A timely return to form for FEEDER Ragnar Simulator at Suzuka secures the impressive team overall RDLMS by Vesaro Championship honours in Japan. The Thrustmaster 12 Hours of Suzuka would play host to one of the most difficult events of the 2017 RDLMS by Vesaro calendar as our teams and drivers took to the circuit in anger for the penultimate time this season. Faced with the daunting prospect of 12 long hours of action on one of the toughest driver circuits in the world, everything would be up for grabs in our fifth round of the RDLMS by Vesaro endurance racing league. Already the teams would find themselves on the back foot even before the official qualification session began, with a late change to the calendar removing the originally intended Fuji circuit out of the equation to make way for Suzuka, home of the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix and a venue that would prove to be exceptionally difficult for our drivers to navigate at pace over 12 hours whist keeping out of trouble in a tight grid of Prototype and GT specification cars. Predictably the opening laps and first few hours of activity would provide plenty of action out on track, with multiple entertaining fights throughout the grid keeping the drivers on their toes as everyone looked to settle down and find a rhythm around this very technical and challenging circuit. Unfortunately for reasons as yet unexplained, the Thrustmaster 12 Hours of Suzuka would see a significant number of absentee teams, leaving a season low of 28 starting cars when the green flag dropped out on track. With many of the teams not providing sufficient (or any) reason for their absence from round five, expect plenty of bans to be handed out by Race Control after the subsequent investigations have been carried out. Considering the level of preparation and dedication taken to put on events of this scale, to see 11 of our grid not turn up to race here in Suzuka is an unacceptable disrespect to both the race organisers and fellow competitors, a very sad reflection on how little respect some sim racers have for the sport we all enjoy, and the kind of behaviour that will not be tolerated, and is not welcome, here at RaceDepartment. The opening eight hours of track activity would see the greatest number of incidents during the race, unsurprising giving the tight and difficult nature of the circuit, however the race did offer up our lowest number of retirements proportional to the starting number of cars, with just four teams failing to make it to the finishing line, all of who found their day ending before the eighth hour of competition. Despite such a low number of retirements the race would provide plenty of incident and contact throughout the field, notably a very early off track excursion for the #14 Sikania Endurance Motorsport car, who made contact with the #6 RedShift Racing machine on the opening lap heading into the difficult "Snake" section of corners. Although delayed, both cars would return to the circuit and continue their fight back up through the field, however the incident causing #3 SimTech International car would soon prove to be in trouble before pulling off the circuit on just the sixth lap, a blown engine and technical difficulties for driver Standa Sehnal ending any further participation in the event. Sadly for some, the slightly dramatic nature of the opening lap would continue into the opening minutes, with yet more trouble rearing its head on lap three, as an attempt at a bold move for fifth position by the #15 Atlantic Motorsport on the #27 Deltec Racing Team car into the 130R corner resulted in disaster, leaving the Atlantic Motorsport Zytek Nissan out of control. As a result of this incident the #4 SpeedyMite Racing and #18 KRT Racing cars, both of which were following close behind and could see everything unfold, had to take evasive action and collided with one another; the #4 car subsequently hit the wall at the outside of the corner, beyond the run-off area, and lost its rear wing after the heavy impact, which lead to a lengthy pit stop for major repair. The #18 KRT Racing car may have also sustained damage, but it was able to carry on after also colliding with the #15 Atlantic Motorsport car which was still out of control. As a result of both the initial incident and following excitement the #15 Atlantic Motorsport team would be issued a drive-through penalty. Further drama would follow on the 19th lap, with the #18 KRT of Tom Lombaerts spinning at the exit of the Spoon corner, re-joining the circuit and making contact with the luckless RedShift Racing car of Frank van Oeveren. Despite being the recipient of the contact, van Oeveren would continue relatively unscathed as the KRT machine collided heavily with the wall at the outside of Spoon Curve leading onto the Backstretch, causing significant damage. In keeping with something of a trend from this race Lombaerts would receive a drive-through penalty for his part in the incident, pushing themselves further down the order and making life difficult for the remainder of the event. In terms of the Prototype classification, the defining moment of RDLMS by Vesaro would come on lap 106 of the 12 hour event, when inexplicably the title contending #2 SimTech Motorsport team would be dealt a crushing blow when a failed driver swap and an incredibly strange technical issue that could not be explained forced the team to retire from the