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24 Hour Endurance Racing in Rfactor 2

Discussion in 'rFactor 2' started by David O'Reilly, Nov 23, 2015.

  1. David O'Reilly

    David O'Reilly
    A bad quali means I can go forwards in the race.

    We just competed in the 24 Hours of the Nordschliefe, organised brilliantly by RD member @Frederic Schornstein
    It was simply amazing.
    I just want to highlight the availability of such incredible racing in RF2 and to recommend anyone who hasn't done an endurance race to try it.

    All the drivers in our team were RD members.

    Here follows our team race report.

    Southern Cross Racing Nordschliefe 24 Hours Report
    Car ISI Nissan GTR GT1 (BOP GT3)
    David O'Reilly -Australia
    @Sharjeel Sharjeel Riaz- UK
    @Rui F. Martins - Portugal
    Georg Winter- Germany

    Firstly and lastly thanks to Frederic Schornstien and his team who conceived the idea, developed and tested the BOP mods, and organised the event.
    It was truly amazing.
    So much action and experience for so many people. Here are just a few of ours.

    We are a very new team with a mix of driver experience levels a kind of a “development team” and had a big learning curve.
    A last minute driver change gave meant some set up compromises had to be tested but we came out the other side with a set that worked for all 4 drivers.

    In the final race set we paid special attention to vehicle life and the race set had lower rev limit and a longer top gear to save the engine.

    We started P8 and had some nice battles in the first 2hours as we were attacked and passed by a very fast 911. We were then attacked and managed to fight back and re-pass a second 911 and seemed to consolidate P8. We did have one moment in P3 when all but 3 cars pitted after lap 7.
    (Edit) we got a bit too clever at my first stop and tried double-stinting the rear tyres only for a 10 second pit stop gain. Their wear was low at say 85% and fronts at 65%. Numerically it made sense as late inthe second stint they would have evened out. However the change in grip balance was something else. Never before having driven the car with rears that were worse than fronts. After 2 troublesome and slow laps and losing the position we stopped for 4 new tyres.
    End of the second tank of fuel was the end of my 2 hour stint.
    We had slight damage but the car felt fine so did not repair.

    Our second stint of 2 hours saw us still holding P10 as night started to fall. The driver reported the cars handling feeling strange and struggled to find his normal pace.

    The third stint saw the car handling very poorly. It seemed that some unrepairable damage had got worse or that we now had unrepairable damage. After trying for a couple of laps and finding we were losing 15 sec/lap the decision was made to exit the server and rejoin.
    The process cost about 2 laps (first lap while we went through it twice and the second lap does not count to accurately replicate time loss through a significant repair. We slid down the table to about P16.

    Soon after the rejoin our driver suffered a PC crash and we had to re enter the server again, for the loss of another 2 laps. We were now dead last and 5 laps down on the lead lap. Our target was now to try to reach the #1 Touring class car. The driver found his feel and requested/extended his stint 3 hours.

    He passed the car to driver #4 who then passed it back to me. It was now pitch black and I discovered the importance of the lighting in your room. Even the status screen seemed to glare so I switched it off. Glare etc was making it very tough. At the pit stop I turned lights off and moved lamps and the difference was huge allowing me to set a PB.
    After a gruelling 2 hours I handed the car to Sharjeel as the dawn threatened to break over “The Ring”

    The night went on and at my bed time of 4:30 am we were sitting in about P14 and last of the GT3s. Our “Night-watchman” was now alone in TS. I was worried that the next driver would arrive but figured that without sleep I was no use anyway.

    I woke at 8am and the first thing I did was switch on the live timing to see if we were still racing! Amazingly we had climbed to P9.

    On entering TS I got a message “really sorry slept through the alarm”. What had happened?
    Sharjeel had found that after 2 hours of night-dawn driving no-one arrived to take over. He simply carried on and did a 4 hour stint. No superstar lap times. Just plugging away for 4 hours keeping it clean and we were back in the top 10 with a chance to attack other GT3 cars.
    “Cometh The Hour Cometh the Man”
    It was the stint that literally kept us in the race.

    The next stint saw the car again with unseen damage requiring a server exit. It was getting front tyre wear at 12%/lap and undrive-able (bloody Japanese suspension!).
    At least we were getting really good at exiting the server now. Especially Georg as it was his job all three times. We were now down to P11 and not fighting or leading any GT3 cars for now. Georg had a very fast stint, setting purple sector 1 and going sub 8:30 for the first time.

    As team leader I would cross my fingers for luck when Georg started going so fast.
    There was one comedy moment when Georg lost the car and suffered damage at Kostertal the 210 kph 4th gear left hander at about 11km. You would know it as the first braking zone after the fast run along the valley floor.

