The Classic Indycar series recently visited Twin Ring Motegi for round 4 of the series. A fast paced race that had seen victory and strategy put to the test.
Continuing with the series Robert Grosser Founder of the Classic Indycar series, racer and reporter has all of the details to bring you up to speed on the event. A very busy guy indeed but his passion for racing and harmony with the CIS community should be applauded.
After analysis of the race, Robert Grosser has all the details “The Classic Indycar Series visited Japan for its Round 4 from Twin Ring Motegi. This Oval offered a tough challenge to all competitors with its unique design. Raceday started with foggy weather early on during practice, however with increasing air temperatures as time progressed, the fog slowly disappeared and the actual race took place under a nice blue sky. The hot track temperatures made the challenge even bigger, as everyone was desperately searching for grip.
Championship contender Joshua Chin (Team Chimera) qualified on pole position, joined by Randy Shemake (Aero-X) on the front row. All 21 drivers who posted a quali time, stayed within 1 second. Another 4 drivers had to start from pit lane (penalties from previous races), making it a 25-car grid to take the green flag. After a clean start, the first caution came out after 28 laps and Andrew Aitken (Aero-X, started from pitlane) was already up to P19 at that time. Shewmake had taken over the lead and went on to stay there to lead the most laps of the race. The second caution came out on lap 59, putting an end to Lucas Laville’s (Vortex SimRacing) race. Again most of the drivers went to pits, as having fresh tires was crucial. Aitken just reached a TOP10 position and we should keep an eye on him.
After the restart, drivers kept it green for almost 100 laps and we saw some green-flag pit-stops with some variation in strategy, as some drivers tried an undercut to gain time on fresh rubber over those, who stayed out on a light car (but with worn tires)… Chin was among those, who stretched their fuel load as much as possible, which handed the lead back to him until he also needed fresh fuel.
Another caution on lap 148 put an unfortunate end to some alternate strategies, as again everyone went to pits and was good on fuel from there till the end. On the restart, Aitken was leading for the first time, gaining 24 positions on his way! The lead has been traded between Aitken, Chin, and Willi Schwabauer (Iconic Motorsports) until the next caution came out in lap 170. Another strategy gamble saw only a handful of drivers going for fresh rubber, while others preferred to keep their track position. Aitken was among them who opted for fresh rubber and dropped to P7. It took him 15 laps to fight his way back to the lead, when he passed Chin.
The TOP3 seemed to be settled at that time, but Schwabauer took P2 away from Chin. Behind the TOP3 it was a train of Vortex SimRacing cars to fight their way up to P4 (Jan Hoffmann), P5 (Marshall Stanley) and P6 (Robert Grosser). The countdown for the 2-hour time limit was ticking down rapidly, but the race was expected to finish on laps with maybe 30 seconds left on the clock. However on lap 198 another caution came out and as a result, the race had to end behind the pace car and the time expired with only 200 (of 201) laps completed. The last time that a CIS race went into the time limit was June 2018 at The Milwaukee Mile.
Aitken celebrated his maiden win big time. Often he came close, and he even secured 3 polepositions, but during his 57th race nobody could stop him. Even more impressive is the fact, that Aitken was among the drivers who had to start from pitlane. Definitely, a day to remember for the Scotsman!
You can watch the entire race with the original Racespot commentary on May 16th, 18:00 GMT on ESTV!”
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