RDHGP S5 - Round 5 - Barber Motorsports Park Birmingham - 24th June 2010

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Stuart Thomson

The Stoat Without Fear ™
Welcome back to Round 5 of the RD Historic Grand Prix, Season 5

We hit the second half of the season on a high after a couple of the best events I personally think we’ve run in RDHGP since I’ve been involved. There seemed to be good racing right the way through the pack both here and at Mo I Rana, and I have no reason to think that Round 5 will be any different.

I did receive a couple of Driving Incident Reports after the Mont Tremblant event, however. Details of the results are down below in the Incidents, Investigation & Penalties section. I’m not going to go into detail about them, beyond reminding people that I consider all aspects of the incident, from all sides. I don’t assume the innocence of the reporter, nor the culpability of the reportee. Once I’ve reviewed the incident, have come to my own conclusions, and if I feel that I’d like some other input before responding, I go to totally independent staff (ie not involved at all with the League) for their view on things, and whether they agree or not with my findings. That’s my process, I’m convinced that it’s the fairest way of doing things, and it will remain in place.

We head south west over 1,000 miles and into the USA, passing over Lake Ontario, and 5 US states (New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky & Tennessee, travel fans) and into Sweet Home Alabama, and the Barber Motorsports Park. It is generally agreed on as being one of the best and most fun tracks we’ve driven on in previous Club events, and now it makes its GTL League debut.

Circuit Notes
The Barber Motorsports Park is located about 5 miles east of Birmingham, Alabama. The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum opened in 1988, created from the private collection of local dairy owner George Barber, who was also a Porsche driver in the 1970’s. 15 years later, in January 2003 the track was opened as the Barber Motorsports Park, with the Vintage Museum on the grounds. Both the Porsche Driving School (2003) and the Kevin Schwantz Motorcycle School (2009) moved to the Park permanently from their previous locations. The Rolex Grand-Am Series & the AMA Superbike Championship have both held rounds at the Park since it’s opening in 2003, and this year, IndyCar added Barber Motorsports Park as both an Open Test Venue in February, and and the 3rd round proper of the Championship in April, won by Helio Castroneves.

The track has 3 layouts, and we will be driving the longest, 2.38 mile, GP configuration, the same as the IndyCars, but I suspect we will struggle to match the track record time of 1:09.455 in our vintage 65 Tourers. The GP circuit has a flowing character, is quite generous with an average 45ft (18m) width, and exciting with its 80ft (32m) total elevation change.

Birmingham GP starts on a good length straight, but like some of the preceding tracks, it’s all business almost immediately. T1L is an absolute brute of a corner, diving away down and left, the kerb you need to attack out of sight until after you make your turn in. Turn in too early, you both earn yourself a cut and, as a bonus, completely unsettle your car over the kerbs. Turn in too late, or go in too hot, and there is a sandtrap with a steering-wrecking wall very close behind it.

The exit of T1L is a short downhill, and then uphill blast before you set the car up for the difficult and patience testing T2R. This is a blind, crested, wide 180º turn, starting uphill, cresting at the apex and then diving away downhill for the exit, all the while testing your setup and your patience on the throttle as you need to carry as much speed as possible through here, but getting on it too soon can easily spin you, or send you out onto the grass. Once settled out of T2R, it’s full acceleration back up another hill for the blind and crested T3R. This is a simple corner, but the cars will all go light as you turn over the crest, and any instability will be exposed here.

A good length straight follows, and a chance to maybe get into the slipstream before getting hard on the anchors for T4L. There are several ways to approach this turn, and as a result, the blind, downhill braking zone is a bit of a movable feast, and not the easiest to judge when following someone closely. Get on the gas as early as you can, throw the car through T5L, nothing more than a full speed kink followed by another good length straight.

Waiting at the end of this straight is the Corkscrew complex of T6R, T7L & T8R. T6R is guarded on both sides by tyres, followed closely by T7L, a blind downhill turn, which is in turn followed by T8R, the vital off-camber exit. It’s vital, because it leads on to the extremely long and fast back straight where any time lost from the Corkscrew will be almost impossible to get back until the next lap.

Accelerating hard out of the Corkscrew, you reach the first of 2 high speed chicanes, T9L & T10R. This is a standard flat, fast chicane and, despite being guarded by tyre stacks, is attacked at full speed, and out onto section 2 of the long straight. T11L & T12R are an entirely different proposition, T11L shallow, but diving away after turn in, only to bottom and climb again almost immediately into T12R, a longer 90 where the track continues to bear right and uphill into T13R.

T13R is a quick, accelerating corner, the exit leading uphill to a sharp crest that makes the ideal braking line and zone for T14R much more difficult and unsettled than a constant hill would be. T14R is a positive cambered uphill and then downhill 90, and leads onto the short squirt for T15L the 90 that leads back onto the S/F straight. There is a bumpy kerb, and a cut indicator, on the inside to unsettle and punish people who take liberties at corner entry, and a sandbar waiting on the outside for people who take liberties on the exit. From there, it’s a flat out dash across the S/F line and onto another lap.