    David “Were you pushing too hard”
    Georg “No it wasn't that at all I just counter-steered a little too much at exit of Kostertal”
    (balancing a drifting car at 210 kph!).

    Georg was happy to wait till his stop but after our experiences with our Japanese suspension parts we asked him to repair.
    84 seconds of repairs and an unscheduled stop.
    Georg's stunning pace and the repair about evened out to a good strong stint.

    We still had a real chance to catch the leading touring car.
    We did the maths, they were over 4 laps ahead. With a lap time delta of 40-45 sec It takes about 12 laps to unlap from a Touring car. We had a GT3 1 lap ahead but even with a 10 sec delta that would take 54 laps and about 7 hours.

    As our fresh driver headed into his first hour at 11am we had 35 laps left and we needed at least 30 sec a lap on the Touring cars. It wasn't quite coming together for him and we had a team meeting. We could either be very fair or be very pragmatic and effective. We had come to race and it was time to think more like Toto Wolfe. We shortened his stint by one hour, handing it to myself 1 hour early. I took the car at 12:00.
    The lead Touring car was over two 9 minute laps laps ahead.

    After the night time stints the visibility seemed ultra-HD. The car felt great. I was matching and beating my race PB and doing steady 8:37 + or- 0.5 sec.

    Close to the end of 2 hours we decided to either put Georg or leave David into the car. Georg had had enough driving (and probably having to leave and enter the server too!) so I kept the car.
    We passed the # 2 touring car of Weber when they had to leave the server and re enter).
    We were now in the top 10. It felt already like a victory.
    The third hour of the stint (23rd hour of the race) felt even better.
    Although he was many laps ahead we were closing on track in the car in P2.

    With one hour to go we decided to leave me in the car again but should we pass the Touring car of Rieterer for P9 and have enough breathing space we would do a quick driver swap and put “The Night-watchman” Sharjeel in the car for the honour of taking the chequered flag. We couldn’t work out how many laps were left, unsure if it was the next time the leader crossed the line after 24 hours so we brimmed the tank.
    Just in case we needed to get an 8th lap from the tank (not possible at race pace in the GTR) I started experimenting with fuel saving. I short-shifted on my first timed lap after the stop (100 litres of fuel on board).
    Sharjeel came on the radio “David you just went purple in sector one”.
    I ended the lap with 400ml more fuel used! Figure that one out?
    A new PB of 8:35 came up.

    We closed on the Touring car of Rieterer. Every lap the team would give me the gap.
    3 minutes, 2 mins 20, 1 minute 40, one minute, 40 seconds. We had 2 laps left, after 4 hours of focus we were going to do it.
    With a lap and half to go we were + 12 sec!

    But then Freddy came on TS and whispered that the last lap was a formation finish, a parade lap, no passing. We quickly spoke with him about our 4 hour chase and our fight for P9. He allowed us to pass as we were in separate classes anyway.
    We didn't have the luxury of giving the honours to another driver to take the flag.

    It was done, P9.
    We were all euphoric. The best thing any of us have ever done in Sim-Racing.
    We had done it. The toughest race on the toughest track in the toughest simulation.
    Car set up compromises, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, pressure.

    I want to thank the team for all their work. We are 4 very different guys from different countries, cultures and sim racing experiences. But we made it work. I also want to thank them for letting me selfishly (in part) keep the car for 4 hours of the most fun I have ever had in sim racing.

    Even the winners and P2 had suffered from a reconnect, but we had suffered more than our share and kept fighting.

    Stand up guys and be proud, you are endurance racers.

    Other trivia.
    Lowest fuel level on arrival in the pit box. 0.14 litres.
    Silliest crash, scraping the armco at pit entry.
    Silliest decision, double stinting rear tyres only.
    Race facts:
    Fuel used: 2,264 litres
    Tyres: 23 sets of 4 = 92 tyres.
    # of “New Cars” required= 5. (Starting car and 4 rejoins).
    Longest stint/s 4 hours.
    Shortest stint 1 hour.
    Best Meal consumed. Tortelini
    Worst Meal consumed. ½ an orange.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2015
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  2. Kenny Paton

    Kenny Paton
    Backmarker Champion 2015 & so far this year. Staff Premium Member

    Congratulations, what a great story:thumbsup:, would love to be able to do something like that as it must be great feeling.
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  3. jimortality

    Premium Member

    Well done to you all. Still unsure why you have to leave and rejoin the server though.
  4. Epic David, great story.
  5. PaulH

    Premium Member

    Nice read, and well done! :thumbsup:
  6. David O'Reilly

    David O'Reilly
    A bad quali means I can go forwards in the race.

    Technical reasons; If you pres ESC you have left the race and it's game over. You can't rejoin, you would see "Jim awaiting open session". You have to trick the sim that you had a disconnect and rejoin. Then it puts you in your pit box, where you have to make sure you choose the right set up etc and go again.

