down for code 80. They would resume the race in 6th a lap down. GNS was also out of the race for victory after an incident slowing down for code 80 and Magenta's Nissan also got into trouble to drop out from race for the leading positions.


Taylor was closing the gap from 1min17sec down to 56sec to Fuhrman only to see Fuhrman change tires under code 80 a hold the gap the next stint. At the next code 80 Vires missed out yet again and after a tire change green flag briefly fell a whole lap behind Wollert now racing for 3wide. This was happening due to fact that 3wide was simply closer to the pits every time the code 80 went out and the pack behind had a lot longer route on pit limiter to the pitbox. Meanwhile the race would get back to green flag conditions before the chasing cars would reach the pits, so they elected to stay out. 1aco ren in podium finishing position shortly, but they slipped down to 5th at race finish.

DHR's Schieder was chasing Djakovic hard as the pair entered 5th hour of the race. However, Djakovic managed to pull a bit of the gap. Scheider lost control in fast Maggets part of the track and was forced to pit for repairs shortly after. Djakovic managed to unlap himself from 3wide with an ontrack pass on Wollert. Unfortunetially several laps later we saw Wollert run into side of Djakovic who had a spin in a bid to avoid an accident with 3wide's GT car. Miracolously Vires' car had only minor damage, whilst 3wide was forced to drop a lap due to repairs and finish in 4th position.

Vod:Bul was remaning relatively calm, staying out of trouble for most part, except for two stop-go penalties for track limits to fnish second. However, DHR's race 1 winning car, after initial setback had no luck to fall back on. They finished the race in lowely 10th position. But, at contrast their second team made the most of it with a podium finish. GNS managed to recover back to 6th ahead of Revolution Racing.

So, Team Vires cruised home to score a maidan victory ahead of Vod:Bul to make it a first Porsche 1-2. But, after the race, the incident on lap 167 was reviewed and it was deemed that Djakovic caused avoidable accident due to aggressive driving and assigned a 60sec stop and hold penalty for next race.

We will see how Team Vires will cope with that penalty on Suzuka, but don't rule them out. This is endurance racing. They are the only team that managed qualify in top 3, lead the most race laps and lead in every race so far is leading the championship. Team Vires is leading the standings with a narrow margin of mere two points over Istanbul race winners Revolution Racing and further point over three in a row podium finishers Vod:Bul. Unfortunetially for the moment defending champions Feeder are looking to be out of the pursuit for the title defence after missing this round. The season is fought as close is it gets at the moment between three teams and at the moment no team seems to be head and sholders above the competition. Stay tuned for more to see how will it pan out.