Dominant displays and qualifying conundrums headlined the events that took place on Sunday night for Round 5 of V8SCOPS, a sprint round at Road Atlanta. The circuit combined the twists and elevation changes with the added benefits of pack mentality racing. Series commentator Jake Sparey assessed the winners and losers of the event.
Thumbs Up – Dayne Warren, Logitech G Altus Esports
Pound for pound, Dayne Warren is the fastest sim racer in the world right now with an ability to get a hundred per cent out of his vehicle better than anyone else. Statements were made in pre-qualification with a staggering 1:17.574, a quarter of a second faster than anybody else. This translated well to the event’s proceedings, Warren converting a pair of pole positions to two walkaway race wins with margins of six and eight seconds respectively. Warren has won three of the four V8SCOPS races he has started this year, cementing his status as one of Australia’s finest exports in a golden age of talent. However, he has already missed three rounds and his commitment to the remainder of the V8SCOPS season is uncertain due to his Porsche eSports Supercup commitments.
Thumbs Down – Harley Haber, United Esports
Haber’s season has been propped up so far on back-to-back third place finishes at Sonoma and after picking up penalty points from issues late at Oran Park, he desperately needed to get his season back on track with a strong showing. Safe to say, this was not one of those meetings. He got unlucky running into Dean O’Brien, before a series of compounding mistakes relegated to lowly finishes of 35th and 21st in the two races. The form and consistency of the top drivers means that championship form is going to be about scoring upwards of 400 points a race to keep pace. A failure to crest even 300 is a worrying sign for a driver who may now have to play the supporting role to Fawzan El-Nabi in the back end of the season.
Thumbs Up – James McKie, Pursuit Sim Racing
Pursuit are in a luxurious position, where their core of drivers all share a similar pace and any one of five drivers could effectively be their best at any given round. McKie stepped up to the plate and really took the fight to the established contenders over the course of both races, picking up a sixth place in Race 1 and a podium in the second race. The pace here has been a welcome breath of fresh air and one which should put the grid on notice about how Pursuit have quietly risen through the standings to become arguably the most effective team at bringing out the talent in their drivers. McKie has to keep this rich vein of form going – with Sunday being only his second event of the season, every result from here has to be nothing short of sensational.
Thumbs Down – John Emerson, Pursuit Sim Racing
From one Pursuit driver to the next, Emerson had a night to forget with two retirements causing him to score no points from either race, dropping him outside of the top 50 in the standings. While neither incident was his fault, these results are a far cry from his more consistent results and regular top-five pre-qualification appearances in previous seasons. It is worth noting that Emerson is someone who keeps himself incredibly busy through his work and therefore doesn’t have as much preparation time as he used to, however when you get the wrong side of the hump, it does become really tough to drag back results.
Thumbs Up – Sam Sutton, One Performance Racing
Sutton had a very impressive showing on Sunday, picking up a fourth and a sixth – his first top 10 finishes of the season. Sutton is starting to hit a solid stride where the results are back to where he knows he belongs in a strong team coupling with Wayne Bourke who now lies second in the championship. I reckon Sam has the potential to kick on from here and challenge consistently for podium finishes, and with only one drop round used, he could be very well-placed to fight for a top 10 if not a top five in the overall championship. Watch out for the One Performance team come the endurance races.
Thumbs Down – Adam Briggs, DPR Racing
This series is all about consistency, including pace and qualifying results. For a driver who walked into the round sixth in the standings, failing to make it into the top split has to be a bitter pill to swallow. Briggs’ racing was spectacular with a second place finish in the second split behind Brett Loxton’s Zuver Racing car, but this had to be a race where it was win or bust. As such, 222 points are not enough to ride home and shout about, no matter how brilliant the racing was. A lot of ground has been lost to nearby challengers such as Michael Talijancich and Thomas Hinss, and Briggs knows what he needs to do in order to improve and find the right results. He has a bright future in front of him and all it is going to take is a bit of support behind him.
Watch all the action from Round 5 of V8SCOPS here:
The sixth round of the Virtual Racing School V8SCOPS 2020 season takes place on 24 May at Watkins Glen.
Virtual Racing School V8SCOPS – points after Round 5
- James Scott – 1,994
- Wayne Bourke – 1,745
- Harley Haber – 1,700
- Fawzan El-Nabi – 1,679
- Michael Talijancich – 1,639
- Thomas Hinss – 1,622
- Jordan Ross – 1,558
- Adam Briggs – 1,528
- Andrew Gilliam – 1,526
- Tom Freer – 1,511