Well, thanks for the kind words, though I'm not quite sure it's fully deserved considering my car was seemingly untouchable (ie...the car did all the work)
It's kind of strange, really...racing with this group (since we've moved here to ISO and at HSO)
I'm usually kind of mid pack, usually get cars that are mid pack...can't really compete at the front. So I often push them to their limits and beyond, and because of that my raw numbers seem to suffer.
Conversely, other places I race (many of them with grids full of drivers every bit as talented as those that race here)...where cars are often equalized, etc etc...my numbers are a stark contrast to what is seen here.
I asked for the #1 McLaren for this race, knowing it was a front running car (and a big thanks to admin for allowing me to pilot it for this race...was a real honor for me!). I guess I felt it was finally time to put to rest potential questions about whether or not I could complete the task when handed to me.
Race prep was a joy and a real challenge. Finding balance for the car, when starting a race with over 50 gallons of fuel...especially a car of this power, is tricky.
As I mentioned the other day, after driving the Williams I had a sort of jaw dropping moment after I realized how stable it was in comparison to my car. After many laps with it, I realized that without additional efforts I would not win this race. At the time, had I drove both cars, I would have beat myself in the Williams (pace more consistent and less 'edgy')
I was still working on that balance before quali, and even during warmup, toggling between a few adjustments I was working on. In the end, I made some small changes just before race time that probably saved me over the long haul. And, the balance was just right for me...car was 'twitchy', but fully controllable (got a kick out of Pascal's commentary when the car would look unstable, or it often times looked as if I was struggling - I wasn't...car was fine and it was quite forgiving as long as I was up on the wheel and kept my feet in check)
Quali itself, I had no worries. Well, maybe worried I would not find proper space to nail one down, but that didn't happen and all went smoothly. I think the car should be able to do quali laps a bit faster than what I put down, but I did not push it too hard, I already knew it had superior quali pace and only risked it in the final lap for fun (killed the car on that one
My race start was poor. Trying to be cautious, ended up with a gaggle of cars flying by me in T1. I must have locked up into the first turn, the car simply would not turn and I was forced to slow until it did...lost 5-6 spots because of it.
Only concern at that point was to keep up with whomever was out front. Didn't want to lose the race pace or get stuck behind slower cars (the power of the McLaren made easy pickings of some others
Once back out front, it was only a matter of controlling my mind....keeping focus (which is often times the hardest part of sim racing for me...been known to lose a few cars if/when focus dropped off...so wanted to assure that didn't happen)
The car is enough of a challenge in and of itself, so that was not a complex task this time around. Eyes fully open all race!
I'd intended to run a set of mediums, and actually make them last the full race. I am not sure at this point it would have worked out, a puncture risk for sure. But, after Grant and David both made stops there was no real reason not to grab some fresh tires (also mediums) so I went and took care of that. Damn near forgot the pit road speed limit and gunned it leaving the stall. Saw it and instantly backed off to 30mph, to "compensate"....apparently race control noted this 'compensation" thus not tagging me with a DT.
I never really even pushed the car to full potential (race pace)...as indicated by the fastest race laps coming only laps from the finish. The car could have done 42s at that point, probably quite easily, but I wasn't about to test it. Those high 43s came on their own, not because I was driving hard (fuel burned off, car was faster...more nimble)
Kind of comical, if I'm being honest...knowing those poor Ford V8s actually thought they were pacing me off. (They weren't)
In the end, was a fun race and I'm thankful for an opportunity to show I can put a car where it should be when provided the ride.
Traffic was kind (while there was still some on track...lol) ...except for one driver who seems to want to move offline about the time you overtake him each and every time. ...just hold your line, faster cars will find a way. Stepping off race line and/or slowing ON the race line is a bad idea and is often times going to end badly for everyone involved. Just be predictable and it all goes much smoother.
Broadcast was good. Thanks for setting that up and doing it, Pascal. And thanks to Alberto for joining in, always enjoy his commentary/thoughts/opinions. Quite often spot on about what we are seeing transpire.
Grats to all finishers, this was a tough one, obviously.
Looking forward to the full season in these puppies, can't wait
ETA: Well, I didn't really intend to write a frikkin' short story here, but it happened...so