Spetz sizzles at Silverstone
Wave Italy Apex Racing League iRacing Prototype Championship – Silverstone
Silverstone’s hallowed tarmac welcomed the Wave Italy ARL Prototype Championship for the fourth round of the season. Built on a former wartime airfield, Silverstone’s vast expanses offer plentiful opportunity for drivers to stretch the considerable performance of a prototype racing car. In recent times, the world’s best prototype racers have competed for the prestigious Tourist Trophy during the annual visit of the World Endurance Championship. Since the demise of Porsche and Audi’s LMP1 efforts, the race has been the happy hunting ground of Toyota and their dominant TS050.
However, Porsche’s 919 and Audi’s R18 race on in the virtual world of the iRacing simulator and make up the top class of the Wave Italy ARL Prototype Championship. Complimenting the all-wheel drive, hybrid powered monsters, is the purer Dallara P217.
Once again, Alexander Spetz set the pace in qualifying in his RLR Abruzzi Audi R18. Six tenths of a second off the pace, Jan Koerbs joined Spetz on the front row. In the P2 ranks, Wes van Dijk and Keiran Smart started on respective P2 PRO and P2 AM class pole positions.
After a surprisingly serene opening lap, the polesitters in all three classes led the way early on. In LMP1, Alexander Spetz continued his supremacy from qualifying and accumulated a handy advantage over Jan Koerbs heading towards the pit stops. While Spetz sped away, Koerbs’ attention focused on the charging Alex Salmon immediately behind. However, Salmon couldn’t break Koerbs’ resolve and decided to pit for fuel just after halfway.
Five minutes later, Salmon’s P1 rivals took to pit lane for their mandatory stops. Spetz enjoyed a ten second lead over Koerbs at the point of entering pit lane. Curiously, not only had Spetz’s pace been superior, but the Swedish star hadn’t burned fuel excessively either. With no extra time required for fuelling up, Spetz returned to the circuit with his lead over Koerbs undiminished. Spetz refuse to relent to his rivals during the second stint and swept to a sensational Silverstone win.
Alex Salmon’s slim chances of a Silverstone win were thwarted by the errant LMP2 machine of Jason Marechal at the club chicane. The defending champion would have to settle for third place.
Wes van Dijk led an Impulse Racing 1-2 from his teammate, Timo Heyden, in the opening phase of the race. Running in a tight formation, van Dijk and Heyden headed to pit lane on identical schedules. However, following the pit stops, van Dijk found an extra gear and accumulated a sizeable advantage by the flag. Nevertheless, a 1-2 in class confirmed a perfect day for Impulse Racing in P2 PRO.
During the opening laps, Julius Braun stalked the P2 AM class polesitter Keiran Smart before pouncing for the lead around one quarter distance. Once into the lead, Braun dropped the hammer and began to pull away from his Scottish adversary. After the pit stops, Braun’s lead continued to grow while Smart was kept honest by season one P2 AM class champion, Tim Perry. Smart eventually dispatched with Perry, but Braun had been the star of the show in P2 AM.
Post race driver quotes
After the race, all three class winners joined the ARTV commentary team to share their joy:
Alexander Spetz: “It was a great race. Once again, we managed to find a set up which worked well for me. We also managed the traffic really well.”
Wes van Dijk: “It was never easy on track, always pressure from behind! I was quite lucky with the LMP1 traffic and that broke the draft from Timo. I’m really happy!”
Julius Braun: “Oh man! I knew that my pace was really good, but I didn’t expect that to be honest.”
On the 21st of May, the Wave Italy ARL Prototype Championship returns for round five of the season at Spa-Francorchamps. Tune in to Apex Racing TV at 7pm GMT to catch all the action.