Race Club Season Review

Race Club was formed by a few members from different PS4 ACC leagues. The aim was to create a league of known clean drivers who were all of a similar level which would give us some fair and close racing. The world of ACC leagues is full of blindingly quick drivers and this can sometimes mean that the cars spread out very quickly after the first couple of laps and there’s nobody to race. This wouldn’t be a problem in Race Club. After the first couple of races we invited a few more drivers and would be happy to accept other drivers of a similar level in the future.

Round 1: Monza

After a really strong qualifying that put me 3rd on the grid I was frustrated to get caught up in someone else’s accident at the first chicane and leave the corner in last place. From that point on I had damage which I repaired about half way through the race and pressed on to finish 10th.

I had a similarly strong second qualifying session, taking 4th on the grid and moving up to 3rd after Roger dropped out on the grid. Once again I was involved in an accident at Turn 1 but this time fought my way up as high as 5th, having a good fight with Chris for several laps until I damaged the car at Ascari and dropped back to 8th.

By the end of the evening I was a rather disappointed 9th in the league. Not the start I was looking for at one of my favourite tracks.

All the cars make their way down to the first chicane…. seconds later, all hell broke loose.

Round 2: Laguna Seca

For our first race at Laguna Seca, I had a poor qualifying and could only manage 10th out of 15. I got through the first corner cleanly but got caught up in an accident between Jack and Jørgen exiting the corkscrew and sustained damage, dropping almost to the back of the pack. I fought my way back to finish in 7th which I was fairly happy with.

Now that I was warmed up, my qualifying for the 2nd race was much better and in the dying seconds of the session I left from the back of the grid to 4th. I made up a lot of positions after the 3 cars in front of me were handed a drive through penalty for start line infringements. I led the first 10 minutes until I melted at Turn 3 and hit the barriers. In 4th I had a good fight with Ben for a while until I ran wide at Turn 3 again with 15 minutes to go and hit the wall. I damaged the car and had to repair it after I’d got it back to the pits, eventually finishing a disappointing 9th. Definitely need to work on driving while under pressure!

Leading Mark, Séamus and Dan in Race 1

Round 3: Imola

As usual, my races at Imola were not good, despite it being a track I really enjoy. I started race 1 in P8 on a massive 18 car grid. After dropping down to 14th after another first corner incident I fought my way back up to P7 by the time the race was halfway through. I’d not set my tire pressures correctly though and really suffered in the 2nd half of the race, eventually finishing in 11th. In the second race I was hit in the rear at Tosa by Mark early on and rather than continue with a damaged car I just shut the PS4 down and went and had a beer instead.

Chris, Dan, Jason and I fighting over 6th place at Acque Minerale

Round 4: Nürburgring

At the start of Free Practice it was raining hard although this stopped during the session and gave us a dry line by the end. The rain started again for qualifying and for the first race. I didn’t get a great qualifying lap in and lined up 8th of 12. Miraculousy, everyone made it through the 1st corner and by the end of the lap I was up to 6th. I was running as high as 4th until with 8 minute to go I span at the Coca Cola curve and dropped to 6th where I finished.

The weather was much better for the 2nd race and I pulled off a great lap in qualifying to line up 3rd. After losing a couple of places at the first corner, I got back up to 4th by the time we arrived at the hairpin, only to be hit by Mark and both of us rejoin towards the back. From there I fought my way back up to 6th, staying with the 2nd-5th pack for a long time until I span, damaged the car and started to fall back, finishing 6th.

In the pouring rain exiting Coca-Cola during the 1st race

Round 5: Silverstone

Both races at Silverstone took place on a blazing hot weekend with track temperatures well over 45 degrees leading to a lot of tyre degradation. For Race 1, I made an awesome qualifying lap, beating my personal best by just over 2 seconds to line up 3rd. I managed to hold on to 3rd during the race, finishing a long way behind the two Bens in first and second. In the second race I didn’t qualify as well and started 5th. I dropped down the running order after being tagged in someone else accident, taking further damage after being hit by 2 other drivers. With the car damaged I started to slip back and had to settle for 7th in the end which was a little disappointing having been fighting over 4th at one point.

The early part of race 1, sandwiched between Ben S and Chris with Ben G leading

Round 6: Spa

For the 6th session, we did a single 1hr endurance race with a mandatory fuel and tire stop. Despite setting quick times earlier in the week I struggled in qualifying and could only manage 6th on the grid. Things got worse when I crashed out on the formation lap and, unable to get back to to my slot quickly enough had to start the race from the pits. From there, I had a rather lonely race, eventually finishing back where I started in 6th. This was mostly a testament to my own consistency rather than anything else – while others made errors I kept on keeping on and brought the car home undamaged. An achievement in itself!

I think this is at Les Fagnes, towards the end of the race

Round 7: Mount Panorama

This was a tough couple of races where my own lack of consistency cost me any chance of a good result. In the first race I finished 9th and in the 2nd race 6th. The second race was much better than the first although I ruined any chance of a good result with a crash with Jason at the final corner early on causing damage to both cars after I missed my braking point. I always love the idea of racing on this track but it’s so unforgiving and punishes any mistake that I rarely leave feeling good. This was no exception.

Chris and I at the end of Conrod straight

Round 8: Brands Hatch

Our visit to Brands Hatch for 2 sprints turned out to be a wet one, although not as wet as expected. For the first race, I started 7th, dropping to the back after being tagged at Druids on the first lap. From there I fought back to finish 6th, having a good fight with Jason for several laps.

For race 2, I qualified in 6th and brought the car home in 4th after a fairly uneventful race. Once again I’d had a good fight with Jason. Although my results hadn’t been much to get excited about I’d had two fun races with the wet conditions proving quite a challenge.

Jason and I having a good fight at Stirlings

Round 9: Zolder

I was looking forward to racing at Zolder but it turned out to be a bit of a wasted evening. In the first race, I qualified 8th of 13 and got caught up in accidents at both chicanes on the first lap, dropping me to last after I repaired the car. By the end of the race, I’d fought my way back up to 7th.

The second race was even worse after I hit the ‘share’ button by accident after Turn 1 and the car speared off the track at full speed while the controls were locked. I had to sit in the pits for three and a half minutes and finished last, 4 laps down despite a good drive with no mistakes.

The start of race 1, in P8 behind Jack and in front of Andy

Round 10: Donnington

Donington wasn’t a track I knew at all so I had to learn it from scratch during the week. I got myself down to a good time and was happy to qualify 5th of 15 for Race 1. Sadly, it wasn’t to be and after getting caught up in a first turn incident when Jörgen span I had to pit for repairs and finished a distant 12th. Extremely frustrated, I didn’t bother to qualify for the 2nd race, instead choosing to start from the back. I had a better race, having a good fight with Dan W, Roger and Jörgen to finish 9th after making a few mistakes in the 2nd half of the race.

Roger and I at McLeans in Race 2

Round 11: Oulton Park

The final round saw us visit Oulton Park for a 2hr endurance race. I didn’t put a lot of effort into qualifying, hoping to stay at the back and avoid any carnage. In the end, everyone got away cleanly and I settled in. The race started at 7pm and with the clock running double time finished at 11pm in the dark. As the temperatures started to drop I began to struggle, eventually losing concentration and crashing 3 or 4 times in the last 30 minutes to limp home 11th of 12. A sad end to a great season but just completing the race felt good.

Race Club returns for Season 2 in early June and we have some spots open for clean drivers of a similar pace so if you’re interested drop me a message.