Coming into the penultimate round of the 24H Endurance Series XVR Sim Racing were last in the 911 GT3 Cup class after incidents and back luck in some of the previous rounds. This round was to be different. Despite little practice Johnny Brandon displayed all the progress XVR has made with the Car by sticking it on pole in one of the most competitive series on iracing.
However, this proved a difficult position to maintain, and at the end of lap one Aurys Racing Team’s Carlos Fenollosa slipped past into the lead. Despite best efforts XVR could not hold onto the back of Aurys for long and fell into a battle with championship leaders Inertia SimRacing EuroRC.com, Inertia Simracing Imprimo.fi and Go Team Racing for the remaining two podium positions. This battle and the three different strategies at play were to provide the narrative for XVR’s race.
Johnny Brandon and George McLay decided to take only two tyres every second stop, replacing the hard working right front and right rear tyres. Inertia were managing to fuel save, meaning they would take one less stop, while Go Team Racing attempted to save a stop but ended up needing a splash and dash before the end.
As with most 24H races, this race was marked early on by multi-class congestion bordering on the chaotic. Four classes of tin top cars, each with different top speeds, closing speeds and cornering speeds all attempting to balance the need to chop through traffic while staying safe.
As the traffic thinned out, the differing strategies of the 911 Cup Class kept everyone guessing how the order would pan out after the final round of stops. However, with an hour to go a spin coming out of the final corner damaged XVR’s chances for a podium. The spin left them it a final hour chase on its hands to catch Inertia Sim Racing’s two cars.
In the end XVR managed a season best 4th place, coming home less than 10 seconds off a first podium despite incredible consistency by the two drivers and an extra stop over most of the field. This serves to highlight the quality of the field in this year’s 24H series, and underlines how impressive the pole position lap was.
Elsewhere Biela Racing Team Euronics took a third successive GT3 race win, Pure Sims won the GT4 class and MSI Esports – TCR finished first among the TCR class. In the 911 Cup Class Aurys Racing Team won, cutting further into Inertia SimRacing EuroRC.com’s championship lead. The final round of the championship will be the 12 hours of Spa on the 17th April. XVR will be wanting to build upon its impressive showing last weekend to finish off its debut 24H Season with momentum.
The XVR Sim Racing Duo of Johnny Brandon and George McLay stormed to a third straight win in the ASR Endurance Championship to extend their lead in the standings. The duo were followed home by JLR Racing and the XVR Black team of Steve Le Vallee and Richard Warmingham, completing another successful outing for the XVR stable.
At a Phillip Island circuit blanketed in fog XVR showed its pace from the off, locking out the front row of the grid and gapping most of the field early on. Worries about slipstreaming and marginal calls on fuel meant XVR split its strategy between the two cars, with the XVR Sim Racing car on pole opting for one more top than the rest of the grid.
Championship rivals PorscheSport hit trouble early on through incidents with the faster GT1 class, putting them well down the order and out of contention for the win. This set the tone for a race characterised by incidents between the different classes and competing fuel strategies.
While Johnny Brandon pulled away from the field, XVR Black found itself locked in a battle with JLR Racing driven by Justin Lugo. JLR inherited second place when XVR Black stalled in the pits. He then showed impressive and consistent pace to stay there for the remained of the race, causing some worries for the lead car.
Jonny Brandon and George McLay managed the gap as the alternative strategies panned out, keeping the rest of the Porsche Cup class at arms length. However the impressive pace of rival JLR Racing added a sense of jeopardy mid way through the race. The early lead built up by Jonny and George would have to be maintained and extended to allow for the extra fuel stop.
As with most endurance races the race was won through traffic and tyre management. XVR Sim Racing maintained its rapid pace for the full four hours, giving it an eventual margin of victory of 40 seconds. Meanwhile the XVR Black team continued its successful campaign, securing yet another podium, finishing 14 seconds behind JLR Racing, putting it securely into contention for second place in the championship following some early season difficulties.
After the race George McLay said “We are delighted with that! It was close – we questioned ourselves with the strategy there” going on to say “there was a bit of a panic half way through the race if we have picked the right strategy”. Johnny Brandon echoed George’s comments, saying that Lugo’s pace in second caused some concern, but that it all worked out in the end.
The championship will conclude on 10th April at Circuit Spa Francorchamps where XVR Sim Racing will be hoping to close out a championship one two.
XVR have got off to a flying start in the Absolute Sim Racing Endurance Championship with wins in the first two races at Okayama and Monza in the Porsche 911 Cup class.
Drivers Johnny Brandon and George McLay now have a healthy points haul, further extending their lead at the top of the Porsche 911 Cup class standings.
XVR’s second team are also sitting third in the championship with two very strong recovery drives after early setbacks but have shown strong pace to now be able to fight for second place in the standings.
Read the full writeups from Porsche Esport for the first two rounds using the links below!
A quick glance at the entry list for the 24H Series eSport series and it soon becomes apparent this is a championship that is taken seriously by many of the biggest sim racing teams around, Williams Esports, Maniti Racing, MSI eSports, Biela Racing Team and Inertia Sim Racing just to name a few.
The 24H SERIES ESPORTS powered by VCO was established with the aim to give its members the possibility to race in multiclass racing environments with real stewards, regulations, and live broadcasts. Each driver that competes in the season must meet a strict set of rules, iRating and a minimum required road licence to ensure that drivers meet the standards and are able to keep it clean and fair when racing. All the races are modelled around Dutch managed 24H Series by Creventic, with five six-hour races and one 12 hours final round held at Spa Francorchamps at the end of the season.
