- Jun 29, 2013
Ghost Racer's Neto Nascimento comes out on top after a competitive Virtual Stock Car Championship Pre-Qualification.
With only three hotlaps available for each driver, the pressure was on to set a time that would secure a place in the main server for round 1 of the VSCC. With over 40 cars in the pit lane, it didn't take long to see drivers take to the track to find some clear air.
The fastest time was quickly set by Walk Racing's Risto Kappet, a tenth faster than second place. However the Estonian would later have his lap time removed for having exceeded track limits, meaning Neto Nascimento's 1.50.711 set a target early in the session that no one would manage to get within 6 tenths of.
Andrew James: So, Neto, you set the fastest time in the pre-qualification event, congratulations! Talk us through your lap; how was it out there?
Neto Nascimento: My lap was as clean as possible without taking any risks, because there were only 3 attempts and I wanted to secure a server 1 spot.
James: Obviously one of the faster guys out there, tell me how you're feeling going into Round 1. Confident?
Nascimento: First, I would like you to know that I feel honored to participate in this competition at RaceDepartment. I feel confident I am able to fight for this championship. I think it will be a great championship, with high-level drivers.
Watch the on-board of Nascimento's impressive lap:
When Walk Racing team manager Caramidaru Andrei Bogdan was asked if he was happy with his drivers' overall performance, he said, "Reasonably happy, yes... Of course our practice time sheets were different from what we produced but I have been in this business long enough to know that stuff happens. I think GhostSpeed Racing will put up a good fight for the team championship and the drivers championship will be even tighter, but if we work like we always do we should come out on top. I am really happy that RaceDepartment is putting very good leagues together with broadcasts and such, awesome job by them."
Risto Kappet added, "Totally my mistake for trying to find tenths in an event designed just to split drivers and nothing more." Not the best start to his championship, but general opinion is that a driver of his quality will be back in Server 1 for round 2.
And Mr. Caramidaru is correct - one of the main competitors this season has to be the Portuguese outfit GhostSpeed Racing. Fábio Assunção comfortably made the server 1 cut off in 6th place, despite having two faster laps removed due to exceeding track limits, while his team mate Sergio Junior set the second fastest time of the hour. Their junior team, GS Racing, also look like they've got good pace.
Elsewhere down the grid, with drivers often split by just hundredths of a second, the Swede Sven-Arne Anderson just made the cut off in 28th place. "I could not have done it better I think. For me it does not matter if I am on server 1 or 2," he admitted.
Despite making the server 1 cut off, some drivers still felt they could have done better. "Obviously not happy with the results, I think for sure we had more pace but yeah, I made some mistakes so I'd like to apologize to the team and the guys at the factory," said Tal Segal of RedShift Racing. "For sure this isn't our best form, but yeah, coming to Cascavel I think it will obviously will be another weekend and another opportunity for us to show our pace, for sure."
Andrew Harper (of Williams Grand Prix Engineering) felt he also could have put in some faster times, but was somewhat more positive about it, saying, "My laps were okay. Brasilia is a bit of a difficult one for me and I just wanted to get three clean laps in. Did that and improved on each lap so can't complain. Was about 1.5 secs off my best lap when practicing yesterday so annoyed a little bit, but made it through with no dents or scratches so that's good!"
Thomas Hinss: I thought pre-qualification went very well, it was certainly a lot of fun to watch for me. It was interesting to see how track limits seemed to play a factor in some of the laps, something which hopefully won't be a rolling theme throughout the season. All in all though I thought it was a very interesting session and really clarified who to look out for throughout the season to come.
I mentioned it a few times during the broadcast as pre-qualification was under way, that I think it'll be very interesting to see if some of the independents and smaller teams can bring the fight to teams such as Walk and GhostSpeed. I'm also interested to see how The Mighty Forth team perform as I know both of those drivers have a wealth of sim racing experience under their belts.
"...viewers keen to see an upset victory throughout the course of the five-race season might be in luck..."
R.J. O'Connell: We saw many quick times and solid performances from a handful of single-car teams and independent drivers in pre-qualifying, so those viewers keen to see an upset victory throughout the course of the five-race season might be in luck. With the two-tier championship structure, and football-style promotion and relegation being put into play at every round, every driver will be keen to not only be fast, but consistent as well. One early DNF from a driver in Tier 1, even in the first race, would all but certainly eliminate them from championship contention.
Thomas Hinss: After such a fascinating pre-qualification event I think I'm most looking forward to seeing how both GhostSpeed Racing and Walk Racing perform in race conditions. Both teams are very experienced and so I'll be looking for them to capitalize on this to be right at the front of the field.
R.J. O'Connell: Power-to-pass, as used in the real life Stock Car circuit and IndyCar Series, will play a huge part into the overall flow of the race. An advantage this system has over DRS is that drivers can use the power-to-pass not only offensively to overtake, but defensively to maintain their position.
The most recognizable track on the calendar to those not familiar with the Brazilian national racing scene might be Jacarepagua, which was demolished in 2012. With no races at the famed Interlagos circuit, this season will showcase many of the lesser-known, yet still exceptional racing venues in Brazil. The first two races will reflect the diversity in the calendar: Cascavel, a high-speed circuit with dramatic undulations, will give way the following week to Taruma, which like Brasilia, is almost entirely flat, but is comprised almost entirely of flowing, high-speed corners.
If you missed the pre-qualy, you can watch all the action again here.
Join us again for round one
Round 1 takes place at the Autodromo Internacional Zilmar Beux, more commonly known as Cascavel, the "Rattlesnake Raceway". Both servers look set for some close competitive racing, where we'll see the first use of the boost button this season. Grab the spotter guide here! You can watch the main race live and exclusive here at RaceDepartment on Saturday the 9th of May at 19:00 GMT, with expert commentary from Thomas Hinss and R.J. O'Connell.