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Note: This post was created 4/9/2010 about a race which happened on 4/30/1999. IGPS was the first simracing league I ever joined and this was my second season. It should be noted that the video is created from the server replay and that my ping to the server was probably about 0.3 seconds at the time (I was located in England, the server was somewhere in the United States). This meant that the movements of the car were exaggerated and at times unrealistic to the view of the server and other drivers (some others also had a ping over 0.3s – meaning an in-race lag of 0.6s or more was common). The basic rules of the league (which changed for this second season) were that you could reset (get a fresh car) only if you did it in pitlane.

This race was supposed to be round five, but issues with the server meant it became round three. I had missed round two at Zandvoort.

This was the first race I ever did using manual gears, the only problem was that I was doing it wrong and had no idea. I was ‘flat shifting’ – which means I was not lifting off the throttle when I clicked the upshift button on my wheel. This led to a lot of engine failures and a lot of frustration until I discovered my error later in the season.

The switch to manual gears had really unlocked my speed. My first ever race with manual gears and I put the Honda on pole position at Silverstone with a 1:29.93!

I got a good start but dropped to third by the time we rounded the first turn. Around the first lap I closed in on Torsten Kuhnel in the BRM who was running second. I gained in every braking zone. Crossing the line to start lap two I ran close behind the leaders and was starting to get quite excited about my prospects for a race win.

Unfortunately, my thoughts betrayed me. Starting lap two I ran wide out of turn two and that led me to brake too late for turn three. I got back on-track quickly and with much frustration started to push the engine probably a lot harder than the flat shifting already was – managing to close in on the leaders in just a couple of braking zones.

With the leaders in sight, my engine blew. I coasted around a turn, under bridge and into pitlane where I could reset, dropping way down the field and into a good battle with a number of drivers.

I eventually caught Mark Davidson in the Eagle and passed him, but then I spun, so had to do it all over again. The second time things did not go to plan and I ran straight into the back of him after he braked way earlier than I had expected. We both careered off the race track, Mark was out and I was stuck on the fence and had to retire. My fault, obviously, but I felt so hugely disappointed and frustrated now…

I finished the race in 11th. After starting from pole and feeling quicker than anybody else out there, I could not have been more upset about the race.

The race was won by Matteo Calestani (again) in the Lotus.


Watch on Youtube.

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British-born U.S. Resident, Tim Wheatley, works for Image Space Inc., a developer of driver-in-the-loop simulation technology. He lives in Illinois with his wife and children.
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