There was plenty of action on the track and the crews were kept very busy throughout the opening round of the Austeam Racing Australian Touring Car Championship at Symmons Plains. With all More »»»»
It was back to Silverstone for the final round the Austeam Racing BTCC mini-series, to utilise the other half of the track! But even before the racing started there was controversy. Travis More »»»»
You think of Winton and all the twists and turns and you think that a small, light car would have the distinct advantage over the others right? Wrong! Travis Fox in his pink Commodore proved that it was going to take a mammoth effort to knock him off the top spot with very quick times being set throughout practice leading up to Round 2 of the Austeam Racing ATCC. In practice 1, Fox posted a 1:21.8. Cooper got close with an 1:21.87, and then in the dying minutes of practice Cooper was able to post a 1:21.67.
Fox was able to get the last laugh in qualifying by producing an absolutely blistering time of 1:21.27 to grab pole position. Cooper wasn’t even close with a 1:22.26, only just ahead of Rod Savage 1:22.78. Rod shared the 2nd row with his brother Doug in another Commodore and on the 3rd row was Grant Morrison in the Skyline and Phil McKee in the lone Sierra.
Fox’s Commodore on pole was always going to be tough to get away and so proved the point, with Cooper’s lighter Skyline nosing ahead by the time they got to the 1st turn. Undeterred, Fox went just that little bit deeper into turn 1 and Cooper wasn’t giving up easily on this. Contact between to the 2 cars meant some time in the grass for both of them and Rod Savage was promoted to the lead. Doug Savage was also able to capitalise and grabbed 2nd ahead of Cooper and Fox. Doug Savage was also the 1st casualty of the race, missing his braking marker on the back straight and making contact with the tyre wall sending him to the pits.
Behind, there was chaos. Contact between Gavin Chatt and Phil McKee had McKee parked in a precarious position on the track and he was collected by Morrison and by Gary Simons who had nowhere to go. Both resulted in trips to the pits. Chatt was able to continue and pick up 4th, with the dust settling, it was Ed Watson in 5th ahead of Bengt Lundgren.
Back to the front, Cooper and Fox had made ground on Rod Savage and now there was a convoy of 3 cars, with a Skyline in the Commodore sandwich.
Rod Savage at the head of the pack with Cooper and Fox close behind
Cooper was able to get through by lap 4 and Fox got through on the next lap, before gradually drawing away from Rod Savage, who was having a tough time with some handling gremlins in his car. On lap 7 Fox had a big moment which looked to have put him out of the race but luckily the sand trap slowed the pink Commodore down enough to point him in the right direction and head off after the leader.
Gavin Chatt ahead of Ed Watson
There were small changes in position throughout the field as the race drew to a close, Cooper taking the win ahead of a fast finishing Fox, with Rod Savage in 3rd and Gavin Chatt in 4th. A great drive through the field from Doug Savage saw him grab 5th place on the 2nd last lap ahead of Bengt Lundgren.
1. M. Cooper
2. T. Fox
3. R. Savage
4. G. Chatt
5. D. Savage
Our reverse grid race was going to be tough. A short run to the 1st corner, which was a 90 degree left, followed by a 90 degree right, all mixed in with a narrow track. Morrison and Simons started on the front row, and it was Morrison who ended up on the grass, whilst Simons was leaving room, Ed Watson was able to sneak through with Phil McKee also looking for a way through. At the end of the 1st lap however, it was Doug Savage who managed to grab the lead ahead of Watson, Rod Savage, Simons and
The start of the 2nd race was a little busy…
On lap 3, there was some jostling and little contact between the Savage brothers (no doubt some discussions at the Sunday lunch table this weekend!) which saw Doug lose time with a spin, Rod lose time trying to avoid, and Fox moving from 3rd to 1st in the space of 500m. This left Rod Savage in 2nd place, promoted Gary Simons into 3rd and after a tough 1st lap, Cooper was now into 4th with Chatt in 5th.
Cooper moved into 3rd on the next lap, but the action was still happening back in the pack. Simons was now in 4th having a tidy race, with Morrison now back up to 5th place. Chatt had an excursion with some contact and had to pit from 6th place which allowed Doug Savage back up the order ahead of Ed Watson, Lundgren and McKee who was having all sorts of issues.
Morrison and Doug Savage heading into turn 3
By lap 8, positions had steadied a little. Cooper had made it past Rod Savage and into 2nd place, whilst Fox had put the hammer down in the lead and was pulling a margin. Rod Savage was in 3rd, ahead of Gary Simons in 4th. Morrison and Savage were arguing over 5th place with Lundgren now up to 7th place at the retirement of Watson. McKee and Chatt were arguing over 8th place.