event, effectively ending the fight at the head of the standings and barring an uncharacteristic mistake from FEEDER, which was not forthcoming, ending the season and allowing FEEDER to wrap up the title in fine style with yet another commanding victory in the Prototype classification. Sadly for SimTech this was the second time this season the team suffered from driver swap issues, and marked a very sad way to end the championship battle. Take nothing away from FEEDER however, the squad have been near faultless all season and are exceptionally worthy champions of the top tier Prototype class in RDLMS by Vesaro. Over in the GT field, another potential championship victory slipped through the fingers of GT class leaders #120 11000 Bit Racing, who suffered from one of those races where everything that could go wrong did, firstly starting the event with an incorrect setup during first hour, and the team then suffered with a technical issue, all of which kept them down the order and surprisingly off the pace of the front running teams. Things did not get much better as the race progressed, leaving them a dejected 10th in class with a disappointing 11 points in the bag. Despite missing the chance to take home the GT title in Suzuka the Danish outfit remain 23 points in front of the field, thus they are still very much in the driving seat - 1st or 2nd at Florida will guarantee them the win, but depending on other results they could afford to finish lower and still come away with the main prize. Back at the head of the GT field, Suzuka would see a first race victory for the #121 RC MotorSport Team who took home the victory spoils after a season of reasonable results finally came good following a very positive performance. The win in Suzuka would propel RC MotorSport up to 3rd in the standings, just two points adrift of the second place and mathematically in with a shot of the championship heading into the season ending Sebring Six Hours. While speaking of impressive drives, a special mention must go out to @David Jundt of the FFT Corse team. Jundt put in a super human performance to drive a staggering and mind bending 11 hours to ensure that his team could compete in and finish the race; fellow team-mate Osasuyi Emumwen did take over the car for an hour midway through the 12 hours to give David an opportunity to take a short break. Considering the unbelievable stamina shown by Jundt, it was incredible to see his #116 FFT Corse secure an amazing second place finish in class and on the same lap as the GT leader, all allowing the team to move up to second overall in the GT standings as they cling on to a slim championship challenge. The #105 Racers in Pyjamas team also had a very solid race weekend at Suzuka, securing their very first podium finish in third place overall and with it solidifying fifth place in the championship standings. Third place is a solid reward for the team following a consistent if unspectacular season to date, ever present in the top ten but never previously troubling the podium places until this weekend. Speaking of other best races to date, Talking Door Racing would score a season best fourth place, adding to their three consecutive third place finishes and giving the talented outfit an opportunity to build on this result for the final round next month. TDR now sit in sixth place in the overall GT standings, just a single point ahead of the #119 HM Engineering team, who once again qualified in pole position at Suzuka, but failed to carry that level of performance through the race as they struggled to a disappointing eight place finish overall. Rounding out the top six at the Thrustmaster Six Hours of Suzuka would be the #104 Racing Club Endurance Team, passing the chequered flag ahead of #118 RMI Motorsport, both of which had their best finishes this season in fifth and sixth places respectively. In seventh place would be the #122 Gentlemen Racers Spirit car, just ahead of the pole sitting HM Engineering outfit. Surprisingly it would be a very difficult day for the previously second place standing TeamRGPL car, who had a very difficult race to 11th place overall and have now dropped out of the championship challenge in fourth overall. With FEEDER Ragnar Simulator taking the win and the championship up front in the Prototype category, it was left to the best of the rest to scrabble around for the final podium and points paying positions, a challenge that remains open heading into the season ending Thrustmaster Sebring Six Hours, with #2 SimTech Motorsport, #8 Talking Door Racing, #15 Atlantic Motorsport, #5 World of SimRacing Team, and to some extent #17 Drillers Motorsport and #14 Sikania Endurance Motorsport are still within striking distance of second and third in the overall standings. With so much up for grabs at this stage of the season, it was suprising and disappointing to see Drillers Motorsport fail to take to the circuit here in Suzuka. Finishing in second place was the #11 MK Simsport car - it was their best finishing position this season, thanks to blistering and consistent pace throughout the race. Wrapping up the podium in Japan would be, for the second race in a row, the #8 Talking Door Racing car who cement their third place in the championship order. Just outside of the podium would be the #5 World of SimRacing Team, who went back to their usual form of finishing fourth overall (they could only manage 5th at Road America and retired at