For the first time in the Retro Series presented by DMLC Racing Channel history the Lotus 79’s will roar to life down under at Phillip Island. Located in Victoria Australia the 2.762-mile 12 turn circuit has hosted everything from Supercars through Formula 4 and thanks to the technology of iRacing, the Lotus 79.
While this may be the first running of the Retro Series at Phillip Island, it is no stranger to the Lionheart Racing Series powered by HyperX. Phillip Island was run 3 consecutive years in Seasons 3 through 6. It produced 3 different winners with Jake Wright winning the inaugural running and Dan Geren wining in Season 5 and Adam Blocker in Season 6.
The Round 6 event will complete the first third of the season and the championship battle remains tight as ever. Defending series champion Ryan Otis sits just 10 points back of Sage Karam. Finian Dcunha sits just 40 points back from Karam in 5th place. Lionel Calisto jumped 10 positions after his big win at Pocono and now sits 6th overall.
The Team Championship presented by HyperX also remains close through the first 5 rounds. Raven Motorsports continues its winning tradition as both Raven Silver and Black hold on to the top two positions in the standings. It’s still anyone’s championship to win as the top 5 teams are separated by just 66 points.
The FISCH Motors Grand Prix of Phillip Island will be broadcast live on May 28th 2020 on the iRacing eSports Network courtesy of the Global Sim Racing Channel. Coverage begins at 9:35 pm CST.
For more information on FISCH Motors visit www.fischmotors.com
For more information on the Lionheart Racing Series powered by HyperX visit www.lionheartracingseries.com
An argument could be made that Ridin’ Shotgun Motorsports was the unluckiest team in the Lionheart Racing Series powered by HyperX.
The man they call Little Train, Lionel Calisto, withstood a one-lap shootout to capture his first win in the Lionheart Retro Series presented by DMLC Racing Channel, and the first victory for his team, taking the win in the Watchman 250 presented by DMLC Racing Channel at Pocono Raceway Thursday night.
“This is unbelievable,” Calisto said. “Just incredible, I’m speechless.”
Calisto outlasted the field in a carnage-filled event, the first of the Triple Crown events in the Retro Series, as just 12 cars finished, and not all got away clean.
“It’s our first win as a team here,” said Calisto, a regular challenger in The Majors series with his team.
The race was shaping up for an exciting finish, with only defending series champion Ryan Otis among the top 15 drivers having previously secured a win.
But Dean Moll lost the back end of the car trying to pass Calisto in turn three with five laps remaining, collecting Otis, Jorge Anzaldo and David Clymer as well.
That setup the final sprint to the line, but neither Aaron Morgan nor Chris Ragan could find the momentum to make a move.
“I had that sweet spot on the high line,” Calisto said. “It just worked in turn three. I was just hoping I could hold it and it got us back to the line.”
Morgan jumped two spots in the points, up to third and just 23 out of the championship lead with his second place, yet another podium in a strong season. Morgan leads the series with four top 10 finishes in five starts.
“I said I was going to follow up in one and get a good run, and pass him in the tunnel and hold in in turn three and hopefully he doesn’t get run on me,” Morgan said of the final lap. “I knew I needed to go high in turn three and for some reason, the golden moment came and I had him cleared and didn’t take it.”
Ragan was thrilled to capture his first podium in the Retro Series.
“I thought I could get a good run on that restart,” Ragan said of his first podium finish. “But once I realized I wasn’t going to get to the lead, I just focused on keeping Finian (D’Cunha) behind me.”
Championship points leader Sage Karam went out early, as did George Sandman, who fell from second to fourth in the standings after the race.
No single driver dominated the event. In a 100 lap racer, an astonishing seven drivers led at least 10 laps. Moll (16) led the most, but Calisto, Dustin Wardlow, Mike Rigney, Paul Jenkins, Otis and Jason Bosse also led double digit laps.
Karam leads Otis by 10 points, with Morgan 13 back of the lead in third. Sandman sits fourth, with Finian D’Cunha fifth. Little Train moved up to sixth, gaining 10 spots with his double points win.
The Lionheart Retro Series presented by DMLC Racing Channel next heads to the land down under, and Phillip Island Circuit, for the Fisch Motors Grand Prix of Phillip Island, set for Thursday, May 28. The race can be seen live on the iRacing eSports Network with Global SimRacing Channel producing the show at 10:35 p.m. EST.
With four rounds in the books the series looks forward to the first of its 3 big races for the 2020 Season. Back again for the fourth straight year Pocono will present a difficult challenge for the drivers as it has each season. Located in the Pocono Mountains in Long Pond, Pennsylvania and known as the “Tricky Triangle” Pocono Raceway is unique in that each corner is modeled after a turn at a different track.
Turn one features 14 degrees of banking and is modeled after Trenton Speedway. Turn two also known as the tunnel turn is modeled after the Indianapolis Motor Speedway features 9 degrees of banking. Turn three with its 6 degrees of banking is modeled after the Milwaukee Mile. Pocono Raceway is definitely unique in its design as it presents so many challenges to drivers as well as race engineers trying to master a setup for 3 entirely different corners.
This difficulty has translated into the sim as the Retro Series has had its share of ups and downs at the famous track. Last season saw the most cautions ever at Pocono for the series with a total of 9 for 26 laps. The Lotus 79 becomes alive as the fuel load decreases which tends to give the car more oversteer. For the drivers the car can feel like its on the razors edge but typically rewards the most talented drivers who can master both the car and the track.
