Tag Archives: Japan

Suzuka Recap

The SMBRL headed to Japan for the third leg of the 2017-18 season, to race Suzuka International Racing Course.  The day was cool with some morning rain, but the skies held back in the afternoon for what would ultimately be a dry race.  Here’s how the starting grid looked:

P1 – Stevie Wondertyres (Jason)
P2 – Bubba McQueen (Barb)
P3 – Captain Slow (Jason)
P4 – The Stig (Jason)
P5 – Whiplash (Frank)
P6 – Launch Bornado (Barb)
P7 – Jaap Snellrijder (Frank)
P8 – Sheila Dinkum (Frank)

A clean start to the race saw the front four jockeying for position through the first turn and then into the “Esses”.  The Regency Motors pair of Jaap and Sheila couldn’t quite figure anything out in the same stretch, failing to make up any ground even on Launch Bornado.

The first key moment of the race was the beautifully approach to the Degner Curve taken by Bubba and The Stig.  Both drivers hit the corner just right, leaving Captain Slow and Stevie to watch as they established an early lead.  They carried that momentum into the hairpin and on through Spoon.  By the time they hit 130R, they were seemingly miles ahead.

For their part, Captain Slow and Stevie did their best to keep the leading pair in their sights.  They were adept enough at it that the entire field eventually separated into pairs.  Launch and Whiplash were chasing Stevie while Jaap and Sheila were falling further behind and just hoping to have a clean enough lap to catch up at the pits.

Unfortunately, nearly everyone in front of them had run fairly clean, too.  Only Stevie opted to pit for fresh tires, meaning that the rest of the field plowed on to the second lap with nary a thought for those poor sods at the back.  The poorest of the sods was Jaap, who had pushed his car enough on the first lap to have to pit from last place.

Meanwhile, back at the front of the field, Bubba began to pull away from the Stig.  After hitting all the corners just right on the first lap, Bubba was putting in a repeat performance on lap 2.  The Stig was doing all he could to keep up, while at the same time starting to feel some pressure from Captain Slow behind him.  Whiplash had passed his teammate while Stevie was in the pits, putting Sprite Racing in 4th and 5th.

It was again the Degner Curve that allowed the Stig to get the separation from Captain Slow that he needed.  That solidified his 2nd place position, but with Bubba not putting a foot wrong, there was little that could be done beyond just keeping up in Spoon.  Degner was, incidentally, also the place where Launch managed to catch up with Whiplash and Stevie, leaving Sheila put out.

At last, Bubba and the Stig began their drag race through 130R and into the final chicane, this being the last ditch chance for the Stig to snatch victory from Bubba.  The Stig, being the true racer that he is, was not going to settle for 2nd if there was a shot at victory, so he gunned it and flew past Bubba.  Unfortunately, it was a bit too much, and he couldn’t control his car on the exit, his car crashing into the barriers just as he was entering the approach to the checkered flag.

Bubba cruised past with the win in hand, and then Captain Slow came charging down 130R and into the chicane as well.  With Whiplash and Stevie behind him and the finish line in sight, his engine failed catastrophically.  He was so close he could’ve pushed his car over the line, and what was looking like a double podium finish for Scandinavian Blitz turned into complete disaster.  The rest of the field came home in undramatic fashion, with no true fights remaining for position.

Final Results

Driver Start Lap Finish
Bubba McQueen (FR) 2 1 1
Whiplash (SR) 5 4 2
Stevie Wondertyres (SR) 1 5 3
Launch Bornado (FR) 6 6 4
Sheila Dinkum (RM) 8 7 5
Jaap Snellrijder (RM) 7 8 6
Captain Slow (SB) 3 3 7, dnf
The Stig (SB) 4 2 8, dnf

Bubba had a dominating race that would’ve been a complete walk in the park if it hadn’t been for The Stig racing nearly as well.  It’s Bubba’s first win and second podium.  After a 3rd place finish in Austin, Whiplash goes one better here.  Stevie gets his first podium, meaning that his is also Sprite Racing’s first double podium finish.

There’s really not much more that can be said for Captain Slow and the Stig.  They raced brilliantly until it all fell apart at the end, making it that much harder to deal with.  Jaap had his most forgettable race, never challenging for anything other than 2nd to last place.

At a team level, Force Ravenswood have their best result after recording their second consecutive victory.  Sprite Racing, as mentioned above, had their best result as well.

Race Gallery

Suzuka Preview

The SBMRL heads to Japan to race Suzuka International Racing Course for leg 3 of the 2017-18 season.  This will be the first time that we race at Suzuka, so it’s anyone’s guess how the drivers will take to unique track configuration.  Originally designed in the early 1960’s as a test track for Honda, it first hosted an official Formula 1 Grand Prix in 1987.


The first thing anyone notices about Suzuka is the unique figure eight track arrangement.  None of the other tracks the SBMRL has ever raced at is like it.  The pit straight isn’t particularly long but the starting grid is pushed to the back of it.  This means that even those on the front row will have to get up to a minimum of 3rd gear before they will reach the first corner.  It’s a long, forgiving right hander that will allow the back of the grid to approach it aggressively.

This is followed by the famous “S” Curves, which wouldn’t be too much trouble to navigate without traffic.  However, with the field all bunched together this will likely be a prime location for potential collisions.  The Dunlop Curve can be taken flat out before the Degner Curve closes out the first sector.

The second sector is fairly short, with the Hairpin Curve coming shortly after passing under the overpass.  There’s then a moderately long straight before the Spoon Curve.  Hitting Spoon just right will be key to posting a fast lap, as the exit of Spoon takes cars onto the extremely long straight containing 130R and the bridge.

130R marks the start of sector three, and can be taken flat out.  Any slowness coming out of Spoon will kill a good lap time.  The lap finishes with the chicane at Casio Triangle, another slow point on the track.  The chicane does make taking the pit straight at speed a bit more challenging, which will make the option to pit slightly more appealing if anyone is uncertain.

Starting Grid

After a second consecutive 2nd place finish Sheila Dinkum is the current leader in the driver standings and will therefore start at the back of the grid.  At the front of the grid, Stevie Wondertyres will line up on pole with Bubba McQueen alongside him.

  1. Stevie Wondertyres (SR)
  2. Bubba McQueen (FR)
  3. Captain Slow (SB)
  4. The Stig (SB)
  5. Whiplash (SR)
  6. Launch Bornado (FR)
  7. Jaap Snellrijder (RM)
  8. Sheila Dinkum (RM)

Pit selection will be in order of team standings, which leaves us with the following:

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

No driver has Japan as their home race this season.