And with 3 laps to go Rod Savage had to pull into the pits (likewise McKee had to as well), losing his 3rd place to Gary Simons who was keeping out of trouble. Doug Savage was able to jump up to 4th, with Rod now back to 5th and these positions were held until the flag. Fox finishing some 15 seconds up the road from Cooper.
1. T. Fox
2. M. Cooper
3. G. Simons
4. D. Savage
5. R. Savage
It was time for the handicap event and Race 3 of the night. Lundgren and Watson led the field away and straight away were battling for the lead. Watson gained the upper hand in the early laps holding out a determined Swede!
Watson and Lundgren head the field in Race 3
But back in the pack it went sour for a few drivers very quickly. Morrison was into the pits after his car was damaged, and on the very next lap it was Rod Savage who retired from the race with car troubles. Bengt Lundgren was unlucky to get some damage on his car and he was the next to retire, leaving spots wide open for anyone who could make it to the end! Meanwhile, at the front it was Ed Watson who was making all the right moves to win the race. Keeping it on the black stuff, turning in consistent times and staying out of trouble.
Gavin Chatt was making his way through the field and by lap 5 was in 2nd place after Lundgren retired. But it was the cars behind him that were the worry. Coming through the pack was Cooper and Fox, with Doug Savage and Phil McKee also getting closer to the yellow Commodore. And within 2 laps, Chatt found himself going from 2nd place, down the order a little to 5th place, with McKee now right on his rear bumper.
McKee just after he passed Chatt for 5th place
On Lap 10, Cooper was able to make the pass for the lead on Ed Watson, with Fox able to make his pass (not without some contact and helping Watson to straighten up from a half spin) on the next lap. This left Watson in 3rd for a short time, before a small mistake allowed McKee and Doug Savage to sneak through for 3rd and 4th place. Watson ending up in 5th place after the 20 minute race. Race winner Cooper stated he only passed 3 cars all race, despite coming from 10th on the grid. Whenever I got close, they all seemed to have a slight moment, or loss of traction and I was able to sneak by. Fox was not so fortunate, more often than not spending more time than he liked behind the cars that Cooper had just passed. “He (Matti) was getting some good luck to pass other cars. I was never quite able to get close enough to challenge for the lead.”
1. M. Cooper
2. T. Fox
3. P. McKee
4. D. Savage
5. E. Watson
1. M. Cooper 42pts
2. T. Fox 39pts
3. D. Savage 22pts
4. R. Savage 17pts
5. P. McKee 16pts
= G. simons 16pts
1. M. Cooper 84pts
2. T. Fox 59pts
3. D. Savage 55pts
4. R. Savage 47pts
5. P. McKee 29pts
= G. Simons 29pts
There was plenty of action on the track and the crews were kept very busy throughout the opening round of the Austeam Racing Australian Touring Car Championship at Symmons Plains. With all cars unloaded there were plenty of Commodores and Skylines and a few Sierras were thrown into the mix, with 1 having to leave early, it’s driver feeling the effects of a very serious man flu. The pace was hot at front with the Commodores of Rod Savage and Travis Fox setting times in the low 52′s and Matt Cooper in the Skyline who managed to split the pair.
The tyres proved to take a little while to come in and the times were slow in coming down, with Trav setting a 52.0 early in the session. Rod Savage was able to set a 52.2 and it wasn’t until a 2nd set of tyres were bolted onto the Commodore of that the pole time was lowered to a 51.9274. At the end of session it was a Commodore lockout on the front row with Fox taking 2nd, unable to improve his time, with Cooper in the Skyline in 3rd place with a 52.2015. Gavin Chatt completed the 2nd row with a banzai last lap qualifying effort to grab a 52.4675, ahead of Phil McKee and Doug Savage.
It took a few goes to settle the nerves, but eventually Race 1 got underway with the Commodores of Rod Savage and Fox heading into the 1st turn, blocking the way of Cooper’s Skyline. Chatt was able to hold onto 4th and keep a watchful eye on those in front of him, whilst there were a few changes behind. Phil wasn’t able to get away to well and the Commodores of Doug Savage and Gary Simons moved up to 5th and 6th.
Rod Savage, Fox and Cooper moved clear of Chatt after 2 laps with more action happening behind. McKee was able to move back up to 6th at the expense of Simons, and the Skylines of Morrison, Watson and Lundgren were all changing positions every other lap. Watson picked up some damage and had to pit, whilst Morrison and Lundgren moved up a position each. Simons struck trouble and also had to pit elevating Morrison up to 7th, before he too struck trouble, giving up his position to Lundgren.
