Barcelona Preview

It all comes down to Spain, as the final racer of the 2018-19 SBMRL season will take place at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.

Barcelona

Formula 1’s offseason testing track, Circuit de Catalunya was built in 1991 and played host to the Spanish Grand Prix that very year. During the 1992 Summer Olympics, it hosted the cycling team time trials event.

The starting grid sits pushed back on the extremely long pit straight which means that starting position won’t be a significant factor in the race. The first corner the drivers will face is called Elf and is quick right-left combination that leads into a long, full throttle curve.

The rest of the track is simultaneously straight forward and nigh on impossible to get perfectly right. While each corner in and of itself isn’t particularly challenging, the constant acceleration and deceleration between them will result in some cars simply getting thrown off. The long straight into La Caixa is one that can make or break a lap.

This all culminates in the tight third sector, where the field can get bunched back up. The sector itself is probably the least complicated, but that will depend somewhat on having run cleanly prior. As we saw at Watkins Glen, don’t be surprised to see cars skip the pits between laps, as the long straight will tempt drivers to fly down it at top speed.

Starting Grid

With a tie at the bottom of the driver standings, by rule, pole position goes to the lower finisher at Watkins Glen. That would nominally be Launch Bornado, but Launch also has a one spot grid penalty for knocking Bubba McQueen out of the last race. Fortunately, he’ll still start on the front row.

  1. Sheila Dinkum (RM)
  2. Launch Bornado (FR)*
  3. Bubba McQueen (SR)
  4. Rask Sjofar (SB)
  5. The Stig (SB)
  6. Jaap Snellrijder (RM)
  7. Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)
  8. Whiplash (SR)

Once again, each team will have a driver in the top four.

Pit selection is order of team standings. Scandinavian Blitz and Regency Motors are currently tied, so the tie is broken by average starting position fo the team’s cars.

  1. Sprite Racing
  2. Force Ravenswood
  3. Scandinavian Blitz
  4. Regency Motors

Barcelona is the home race for Delilah Whipplefilter.

Track History

The SBMRL visited Barcelona last year for the season’s final race and it was tightly contested. Jaap pulled away on the second lap, but there were 5 different race leaders. Sprite Racing had a poor showing, but it was Bubba’s last place finish that caused him to be fired from Force Ravenswood. It’s a memory that the team has not forgotten, as it cost them the team championship.

SBMRL @ Barcelona

Watkins Glen Recap

The penultimate race of the 2018-19 season took place in upstate New York at Watkins Glen. A first time visit from the SBMRL meant that there was some question over how the race would play out. The first order of business was determining the track configuration, and the league decided to include both the Inner Loop chicane and the Boot.

The grid lined up as follows:

P1 – Sheila Dinkum (RM)
P2 – Launch Bornado (FR)
P3 – Rask Sjofar (SB)
P4 – Bubba McQueen (SR)
P5 – The Stig (SB)
P6 – Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)
P7 – Jaap Snellrijder (RM)
P8 – Whiplash (SR)

Bubba had a fast start with the rest of the field getting off the line cleanly, but soon found himself bumping into other cars as he jockeyed for position. The front four fought wheel to wheel through the first few corners until Sheila was able to pull ahead slightly. As she did so, the back half was right on their tails with the lone exception of Jaap.

Wheel to wheel in pursuit of Sheila

The Inner Loop chicane was where Bubba and Rask caught up with Sheila again, and the three of them battled back and forth throughout the second sector. Delilah and the Stig also started to make a move on Launch, with Whiplash and Jaap falling behind the others.

Into the Boot they went, with Sheila finding herself unable to keep up with Bubba and Rask. The Force Ravenswood pair continued to push, and caught up with Sheila at the Toe. The Stig, meanwhile, found his car responsive and flew down the sole of the Boot with such speed that he caught up with the front runners at the Heel.

The Stig crashes Bubba and Rask’s party

Delilah wasn’t far behind, making a move of her own at the Heel. She managed to get by both red cars and take the fight directly to Bubba. Like Stig in the Boot, Delilah found speed through the final two corners and then flew down the pit straight.

Jaap was the other big mover in the third sector. He pulled off a similar feat to the Stig’s and earned a few places as a result. The difference was that the Stig went through the third sector slowly while Jaap pulled off the same feat that Delilah did, flying down the pit straight. In the span of half a lap, Jaap went from last to second.

Delilah about to leave Bubba behind

Despite getting passed by several cars while pitting, Launch was able to catch up with them shortly. Delilah was in the lead, with Jaap in a solid second place, but behind them, Launch, the Stig, Rask, and Bubba all pursued.

Coming through the Esses

As the field came out of the Esses and into the back straight, a few drivers were able to change things up. First was Rask, who found enough speed on the straight to catch Jaap at the Inner Loop. The other driver to make a strong move was Whiplash, who hit the Esses just right and was up to fourth place after the straight.

