by Ciaran Roche
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.