Interlagos) which leaves them fifth in the championship after a very solid season of racing action. Suzuka was also a notable performance for the new for Le Mans outfit of Deltec Racing Team, who once again showed decent pace on the way to a fifth place finish. Embedding themselves into the RDLMS family, Deltec have confirmed they will be fielding a sister car for the final race of the season at Sebring. The performance was all the more remarkable for beating some fairly impressive endurance racing squads, not least of which were the rather ragged Atlantic Motorsport and SpeedyMite Racing cars, who finished seventh and eighth positions respectively, ahead of a season best finishing RedShift Racing outfit who secured a highly rewarding ninth overall, despite some minor issues as the sun began to fade in Japan. Rounding out the category top ten would be the #18 KRT Racing team, who were rewarded for a tough race with the dubious distinction of becoming the only Prototype car to finish outside of the top 10 overall positons. Suzuka was another action packed event despite a somewhat reduced field compared to recent races, and with only one event remaining anything could happen before RDLMS by Vesaro comes to an end for another season this November 18th. Prototype Class Winners the #25 FEEDER Ragnar Simulator as driven by Kuba Brzezinski, Nikodem Wisniewski and Maciej Mlynek GT Class Winners the #121 RC MotorSport Team as driven by Ian Navarro, Javier Polanco, Alvaro Baker and Amancio Paquez Thrustmaster 12 Hours of Suzuka Results: LMP #25 FEEDER Ragnar Simulator: Kuba Brzezinski, Nikodem Wisniewski, Maciej Mlynek LMP #11 MK Simsport: Tom Watts, Dan Long, Matthew Beavis LMP #8 Talking Door Racing: Tobias Roehner, Evan Spall, Erhan Jajovski, David Armstrong LMP #5 World of SimRacing Team: Jose Berenguer, Marco Antonio Rodriguez, Eduardo del Rincon LMP #27 Deltec Racing Team: Kevin Siclari, Alexander Jones, Cameron Sansano LMP #14 Sikania Endurance Motorsport: Franco Scalet, Roberto De Filippis LMP #15 Atlantic Motorsport: Martin Vindis, Ze Jesus LMP #4 SpeedyMite Racing: Allan Roloff Groth, Oli McGown, Sean Rogers, Mark Breslin LMP #6 RedShift Racing: Frank van Oeveren, Daiman Patel, Rui Martins, Alex van der Meij LMP #23 Wild Weasel: Nate Idiens, Robert Lundgren, Alistair Long, Dylan Scrivens GT #121 RC MotorSport Team: GT Ian Navarro, Javier Polanco, Alvaro Baker, Amancio Paquez GT #116 FFT Corse: GT David Jundt, Osasuyi Emumwen GT #105 Racers In Pyjamas: Christian Moreau, Ismail Yakubu LMP #18 KRT Racing: Tom Lombaerts, Richard Reckmann, Kreshnik Halili GT #106 Talking Door Racing: Matteo Caruso, Matheus Machado, Lorenzo Bonder GT #104 Racing Club Endurance Team: Eduardo Garcia, Alejandro Bautista, Jesus Sanchez GT #118 RMI Motorsport: Roy Magnes, Ole Marius Myrvold, Jonatan Acerclinth, Michael Nelson GT #122 Gentlemen Racers Spirit: Sam Suffi, Stephane Perrin, Patrice Sayettat GT #119 HM Engineering: Luis Moreno, Maks Bunevich GT #109 World of SimRacing Team: Alfonso Fernandez, Andros Alvarez, Javier Casares, Miguel Angel Piqueras GT #120 11000 Bit Racing: Chris Johansen, Lasse Ougaard GT #102 TeamRGPL: Petr Varmuzka, Ivan Urban GT #112 Team-GTRM: Attila Miklos, Peter Hummel, Akos Varga GT #117 Martini Racing Team: Victor Iruela Garrido, Juan Roguez, Constantino Vaquero, Claudio Barrera DNF - DNF - LMP Ingemar Petersson, Christopher Aponte, John Souter #12 Roaring Pipes Maniacs DNF- DNF - LMP Max Melamed, Shane Burke #2 SimTech Motorsport DNF - ENGINE - GT Paul Le Gallez #125 LG Racing DNF - ENGINE - LMP Standa Sehnal #3 SimTech International Provisional Drivers Championship Standings after Round 5 can be viewed on THIS LINK. If you missed out on Saturday you can catch all the action again from our live broadcast, recorded and saved for your viewing pleasure on the RaceDepartment YouTube channel. As part of the outstanding package of sponsorship we have available to give away all season in the RDLMS by Vesaro, we are delighted to confirm that it is not only the lucky drivers out on track who get to be winners this year. With the generosity of our race partners Thrustmaster, we are delighted to confirm that Johnny Stathoros is the proud recipient of a Thrustmaster TH8A shifter. Johnny was selected via a draw with random numbers from the website random.org. Well done Johnny on winning this fantastic prize! Understandably this is an exceptional reward from Thrustmaster, and with a 4,500 Euro Vesaro racing rig still to give away, what better reason do you need to keep tuning in to our broadcasts and subscribing to our channels on race day? Remember to subscribe and watch via YouTube channel to be in with a chance to win some of these amazing prizes from Vesaro and Thrustmaster. Oh and the racing looks great on the stream too! Can you believe the season is nearly over? For us here at RaceDepartment the RDLMS by Vesaro has been a fantastic experience and we feel a fitting way to restart a long established and well respected endurance racing league. RDLMS was gone for too long before activities commenced earlier this year, and after we've had such a fantastic time with our competitors and partners, one thing is for sure, the off season will be a whole load shorter than last time! Sim Racing is AWESOME people. Love It, Live It, Breath It. We do, and we do it for you. For those of you wanting the large PDF version of the poster in this article, you can download it HERE.