The first of the rFactor 2 Race of the Season events took place on Sunday evening (20th March) in the BMW M4 GT3 at Daytona Int’l Speedway Road Course. Sim racers qualified for the top split through the rFactor 2 competition system, a hot lap trial, and it was set that the Top 30 times would be invited to the broadcasted event.
29 drivers took the grid at Daytona in the event broadcasted on Traxion.GG YouTube and hosted by Lewis McGlade and John Munro. After 45 minutes, which turned into 26 laps of competition, Turkka Häkkinen scored the victory. Häkkinen dominated the race and made the right strategy call to hold off Sebastian Wunsch and Matt Crupi for the win.
It was a rolling start to take the green flag at Daytona, and on the front row was Häkkinen and Wunsch. Immediately, Wunsch tried to pull into the low line behind Häkkinen, but Philipp Drayss did not want to concede. Wunsch did clear before taking the first corner, but Drayss stuck his nose in and tried to get it back. The two made slight contact, and that allowed for Crupi to take advantage into third.
On the next lap entering Turn 1, Crupi dove it low on Wunsch and those two would make contact. Wunsch held on and maintained position in third, but Crupi was able to move into second. That, in part, allowed for Häkkinen to pull away and never look back for the remainder of the race.
There was definitely some hard racing throughout the 45 minute event. A lot of it was aggressive, but clean. Then, there were some who managed to just step too far over the line.
The first big incident came the next time the field went into Turn 1, on the third lap. Salvatore Zitiello and Leopold Brian came together, and that spelled the end for Zitiello as he lost a tire in the process.
Brian continued on with minimal damage, and eventually came back to finish in eighth.
As the race continued on, drivers continued to push the edge of over-aggression over the thin line there was in these new BMW M4 GT3’s on a surface that can be unforgiving when pushed too far.
Armin Binder was one to find this out a few laps later as he attempted to reenter the Daytona Oval section. Braking into the hairpin before the reentry point, Binder slid his BMW off of the course, resulting in an early retirement.
Binder nearly collected Fabian Balle in the process, but Balle kept it going straight after the contact, only losing a few positions.
There would be one round of pit stops in order to make it to the completion of the race. First to strike of the leaders was Crupi with just under 19 minutes remaining.
As he came back onto the track, he was mired in heavy traffic, specifically behind a look-alike car driven by Stephen Piddoubny down in 15th place. This allowed for Wunsch in third to play the overcut, and it worked in his favor to release into a clean track ahead and a reclaim of the second spot.
Michi Hoyer stayed out to steal a lap led, but when he eventually pitted the next time, it cycled back around to Häkkinen well in front. Hoyer rejoined the race in fourth, and right on Crupi’s tail.
Most drivers would opt for fuel only, but colder tires were still a factor as drivers rejoined the track. With the way the damage works on rFactor 2, when you back it into a barrier and lose the wing, you also lose all rear downforce. There were some who had to deal with that and an extra pit stop to get that fixed.
With five minutes to go, the battle for 10th took a turn in the trouble corner all race long, that being Turn 1. Ahmed Abdalla and Juan Cofino made contact, and Abdalla wound up losing his wing. He would retire in the process as he struggled to make it back around to the pits.
In the closing laps, the Top 2 drivers were both gone. Barring any catastrophe from Häkkinen and Wunsch, the battle would be for the third and final prize position. Crupi had it, and both Hoyer and James Dziuba wanted it.
Hoyer took a peek with a few minutes to go, but Crupi held on. As the race went into the final lap, Hoyer had fallen too far back, and Dziuba wanted a crack at a possible podium. The two made contact entering Turn 1 but they both kept it straight.
Henri Sinik managed to take advantage of it and got around Dziuba before the end of the race. Crupi held on for the third spot as Hoyer held on for fourth. Up front, it was all Häkkinen, the winner at Daytona.
TOP 10 RESULTS – rFACTOR 2 RACE OF THE SEASON AT DAYTONA
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An announcement for the next Race of the Season will be unveiled towards the 24th of March when the second season of the 2022 calendar year begins. For now, rFactor 2 racers can enjoy a fun week on the competition system as referenced above.
Check out the full broadcast below, stay tuned for more rFactor 2 news here on Traxion.GG, and don’t forget to keep it pinned.