Niel Hekkens, Creventic: “We are excited for the new season. Thanks to the increased involvement from Creventic and the partnership with VCO, we are able to take the league to the next level. The 24H SERIES ESPORTS powered by VCO offers high level of competition, but is still accessible for all teams who love endurance racing. Because of the high level of competition, teams need to be flawless for the entire race to have shot at victory. We can see teams grow in our league and also do well in other forms of competition.”
XVR Sim Racing have made solid progress throughout the 2019 and 2020 seasons, competing in iRacing special events achieving seventh at the ADAC 24 Hours of Nurburgring, second in their respective class at both the iRacing 24 Hours du Mans and the Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
With the iRacing official series and special events coming to an end fopr 2020, signing up for the 24H SERIES ESPORTS powered by VCO series made perfect sense. Chances are not going to be easy and the team is very aware of that fact; the steep learning curve has required the team to pull together and keep one eye on their development with the other fixed on their own long term goals.
Steve Levallee, XVR Sim Racing Team Manager: “We’ve been around a while and during our time the main focus has always been on league racing and now want to push the priority to team endurance. We have learned a lot and those rookie mistakes are ironed out now, it’s all about working together on and off the track.”
Just weeks after the new season had been announced, XVR Sim Racing had to select a car for the series that suited the drivers own abilities, having raced the TCR Audi RS3 at ADAC 24 Hours of Nurburgring it would have been the obvious choice.
However, in the run up to Pre-Qualifying the team decided to go with the Porsche 991 Cup. Johnny Brandon was still competing with in the V8 Supercar with Backfire Sim Sport, and having raced a lot more with the V8 Supercars the team preferred to have a car with more relevant experience with a rear wheel drive setup and the Porsche 991 Cup certainly has that.
Steve Levallee, XVR Sim Racing Team Manager: “The easy choice would have been the TCR Audi having had great success with it already, choosing the Porsche cup was more enjoyable and challenging for the driver. We want to have fun and feel this is the car that gives us that the most.”
The Porsche 991 Cup allows the team to build on their own past experience of production based race cars and the car is also eligible for the Porsche TAG Heuer eSports Supercup run by iRacing, offering yet another option for the teams future.
Steve Levallee, XVR Sim Racing Team Manager: “The Porsche is relatively new to us. On the lead up to pre qualifying we spent about 4/5 nights practicing, there was some setup work but mostly was track time getting use to the car.”
Donington Park would host the pre qualifying session for the series and two cars would be entered (#919 Johnny Brandon / George McClay) and (#998 Steve Levallee / Richard Warmingham) with both drivers needing to complete 10 consecutive timed laps without any track infringements or incursions, the fastest 10 lap times would then serve as the average stint for that driver with both sets of times then combined to work out an average lap and used as that cars qualifying reference.
The lead car of (#919 Johnny Brandon / George McClay) managed to qualify with an average time of 90.385, Johnny set the best overall average for the team with George closely matching him to put themselves into eighth in class. Despite their best efforts, Levallee and Warminghamjust missed out on a guaranteed starting place for the opening round by less than a hundredth of a second.
Johnny Brandon, XVR Sim Racing Driver: “We’re looking forward to the challenge of this league, It’s a bit daunting but if you want to improve there’s no better way than racing against some of the best teams and drivers out there, I can’t wait and I’m sure we’ll learn loads along the way”
XVR Sim Racing (#919 Johnny Brandon / George McClay) head into the opening round of the season at Imola, knowing they will have to call on all their past experience in order to get the best out of the Porsche 991 Cup and meet the challenge of competing with the very best teams around.
Should the team be able to maximise their race strategy, there is no reason they would not be able to run up with the top six in class, racing thought is not about should, could or would have’s, it will be a team effort that gets them forward in the same way it has pushed the forward all season long.
Well that’s a wrap! XVR have performed a clean sweep in Season 8 of the Racetech Euro V8 Supercars!!
In a stunning season in the Euro V8 Supercars Championship XVR have picked up pretty much every award going, showing utter dominance throughout the season.
With the final meeting being 3 action packed sprint races at Mid Ohio, Nicol Foggie won the Pro Drivers Championship for the second time with Johnny Brandon finishing a close second, with both drivers taking a win. Steve Levallee also won the Club Championship being almost 1000 points clear of his nearest rival and finished off the season with a solid haul of points.
And to add the cherry on top XVR Sim Racing, consisting of Nicol Foggie, Johnny Brandon and Rich Warmingham also won the Team Championship, beating NQR by nearly 600 points. And XVR Sim Racing Team consisting of drivers Steve Levallee, Layne O’Connor and Tyler Newitt walked away with an excellent third overall in the standings.
A huge congrats to all the team on a well deserved, hard fought, utterly dominant season.
You can watch all the action from Mid Ohio including interviews with XVR drivers Nicol Foggie and Johnny Brandon below:
XVR’s very own Johnny Brandon was back with another episode of the V8ESC Backfire podcast. Covering the latest iRacing news, the last V8 races and a host of other stuff you can listen to the whole thing below
XVR look to be on course for a clean sweep in the Racetech Euro V8 Championship in Season 8! With Nicol Foggie heading the main drivers championship, Steve Levallee on top in the Club championship and the team at the top of the table for the Team championship it looks like another highly successful season for the team.
Everyone has got to grips with the new V8’s, with what some say is the hardest car to master on the service, and it’s been a great effort by the whole team to get such speed so quickly.