The team qualify for the SMRC eSports Spring Championship Round 3 finals with victory in their heat, before securing their first virtual silverware of 2020 with a P2 result at the finals.
It was a case of 'third-time-lucky' for the team at the Scottish Motor Racing Club's eSports Spring Championship. After a rollercoaster opening two rounds, where glimmers of pace had been overshadowed by technical difficulties and driver error, the championship moved onto the short but technical Brands Hatch Indy circuit and the challenging Ginetta G55 GT4 cars for round 3 in sunset conditions.
The first hurdle, as always, was to qualify for the finals, taking place on Sunday. To do so, drivers would have to finish in the top five of their respective heats, with Jordan up in the first of the PC heats on Thursday evening at 6pm.
A last-minute effort in qualifying saw him take pole position (his second of the championship, having also done so at Knockhill), setting-up his heat perfectly. At the lights, he made a solid start to hold the lead into turn one, before gradually building a comfortable gap to P2. The focus of the race then turned to lapping slower cars - a source of carnage in some of the other platform's heats. Luckily, the race evolved without incident and Jordan crossed the line to take his and the team's first virtual win of the year, securing their place in the finals for the first time.
"I'm absolutely delighted!' said Jordan. 'I think we've had the pace for a good result all season, but for various reasons things have never worked out. To be able to finally put everything together and take a victory is a great feeling - and quite a bit of a relief! Just like in the real world, you tend to start putting more and more pressure on yourself if things don't go your way, so to break through the 'glass ceiling' so-to-speak, is fantastic!"
Sunday evening (both in real-life and in the simulation) arrived both clear and fair for the finals. The event-proper would consist of two separate qualifying and race sessions; giving the drivers two points-scoring races to contest.
Qualifying for race 1 was a tense affair, with the top few drivers separated by mere tenths of a second. At the end of the 5-minute session, Jordan had split the two regular championship contenders, lining up a superb second on the grid.
At the lights, Jordan lost out around turn one, being demoted to third. The drop was shot-lived however, as the driver ahead drifted wide going into the lap's final corner, hitting the grass and spinning down the order. That meant Jordan was back up to second and chasing-down the leader. A gruelling 12-laps followed, where any small mistake would have meant dropping into the clutches of the driver behind. Jordan didn't quite have the pace to close on the leader, but his consistency meant he maintained second position till the flag, taking the team's first silverware of the season - albeit in a virtual format.
"Wow, that was such a tense race, but I'm so happy to come away with P2!' Said Jordan afterwards. 'Firstly, qualifying was amazing. The pace of the guys at the front is mind-blowing - they are truly professionals of the sim-racing world, so to be right in amongst their battle was very special. I honestly didn't think we'd have the pace to hold onto P2 until the flag, but we got lucky when Craig went wide on the first lap. After that, John set a searing pace in the lead so just being able to keep him in sight was very tough! I was always aware that one mistake from me, or a lapse in concentration would drop me back into the guys behind so I just tried to focus on being consistent rather than over-driving looking for extra speed and it seemed to work."
"The post-race celebrations are a little more muted in my sim at home than they are in real-life, but as an achievement I'm just as proud to stand on the virtual podium tonight as I would be at the circuit. A fantastic result for the team!"
Qualifying for race two proved a tougher experience with Jordan only managing P4 on the grid after not quite being able to recapture his earlier pace.
Consistent early laps meant he held the position, but constant pressure from the driver behind made it difficult to break away. On lap six, he eventually succumbed at druids hairpin, dropping to fifth and again it was clear that he was struggling to find the earlier pace from race 1 and dropped back further after a tank-slapping moment at Graham Hill bend. A lap later and Jordan spun on the grass exiting Druids, dropping him down to 11th, which became 10th by the flag. A disappointing result after the highs of earlier, but as Jordan explained after the race; technical gremlins had been at work again.
"My steering wheel played it's party trick of losing calibration at the first corner.' he explained. 'After that, I struggled on right-hand corners - of which there are a fair few at Brands Hatch! I tried to re-calibrate it on-the-move (you have to go from full-lock to full-lock to do that) but it wasn't happening and eventually I ran out of road and spun. After that it was just a case of having some fun with the car for the last few laps. I have to say that after the first race, I was really just playing with the car as much as I could in race two - it was just great fun to be out there, even with the steering issue. I loved it!"
"It's awesome to be fighting for podiums in the virtual world when we can't get out there and do it in the real one!"
"Overall, it's been a fantastic week at Brands Hatch in the Ginetta G55. I've loved driving the car and the circuit and to come away with a heat win and a P2 in the final is really amazing. It's awesome to be fighting for podiums in the virtual world when we can't get out there and do it in the real one!"