Category Archives: Race Previews

Austin Preview

The SBMRL’s October race will take place at the now traditional venue of Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX.

Austin

The track was purpose built for Formula 1 in 2010, and played host to its first Grand Prix in 2012. The SBMRL has raced there every season, and we have yet to see a repeat victor.

COTA’s starting grid faces uphill into a blind left hander for Turn 1 followed by a quick right hander. Both turns are fairly easy to get right. It’s the next two corners that will start to trip people up. The esses through turns 3 and 4 aren’t necessarily challenging in and of themselves, but the combination is tricky to get right.

The best place to make a move on someone ahead is through the second sector. Coming out of Turn 4 with speed to hit the Turn 5 hairpin right and fly down the back straight can really give a car an edge. The end of that straight is quite abrupt, though.

Turn 6 is a very quick left before immediately moving into the winding Turn 7. The rest of the third sector is a series of short quick bends with small straights between them. Getting a feel for these corners is harder than it looks. In contrast to the second sector’s long straights, these corners are where laps go to die. Getting the third sector wrong is as detrimental as getting the second sector right is helpful.

Starting Grid

With one race in the books, the starting grid for Austin is the reverse order of Japan’s finish.

  1. The Stig (SB)
  2. Luigi (SM)
  3. Rask Sjofar (SB)
  4. Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)
  5. Jaap Snellrijder (RM)
  6. Launch Bornado (FR)
  7. Whiplash (RM)
  8. Mario (SM)

Pit selection is always in the order of the team standings.

  1. Switch Motorsports
  2. Regency Motors
  3. Force Ravenswood
  4. Scandinavian Blitz

Austin will be Whiplash’s home race.

Track History

In four different visits to Austin, 4 different drivers have won. Three of those drivers will be on the grid this year, Jaap, Launch, and the Stig, who won last year’s race. Interestingly, Whiplash is the only other driver on the current grid to have scored a podium, with a 3rd place finish two years ago.

The other two drivers who’ve raced at COTA are Rask and Delilah. Neither of them fared will last year, with Delilah being knocked out very early and Rask coming in last among those who finished.

SBMRL @ Circuit of the Americas

Japan Preview

The first race of the 2019-20 season takes us to Japan, to race Suzuka International Racing Course. The league visited a few years ago in what proved to be a disastrous outing for Scandinavian Blitz, losing both cars right at the end.  Originally designed in the early 1960’s as a test track for Honda, it first hosted an official Formula 1 Grand Prix in 1987.

Suzuka

Suzuka is noted for the fact that it involves both clockwise and anti-clockwise portions of the track. It’s the only figure eight track that the SBMRL races at and features a number of notable corners that have made it a driver favorite through the years.

The pit straight is short and leads into a high speed right hander. Cars won’t have to slow down here at all on the run up from the grid. The “S” curves follow, a smooth rhythm section that can set up cars beautifully for the middle section, or get them all out of whack if not handled properly.

The Degner curve comes just before the underpass and it’s a short run from here to the hairpin. It’s imperative to get the straight between the hair pin and Spoon just right because Spoon is followed by the longest “straight” the track features.

The quotes are used there because it isn’t really straight. It takes a notable left at 130R, but this can be taken flat out. The final challenge is the Casio Triangle, and then it’s back onto the pit straight for the second lap. Any driver that needs to pit can do so, but don’t be surprised if several cars get away with a clean enough lap to be able to forego fresh tires.

STARTING GRID

As this is the first race of the season, the starting grid will be determined randomly just prior to the race.

TRACK HISTORY

The only previous race at Suzuka saw Force Ravenswood’s Bubba McQueen take the win over the failed charge from behind by the Stig. Bubba and the Stig were so far ahead of Captain Slow that they would have easily finished first and second, but the Stig wanted the win and pushed his car just a bit too hard. Captain Slow, who had been running in 3rd place, found his fate to be similarly agonizing. With both cars out, Whiplash took 2nd with his Sprite Racing teammate, Stevie Wondertyres coming 3rd.

SBMRL in Japan

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