    And thanks all for the feedback.
    It was so epic it needed a report.

    BTW the next one is a short one on a short circuit; 12 hours of Bathurst. Feb 20th.
    Australias Norschliefe.
    So many parallels, a scenic road, elevation changes, a win by Jackie Ickx.

    Southern Cross Racing will be there again.
    Depending if a few good men step forwards we might expand to 2 teams. A Southern Cross Endurance team and a Southern Cross Engineering team.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2015
  7. Thank you for the amazing report !
    And congratulations for the finish anyway ! ;)
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  8. JeffL

    Right on Brother, I hear ya, it's all good. Premium Member

    Quality writeup @David O'Reilly you are great ambassador for the Sim community. Congrats on your finish.
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  9. Thx for the awesome race guys :thumbsup:
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  10. Great read David........congrats to finish such an epic race!
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  11. Gijs van Elderen

    Gijs van Elderen
    Premium Member

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  12. Stefan Woudenberg

    Stefan Woudenberg
    Premium Member

    Epic read David!:) Well done on the race! :thumbsup:
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  13. Sharjeel

    Being 2nd is to be the 1st of the ones who lose. Premium Member

    Thanks once again for the encouraging words, Mr. O'Reilly. To add some more trivia from my 4 and a half hour night stint, Dave's lectures/ training looped on my head to keep the car on track and be consistent, while my steering wheel got all covered in sweat. Particularly after an hour or so of driving, i went to fetch a towel during my scheduled pit stops to wipe off the slippery wheel. Just before handing the car over to me for the night stint, I had a teribble migraine which i didn't tell Dave about fearing that it might worry him and create tension which might prove detrimental to our team's progress (sorry Dave :) ). But as it turned out, those hours turned out to be the best I have ever had in sim racing and will always be. When I started driving, I turned off the lights in my room (on Dave's advice) and within half an hour I was completely oblivious of anything and everything around me, including the migraine. I was literally on Nords driving a Nissan GTR sweating it out as if I had got my real life breakthrough in endurance racing. And if I did drive in a real life endurance, I can honestly confess that the feeling wouldn't have been any different.
    Around 8:30 in the morning I finished my stint and went to bed, happy that we had climbed up to 9th now. But the best was yet to come. I woke up around 1 o'clock in the afternoon slightly easy now that I had done all of my time on the rota and got back on the Team "Radio" when Dave told me, "Sharjeel, I want you to take the chequered flag in recognition of your drive." This was a straight-out-of-the-Whiplash movie moment for me; recognition from a brilliant teacher who literally brought down my times from 9:10s and tyre wear per lap of 12-15% when I first practiced with him to 8:40s and 4-5% respectively, all in the span of four weeks. Although, we reached a unanimous decision by the end of the race that Dave would continue driving as the target was to bag the 9th place with a touring car which was 8 minutes ahead of us when I went back on the server in the afternoon. Normally, Dave doesn't like to talk while he is driving but by the end of the race he was chatting pretty calmly with us while at the same time punching times in 8:30s consistently. When he crossed the finish line in 9th, I just can't seem to describe the feeling.
    We were a development team but we had managed to do the unthinkable despite a slew of misfortunes that befell us. And it wouldn't have been possible without brilliant people like Rui, Georg and Dave, who had to sweat it out through most of the night trying to sort out the issues that Dave already mentioned. I do feel guilty though that I wasn't there when we ran into these troubles. Even after my morning stint, they had to multi-task as racers, strategists and computer engineers to optimize the situation.
    I really wished on Sunday evening if all four of us could get together for a celebration but all in good time, fellow racers, all in good time, because Southern Cross Racing has just started a long journey!

    P.S: "Silliest crash, scraping the armco at pit entry." @David O'Reilly Both the times you handed me the car, you did that. I guess you were still in the "Whiplash" mode. I still crack up in my office thinking of it.
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  14. David O'Reilly

    David O'Reilly
    A bad quali means I can go forwards in the race.

    Sharjeel you just described it, 100% immersion. We were there.
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  15. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    Sim Racing News Editor Staff Premium Member

    Brilliant chaps, congratulations and well done David on the entertaining read!

    As someone who did a lot of practice in the BMW touring car for this race (and a 1 hour test race a few weeks ago) I can personally testify how much fun these cars are on that track.

    Sadly our team couldn't make the main event this year... but it sounds like it was a brilliant race and no doubt I'll be seeing you on track in next year's event :)

    Well done again guys, top top stuff!
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  16. thx David O'Reilly
    fantastic report. it was a great Event and P1-Gaming e.V. is happy to see the Server was running
    24 Hours. The Stream was epic and all commentators are happy to. See you in Bathurst :)
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