Back at the front it was until after Lap 10 that things began to change. Fox made a small error and allowed Cooper to move through into 2nd, setting his sites on Rod Savage who had managed to open a small gap. And a few laps later, Fox had another moment, allowing Chatt to move into 3rd place. At the same time, McKee had a problem in which he had to pit, relinquishing 6th place to Simons, who also managed to pass Morrison at the same time. We lost our 2nd car of the race with Watson having to retire with damage, and we also had lost Morrison.
Fox was able to get back into 3rd place, passing Chatt, whilst Cooper had managed to bridge the gap to the leading Commodore.
Cooper hounding Rod Savage into Turn 1 at Symmons Plains
With only 3 laps to go, Rod Savage run a little wide trying to negotiate another car and allowed Cooper through into the lead. Rod was able to gather it back up, but with only a few laps remaining it was too late. Cooper crossed the line in 1st, ahead of Rod Savage, Travis Fox held onto 3rd ahead Doug Savage, Chatt and Simons.
1. M. Cooper
2. R. Savage
3. T. Fox
4. D. Savage
5. G. Chatt
Race 2 was a reverse grid of the opening race and there was a lot to talk about in the opening laps. Grant Morrison made the best getaway and held down the lead for quite a number of laps, but behind there was all sorts of commotion. After starting from the front row, Watson found himself at the back of the pack, along with Phil McKee. Lundgren made it through to 2nd place at the expense of Watson and McKee, but also found himself back down the order by the end of the next lap.
Travis Fox found himself in 2nd place, but had all sorts of mechanical problems making his car undriveable and this allowed Chatt into 2nd place of which he was able to hold down for a few laps, at the expense of Rod Savage and Matt Cooper who found themselves off the course after contact between Fox and Savage. Behind Savage for 5th place it was still chaos. After the dust settled it was Doug Savage who found himself in 5th, with Watson grabbing 6th place ahead of Simons in 7th. But that too was all set to change!
Morrison, McKee and Watson coming up to the start/finish line at Symmons Plains
Cooper and Rod Savage made their way past Chatt, and in the meantime, got past Morrison who had problems whilst leading the race. This placed Chatt in 3rd, with Doug Savage 4th, Simons now moving up to 5th and Watson dropping back 1 place to 6th. With damage on the Rod Savage Commodore, he was unable to to challenge for the lead and settled for 2nd place with very bent steering.
And just on Lap 12, Chatt received some damage and had to retire, handing his hard fought 3rd place to Doug Savage, with Simons moving up to 4th. Bengt Lundgren had managed to pick his way through and move back up to 5th after some extra pit stops for Watson who found himself back in 6th place. Cooper held on for the win ahead of Rod Savage, Doug Savage, Simons and Lundgren.
1. M. Cooper
2. R. Savage
3. D. Savage
4. G. Simons
5. B. Lundgren
Our traditional format of Race 3 as a handicap returned for this series. With Fox, Rod Savage and Cooper off the back of the grid, it was going to be interesting to see if 20 minutes was enough to make up the time difference. Lundgren set off 1st from the all Skyline front row and already had Rod Savage and Cooper a lap down before they got going.
Austeam Racing is going retro and stepping back into the 1980′s with the Australian Touring Car Championship. We’ll be visiting tracks that no longer are on the schedule such as Mallala, Calder Park and Oran Park and drag out cars such as the Ford Sierra RS500, Nissan Skyline R31, BMW M3, Holden Commodore VL and the Volvo 240T. Not only will the race track be hearing V8′s, but the sounds of waste-gates and screaming 4cylinder engines.
Wednesday the 18th of June, we will be running a fun run and everyone who has rFactor2 up and running on their computer is invited! Here’s what you need:
We’ll run 2-3 races on the night, lasting about 20 minutes. More races if there’s interest.
It’s time to park the tin tops and break out the real racing cars – that’s right, we’re off to race the open wheelers. Austeam Racing presents the F2 World Championship for rFactor 2 incorporating tracks that we all know from watching the tele late on a Sunday night (and sometimes a very early Monday morning). From Austin and Montreal in the west, over to Suzuka, Abu Dhabi in the Middle East. And we kick off the series with Silverstone and the legendary Spa. In all, 6 rounds of Formula 1 tracks, in Formula 2 cars.
The series will be running on Wednesday Nights, with a warmup round scheduled for Wednesday, 23rd of April, and the opening round on the 30th of April.
For more information about the F2 World Championship using rFactor2, join Austeam Racing and become an active driver.