NOMAD iRacing 2019 Bathurst 12hr Race report

9th February 2019 by Simon Underhill
Category: Endurance
Drivers: Barry Baird Tony Baird Niklas Hjelm

2019 Bathurst 12hr NOMAD Sim Racing Team Blue - Car #621

Team Blue chose to go with the Mercedes AMG GT3 since it looked like it had good overall speed and all of the drivers had some prior experience with the AMG. Pre-Race testing had gone really smooth with hundreds of laps layed down resulting in zero changes to the setup and everybody had a good feeling for the cars balance and speed.

Tony Bairds iRating was enough to get into split 4 out of 16 with 32 GT3s and 20 Porsches on the grid. Tony ended up with the responsibility to qualify the car. A 1:59.730 on his first lap was enough for an excellent 3rd place on the grid. Qualifying being pretty important, since passing is hard at Mount Panorama and it´s riskier in the midfield and the back than towards front.

The plan for the race was to stay out of trouble and take as little risk as possible. Tony started the race and it was somewhat of a repeat from Daytona 24hr, with severe blinking, this time from Tonys due to a connection issue. He managed to keep it in 3rd and complete his first stint with out loosing the connection completely and without loosing much time to 1st and 2nd with great pace. At that point a lot of cars behind already had issues and dropped back somewhat. For the second stint Niklas Hjelm took control of the #621 car whilst Tony tried to sort his connection out. Coming out 4th on track, some cars double stinting the tires, Team Blue had chosen a conservative tire strategy changing every stop. Niklas had decent speed as well but had a couple of small issues with back-markers making questionable moves. The AMG is a strong car though and Niklas managed to keep on going with minor body damage front and rear.

After the second stop Tony came out in 2nd place due to drivers in front making mistakes and hitting the wall. Now began a battle of lap times with Sam Sutton in the Simworx TTL Esports #12 Ferrari that went on for several stints until Tony managed to make a pass on the 180th lap in a spectacular way. A couple of laps after that the #12 car crashed out and wasn't to be seen for the rest of the race.

Then it was the turn of Barry Baird to take over the car. He as well had massive pace and drove great. The drivers took turns with double stints building a big gap to the rest. At one point they had a lap on the whole field. Disaster was close though when Barry suffered a technical hardware issue, freezing his screen. Fortunately it happened on the Conrod straight and the car bounced of the concrete wall at 225kph at a shallow angle. Barry pitted the car with 1min plus of optional repairs. Luckily the team kept 1st place and cruised to victory. Team Blue is unbeaten in the 2 races they've competed in so far in 2019 and hopes to keep the winning streak going at the iRacing Sebring 12hr Endurance in early March.

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