Pocono has also had its share of excitement over the last two seasons with dramatic photo finishes. Season 2 saw Adam Blocker win over Dustin Wardlow by just 0.010 seconds. Last year Sandman won over defending series champion Ryan Otis by 0.030 seconds.
Series points leader Sage Karam is on a hot streak of late winning the last 3 Retro Series events. If Sage finds a way to win at Pocono, he will become the only driver in Lionheart Racing Series powered by HyperX history to accomplish this goal. A feat that has not been done in close to 6 years of competition.
The championship battle for 2020 has definitely taken a turn as 2018 season runner up Alex Saunders has withdrawn from the remainder of the season. Many drivers will certainly be looking to take advantage in his absence and try to establish themselves as championship contenders.
The Watchman 250 Presented by the DMLC Racing Channel will take place live May 14th 2020 on the iRacing eSports Network courtesy of the Global Sim Racing Channel.
Race coverage begins at 9:35 PM CST.
For more information on the DMLC Racing Channel visit Facebook @TheDMLCRacingChannel
For more information on the Lionheart Racing Series powered by HyperX visit www.lionheartracingseries.com
Race Link: https://youtu.be/iiqDqYcPd_I
Sage Karam warned the field. The NTT IndyCar Series driver said after his Donington Park win two weeks ago that Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Canada was his favorite track.
Thursday night, Karam showed why.
Karam joined Alex Saunders as the only drivers in Lionheart Retro Series presented by DMLC Racing Channel history to capture three consecutive wins, leading all but two laps in the HPP Grand Prix of Mosport.
“I love this place, love coming to this track, I raced here in real life and have fond memories,” Karam said. “It was a fun race, a fun setup. The car was easier to drive than I thought it was going to be.”
Karam captured the pole by nearly a half-second, and set sail early. The only question was fuel consumption, with the race teetering on a one-stop window. After pitting on lap 25, Karam conceded the lead to defending series champion Ryan Otis for two laps.
After Otis pit, Karam focused on opening up a large gap and then saving fuel through the final laps, crossing the line 5.8 seconds ahead of Otis, and with enough fuel to celebrate.
“I was kinda worried about it early,” Karam said of a one-stop race. “But when they got together I started saving, and that helped. I saved the whole last stint.”
Otis had an adventurous race, first dropping a tire and nearly wrecking on lap three. Saunders had to drive off-track to avoid Otis in the turn three slide, and fell back to sixth in the process.
After pit stops, Saunders overtook Otis - who did not need to save fuel - and was holding off the 2019 champion and Mosport winner when the duo closed in on the lapped car of Paul Jenkins late in the race.
As they entered the tricky turn five, known as Moss Corner, Jenkins slowed and forced Saunders to check up. Otis, with a ton of momentum, couldn’t slow in time and plowed into Saunders' right rear tire.
Otis miraculously survived with no nose damage, while Saunders was forced to retire, a crushing blow to his championship hopes.
“I feel so terrible, I’ve apologized to Alex multiple times now,” Otis said. “I know we caught lapped traffic. I wasn’t trying to pass, we were just flowing into the corner and it stacked up. I should’ve anticipated it.”
Aaron Morgan again was Mr. Consistency, navigating the Otis and Saunders incidents, as well as avoiding a sliding Jason Bosse and challenges from Dustin Wardlow and a fuel-starved George Sandman to take the final podium spot.
“That was a lot like Donington where there was just stuff happening all around,” Morgan said. “Just survived, one of my favorite tracks.”
Bosse held on for fourth, while Wardlow finally got the bad luck monkey off his back to finish fifth.
Sandman, who entered the night five points behind Karam in the championship battle, ran out of fuel in the final two corners and coasted home in sixth.
Eleven cars finished on the lead lap, while 23 of the 30 drivers to take the green made it to the end.
Finian D’Cunha might have secured the lucky driver of the year award at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.
After dropping a tire in the opening corner and spinning across the track in front of half the field, D’Cunha was hit hard by rookie Bruno Miranda.
Miranda was forced to retire, while D’Cunha did an airborne 360 degree spin and continued.
Just 12 laps later, D’Cunha again spun on the exit of turn three. This time, it was James Paulson who could not avoid him. Paulson jumped over the nose of D’Cunha, flipping into the wall and ending his race. D’Cunha again managed to survive, missing half his front wing, but still drove the crippled car home in 13th.
Ryan Cornes and Greg West also saw their nights end in separate crashes in The Esses.
Karam’s points lead jumped to 25 over Sandman, with Otis moving around Saunders into third. Morgan jumped up two spots to fifth in the standings, 63 back of the lead.
Karam has won five of the last seven events in the Lionheart Racing Series powered by HyperX, having captured two IndyCar victories in the last six weeks as well.
The Lionheart Retro Series presented by DMLC Racing Channel returns to the track, and to oval racing, at Karam’s home track, Pocono Raceway, on Thursday, May 14. The Watchman 250 presented by DMLC Racing Channel is the first leg of the Retro Series Triple Crown, and is set for a 10:35 p.m. EST start on the iRacing eSports Network, with Global SimRacing Channel producing the broadcast.