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.


Magny-Cours Recap

With some overnight rain, race day in Magny-Cours was overcast and cool, but the track was dry and the field eager to get the race in. As the 7th race of the season, it marked the beginning of the season’s final trio of races. A strong showing here could put a driver in contention. Here’s how they lined up:

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

Starting from 4th place, Bubba was able to time the lights perfectly and get a jump on Rask at the start, edging ahead in the first two corners. Rask, Launch, and Sheila were all hot in his tail as the field quickly shifted their way up to higher gears.

The field charged down the Golf straight, packed about as tightly as one could expect given the speeds they were recording. As they approached the Adelaide hairpin, it was Jaap who got there first.

Jaap leads the field into the second sector

The second sector saw Jaap struggle to maintain his lead and the rest of the field struggle to catch up. In other words, plenty of opportunities missed. Rask, Sheila, and Launch led the charge, with Bubba trying to shake things up.

At the Imola chicane, the Force Ravenswood pair would finally take advantage of Jaap’s mistakes, with Bubba also joining up with them. Bubba’s participation was temporary, though, as he couldn’t keep up in the third sector. A short way behind them, Scandinavian Blitz and Whiplash plodded along. Sheila was barely an afterthought.

Delilah, Jaap, and Launch all wheel-to-wheel

It was in the final corner of the first lap that Whiplash would start to make a move. He flew past both red cars and his teammate, pitting just behind the race leaders. As the second lap commenced, Delilah and Launch were pulling away, but Whiplash was finding his rhythm. Rask found the pace to join him in the battle with Jaap for third place.

Force Ravenswood in the lead

As he did on the first lap, Jaap struggled through sector 2, and his teammate Sheila started to do the same. Whiplash, on the other hand, was in a zone, hitting each corner just right. While Jaap’s struggles seem to have rubbed off on his teammate, Whiplash’s inspired driving seeemed to do the same for his. Bubba began to find the feel for his car, passing Rask for 5th place and beginning to threaten Jaap.

Whiplash takes the lead

Whiplash cruised through the 3rd sector for his third win of the year, with Delilah and Launch in hot pursuit… or perhaps more accurately, tepid pursuit. The Force Ravenswood drivers couldn’t quite figure the final two corners. Jaap’s second sector struggles were replaced with third sector skill, and he was able to get past both of them. Bubba, meanwhile, meant to make things difficult as well.

Jaap on his way to second place

As the cars charged down the back straight, Launch was able to hold off the challenge from Bubba, but Delilah wasn’t quite as lucky. The Stig and Rask held a drag race for 6th, while Sheila finished a miserable 8th.

Launch just barely holds off Bubba

Final Results

DriverStartLapFinish
Whiplash (SR)841
Jaap Snellrijder (RM)532
Launch Bornado (FR)123
Bubba McQueen (SR)454
Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)615
Rask Sjofar (SB)366
The Stig (SB)787
Sheila Dinkum (RM)278

Whiplash’s victory is his 3rd this season and 2nd in the past three races. He joins Jaap and the Stig as the only drivers to have won 3 times in a single season and is now 3rd on the career wins list. It’s also his 8th podium, which is 4th all time. The victory extends his lead in the driver standings to 24 points.

Jaap’s 2nd place duplicates his result from Kyalami and pulls him up into a tie with Delilah for 2nd in the standings. Launch’s podium is only his second of the season, with the last one coming at Elkhart Lake, which was the season opener. The result keeps him 2 podiums ahead of Jaap on the career leader board.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Stig’s all or nothing struggles came up in the nothing category, dropping him down to 4th place. Meanwhile, Sheila’s last place finish makes her the first driver mathematically eliminated from the driver’s championship this year.

The team standings have Sprite Racing now well ahead of the others. They boast a 32 point lead over Scandinavian Blitz. Just 5 points separate the 3 teams chasing Sprite Racing. Right now, Regency Motors is in last place.

On a statistical oddity note, this race was the 2nd time in SBMRL history where 3 drivers finished in the exact same position as they did from the previous race. Jaap, Bubba, and Rask were also 2nd, 4th, and 6th in Kyalami. The last time this happened was in the inaugural season when Launch, Jaap, and Captain Slow finished 2nd, 4th, and 5th at Buddh and Monaco.

Race Gallery

Magny-Cours Preview

Race 7 on the 2018-19 SBMRL calendar takes us to Magny-Cours, France.

Magny-Cours

The Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours was originally constructed in the 1960’s and saw Formula 1 race there in the 1990’s and 2000’s. It has played host to the SBMRL once previously, which took place two seasons ago.

A clockwise circuit, Magny-Cours is known for its extremely high speed stretches. It will certainly tax the engines as they rev to full throttle.

The pit straight is fairly short, with a quick left hander called Grande Courbe to open things up. From there, a smooth right by the name of Estoril can be taken pretty much as fast as the cars are able to push. The long Golf straight that follows is one of the longest we’ll see this year, and the cars will be flying down it as fast as they possibly can.

The Golf straight ends at the sharp Adelaide hairpin, one of the hardest braking corners this season. Expect some cars to get it wrong here, but it may be a case of fast in slow out as a preference over the norm. The straight that follows isn’t particularly short, but the Nurburgring corner is more of a slight shuffle than the chicane it is officially listed as.

The next corner is a 180 degree bend to the left. Were it sharper, it’d be a hairpin, and were it less sharp, it would resemble the Estoril corner from the first sector. As it is, it’s basically the inside line of that corner heading back in the other direction, and it falls between the two extremes. It’s followed by a relatively lengthy straight before the Imola chicane, a bend similar to the Nurburgring corner seen earlier.

Chateua D’Eau follows Imola in quick succession, one of the only real rhythm combinations on the track. A moderate straight and the Complexe du Lycée is all that stands remaining before the pits.

Starting Grid

There’s a new leader atop the driver standings and a bit of a shuffle in the ranks after South Africa. The result is that the grid for Magny-Cours shapes up as follows:

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

Each team sports a driver in the top 4 and each team has one in the bottom four, highlighting how evenly matched things are this year.

The order of pit selection is the order of team standings:

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

Magny-Cours is the home race for both Jaap and Rask.

Track History

While Magny-Cours has only held one SBMRL event, it was an eventful one. Launch took the victory after starting in 6th place on the grid, so it’s clearly a track where every driver has a legitimate shot at victory. Only Launch, Jaap, and the Stig participated the last time out. The Stig finished 7th and Jaap crashed out, so they’ll be looking for some redemption. Jamonito del Verde and Mater were the other two drivers on the podium.

SBMRL @ Magny-Cours