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Real Struggles in the Virtual World

It's a tough race at Oulton Park as the team's practice pace disappears on race-day in round two of the SMRC eSports spring Championship.

After technical gremlins halted the team's strong charge in round one of the eSports Championship at Knockhill, the action switched to the Oulton Park International Circuit for round two - swapping Formula Rookie single seaters for Renault Clio Cup cars.

Jordan's pace in preparation for the event looked promising. Setting the fastest time in the world in Project Cars 2's 'Time Trial' mode whilst using the mandatory default setup gave the team some confidence that this would be the week when they would progress through Thursday night's qualification heat to the round's 'Grand Final' on Sunday. However - as is often the case in real motorsport - things didn't really go to plan...

Qualifying was a tense affair, with Jordan immediately struggling with the balance of the car and only managing to set a time a full second adrift of his pre-race potential. That was still enough for second on the grid though, and with the top three finishers making the cut for the final, the race still looked positive.

Holding second through turn one at the green lights, Jordan prepared to settle into a rhythm for the 6-lap race when disaster struck just one corner later. On cold tyres, he lost the rear of the car on the way into the downhill sweeping 'Cascades' and with the slide ever-worsening as the corner continued, stepping onto the Astroturf and grass on the exit was all that was needed to turn a slide into a spin. The momentum sent him straight into the tyre wall and whilst there was no damage model active in the simulation so he could continue, the car's position meant he had to reverse out of the wall - losing any chance of qualifying for the final.

The remainder of the race was spent trying to tame the tail-happy Clio whilst gradually catching the battling pack. With a lap to go, a multi-car pileup at the second chicane allowed Jordan to leapfrog up to 5th - perhaps it would be possible to improve on round 1's 6th place finish after all...

On the run out of the first chicane on the final lap, Jordan got the jump on the car ahead, out-dragging them to the second chicane, where he braked later and went around the outside. However, the other driver simply came off the brake to move alongside again and then turned-in to the second part of the chicane, forcing Jordan straight into the tyre stack and to a dead stop. Again, due to the lack of damage model, he was able to reverse-out and limp home across the line, but only in P8.

"That was really tough.' Was Jordan's assessment of the event. 'Firstly, I was completely caught-out by the handling of the car in qualifying - I just didn't have any confidence in the rear end at all and why it felt so different to the practice sessions we did beforehand is something we need to analyse. Although we managed to put it 2nd on the grid, I knew I'd be on the back foot for the race itself if the handling didn't improve. Of course it didn't and whilst I'd like to find some kind of excuse for throwing it into the wall at turn two, I really can't! It was totally my fault and the rest of the race was just an exercise in trying not to throw it off again after that.'

'The chaos in the pack helped me to get back into a respectable position, but then the incident on the last lap obviously put me back in my place again! I don't blame the other driver for being tough - it was the last lap and we were out of contention for a qualifying place anyway, so they had nothing to lose by putting me in the wall. At least in the virtual world, dad doesn't have to spend the next week fixing the car!'

"Hopefully at the next round we'll give the fans a bit more of a reason to cheer for us!"

'There's absolutely no hard feelings though. It's disappointing, but overall I had fantastic fun preparing for this event and competing against everyone out there. It's a really brilliant initiative the club have taken to give us some way of scratching the competitive itch and giving the fans some races to enjoy at this tough time. Hopefully at the next round we'll give the fans a bit more of a reason to cheer for us!"

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