Delilah was able to pull away in the second sector, putting a couple of corners between herself and the battle for second place. Jaap and Rask fought back and forth through the Boot with neither able to get an advantage, while Whiplash settled into 4th place. His teammate, Bubba, was less fortunate. Having fallen to the back of the pack, he made a hard charge through the chicane and was heading through the Outer Loop when Launch bumped him. The collision was enough to know Bubba out of the race.

Launch ends Bubba’s race

Delilah continued her charge through the third sector and no one would get close as she easily took home her second win of the season. Jaap and Rask fought neck and neck until the final corner, where Jaap was able to take advantage of fresher tires and pull away.

The other four cars were well behind Rask, led by Launch and Whiplash. The Stig and Sheila were right behind them, however, and just like in the battle between Jaap and Rask, the final order would come down largely to tire freshness. Sheila, having pitted for new rubber, was able to take the most advantage, followed by the Stig.

Sheila gets ahead to take 4th place

While Whiplash was able to come out of the corner ahead of Launch, his engine wouldn’t respond to the need for speed. This allowed Launch to finish just ahead of him in 6th place.

Final Results

DriverStartLapFinish
Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)
611
Jaap Snellrijder (RM)742
Rask Sjofar (SB)353
Sheila Dinkum (RM)174
The Stig (SB)
535
Launch Bornado (FR)
266
Whiplash (SR)
887
Bubba McQueen (SR)
428, def

Delilah’s victory is her second in three races and the second of the year for Force Ravenswood. It’s her fourth podium of the year and puts her just 5 points behind Whiplash for the driver championship lead.

Jaap’s second place finish makes it 3 consecutive runner-ups for him and 5 podiums on the year. He sits 7 points back of Delilah. Rask’s 3rd place finish moves him up to 5th place in the driver standings. He has 3 podiums this year, with one appearance on each step.

Bubba’s DNF means that he’s now in danger of finishing last, a position currently held jointly by Launch and Sheila.

At a team level Sprite Racing couldn’t have had a worse result. They had a very healthy lead that has now dwindled to 10 points over Force Ravenswood. Largely propelled by Delilah’s strong form of late, the white, green, and orange cars sit 7 points ahead of Scandinavian Blitz and Regency Motors, who are tied.

Race Gallery

Watkins Glen Preview

Race 8 of the 2018-19 SBMRL season takes us to upstate New York and Watkins Glen. It’s the 5th different track the league has raced at in the United States.

Watkins Glen

The Glen, as it’s known, was purpose built for racing in the 1950’s after several years of racing on public roads prior to that. The track was designed by aerospace engineer Bill Milliken in conjunction with engineers from Cornell University. Throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s, it was host to Forumula 1’s United States Grand Prix.

The track features a couple of configuration choices. The first is the Inner Loop chicane designed to slow speeds heading into the big bend of the Outer Loop. The second is the large boot section. The SBMRL has decided to include both the Inner Loop and the Boot.

The front straight isn’t particularly long and heads right into the aptly named first corner: The 90. The short straight then leads into a trio of corners known as the Esses. The Esses are spaced in such a way that drivers who get it right should be able to gradually accelerate through them on their way to the back straight.

The back straight features the Inner Loop chicane that will slow the field before the sweeping right hander known as the Outer Loop. Even with the chicane, the Back Straight is one of the longer straights on the track… don’t expect the high speeds of Magny-Cours here.

The Outer Loop leads into the Boot, which features a number of larger corners. None of them are as big as the Outer Loop itself, but the Chute, Toe, and Heel, are all perfectly comfortable corners. Someone will probably get this section wrong, but the race leaders will fly through here.

Coming out of the Boot is fairly easy left hander before a couple of shorter turns spit the field back onto the pit straight. It should be noted that pit entry comes almost immediately after the final corner, so anyone who’s struggled on the first lap will need to be careful to control their speed coming out of it.

Starting Grid

Whiplash extended his lead while the rest of the field got shuffled up. With Jaap and Delilah tied in the standings, Delilah will start closer to the front since she finished behind Jaap in France.

  1. Sheila Dinkum (RM)
  2. Launch Bornado (FR)
  3. Rask Sjofar (SB)
  4. Bubba McQueen (SR)
  5. The Stig (SB)
  6. Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)
  7. Jaap Snellrijder (RM)
  8. Whiplash (SR)

The order of pit selection is the same as last race, as the order of the team standings hasn’t changed. However, Sprite Racing has pulled out a significant lead over the other three, who are all within 5 points of each other:

  1. Sprite Racing
  2. Scandinavian Blitz
  3. Force Ravenswood
  4. Regency Motors

Watkins Glen is the home race for Whiplash and Launch.