The Race Director has some notes for drivers. Please see the track map above for location of Race Direction note:-
  • All Corners Without Exception – The kerbs are not deemed as track, therefore 2 wheels must be within the white lines, on the tarmac, At All Times. Again, there are NO exceptions to this rule at any point on the circuit. Any exception to this rule is deemed illegal, any advantage gained by this method must be ceded immediately. Report people deliberately and excessively cutting.
  • T1L – The first turn here has the possibility to cause huge problems if people don’t respect each other. I am really tempted to put a “no-pass” rule in place for this corner on Lap1, but I will give the benefit of the doubt to you all. Do not make me regret my decision.
  • T4L – As mentioned in the Circuit Notes, this hairpin has a lot of different, but perfectly good lines through it, and as a result, braking lines and distances are extremely variable. Another result of this is that it is a favourite overtaking place. All of the above means that extra care is needed here.
  • T6R, T7L & T8R – The Corkscrew. This complex is approached at high sped followed by heavy braking through a curve, and guarded by tyre stacks. Be aware of people around you as you enter this complex. The most dangerous section for contact is into T6R – do not assume that you can just turn in without knowing who’s there on your inside. The most dangerous section of spins is exiting T7L, so be prepared to avoid stricken vehicles through here.
  • T11L & T12R – This chicane is guarded on both sides by tyre stacks, so overtaking into here is extremely dangerous, and could well ruin more than one person’s race, so exercise prudence through this section.
  • All points on the track – General Items
    • No lights are to be flashed at any stage, under any circumstances, during the race.
    • The Track must be re-entered safely so as not to ruin other peoples races.
    • Car damage must be assessed realistically to know if it is possible to make the pits or not.
Incidents, Investigations and Penalties
There is 1 new No-show infractions now being levied on Drivers after Round 4.

Roman Kruszewski

This infraction will be carried for 1 race and then rescinded. Any further infraction of this type by this driver will result in removal from the League.
1 driver removed from the League after a second No-show infraction.

Jakub Dylewski
Andreas Löffler raised 2 Driving Incident Reports against Neil Gault and Bob Hutchins in Round 4.
The Report against Neil Gault was closed without any penalty as a Racing Incident.
The Report against Bob Hutchins results in a warning to try and prevent avoidable contact when being passed.
Steven Palmer raised a Driving Incident Report against David Cuthill in Round 4.
The Report against David found him at fault for an unsafe rejoin of the track, causing a wholly unnecessary accident and severe damage to another competitor’s vehicle. This results in a 20 sec penalty applied for the Mont Tremblant classification, dropping him from 9th to 14th place.
1 driver who was carrying a Conduct infraction now has that infraction rescinded.

Andreas Löffler, who reverts to a clean record.
Please remember, the League staff will only review incidents if they are reported to them.

No report = no review.

Please try and remember the incident reporting guidelines: review, cool off, review again. Only after following the above process, and if you are convinced you still need to report it, should you let the League staff know. Please give as much information as possible during the report (time of incident, drivers involved etc.)

Any accusations or complaints aired in the Chat during or after a race will mean a penalty levied on the person complaining or making the accusations, even if a subsequent official complaint gets found in their favour. I simply will NOT tolerate any post race finger pointing.

You have chosen your car and livery already, and you must only drive your chosen car at any time during an RDHGP event. Every driver has a unique livery in this season of RDHGP.

Scoring System
I have extended the points distribution method down to P20 (75% distance completion required) so people can fight for some points no matter where they are on the track, and hopefully have a season long battle with people around them in the League.

The Distribution is as follows for 100km events :
P1 - 25 pts
P2 - 22
P3 - 20
P4 - 18
P5 - 16
P6 - 15
P7 - 14
P8 - 13
P9 - 12
P10 - 11
P11 - 10
P12 - 9
P13 - 8
P14 - 7
P15 - 6
P16 - 5
P17 - 4
P18 - 3
P19 - 2
P20 - 1

1 point for fastest race lap
1 point for qualifying on Pole

Bob Hutchins

Nice one mate. You laid out the track quite eloquently which gives it a great feeling for when we arrive. Had to make a few repairs from the last round & R&D have giving me some new bits to test which I hope will do the job. See ya all track side...........

Carlos Diaz

Happily driving a "girly" car
Amazing briefing...as always. I really enjoy reading these. And your track description makes me want to fake a sickness so I can leave work early and take a spin on it lol.

I don't think I've ever driven here before, will know for sure once I download it. It sounds like there's a bunch of places to bin it lol. Should be very interesting.

So this is Ryo's favourite track eh? Guess I know who to follow around during practice then :wink:

Marc Good

Great briefing and although I know the track only from iRacing I expect it's gonna be a blast in GTL as well.
Unfortunately I'm gonna miss this round due to a concert.

Wish everyone an intensive, but clean race! :)

Tom Wilson

Can't wait to geton track here. It seems like a brillient venue. Tanks for the stirring breifing Wing Commander Thomson!

Stuart Thomson

The Stoat Without Fear ™
Remember to update your allocation Manny, otherwise, as per the rules, you will receive a no-show infraction.
Attendance Reporting
ALL signed-up drivers must allocate for ALL races - this is not optional. Sending a PM saying "I won't make it" takes just as long as changing your allocation. A PM will NOT be considered as an allocation change.
gutted.... again after 2 laps problems with my pedals and i had no more power :( i will stop racing for a little while until these problems are solved

Ondrej Kapal

1. thanks to Gary for company he did to me for the whole session - from practice till the last round of the race, motorhead power!
2. my racing so far is lonely with beeing overlapped a lot of times but who cares ->
3. if I have scored for the first time! yea :D
Gratz to me (and of course podium)

EDIT: I just watched replay and I have to sorry to Bjorn for the small incident which wasnt as terrible as it could be thanks god... You was in my blind side and I did turn just to you which caused a little mess but everyone survived
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