The Classic IndyCar Series recently visited Road America in iRacing. With the championship hunt as close as ever, the penultimate round kept the pressure on.
Recently in the Classic IndyCar series in iRacing, this great league visited Road America for a showdown which was closing in not only for the championship but also for the season.
Throughout the whole year, we have seen great drivers and contenders battle it out on track with shock victories, unforeseen DNF results and a rollercoaster for the championship.
If there was one place to be that keeps you on the edge of your seat as a viewer watching sim racing, Classic IndyCar Series would be the place to be.
This season to say the least has been a barnstormer, coming off the back of last year’s series, that is a huge compliment as 2020 for CIS was amazing.
Defending Champion Lucas Laville has the full report for Road America
Round 11 of the 2021 Classic IndyCar Series took us to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, for the final road race of the season and penultimate round of a year that, so far, brought us plenty of action and excitement.
The three championship contenders were looking to put themselves in a position of strength coming up to the final stretch. And qualifying was the first clue that things are far from being settled.
Joshua Chin took his fifth pole position of the year, by a whopping half a second over his Team Chimera teammate Jamie Wilson. The squad looked to be dominant after the hotlapping session, as their third engaged driver, Andrew Wood, put himself P5 on the grid.
Road specialists and series rookies, Tuomas Mustanen (Iconic Motorsports) and Julien Altena (Velocity Online Racing) formed the second row. Meanwhile, championship leader Ethan Agan was stuck at the back of the grid with a rear-of-grid penalty for the second race in a row. Lucas Laville could not do any better than sixth.
The action happened right from the start, as Altena misjudged his braking point into T1 and bumped into the back of Wilson, sending the Brit into the outside sand trap. The stricken #87 contracted rear end damage as a result.
Although he could manage to keep his race going, he had more issues later in the stint, had to take an early stop, and ended up out of contention very early. Surprise 7th place starter Logan Simmons also ended up in the sand, although this time he was all by himself.
After a very good scrap of several laps with defending series champion Laville, the Iconic Motorsports representative spun coming into Canada Corner, losing a bunch of positions. He retired a few laps later with more issues.
Other upper midpack starters facing issues or retirement early were Martijn Joon or Marshall Stanley, both having trouble on corner exit losing the back end of their Dallara IR-05.
Meanwhile, the leading duo of Joshua Chin and Tuomas Mustanen managed to escape the rest of the field, having dodged all the early trouble and were having a close battle, even though Chin kept the lead the whole stint.
They were the only two drivers consistently running in the 1:44 range, while behind them, the rest of the top 5 of Altena, Willi Schwabauer, Andrew Wood stayed in the mid to low 1:45.
Laville was unable to keep the pace in front, however, and dropped back in no-man’s-land, having already created a gap to Vortex SimRacing teammates Robert Grosser and Jan Hoffmann.
Behind them, a battle raged in the midpack, with drivers like Randy Shewmake,Karsten Brodowy, Marshall Stanley, Hannes Pitkänen, Franz Josef Stumm, Andrew Aitken, or Vesa Jylhä-Ollila all having great scraps at some point, giving pretty much the whole field some good TV time.
The pit stop window opened on lap 18 with Joshua Chin leading the whole field in the lane. Thus the running order stayed close to unchanged, except for one big exception: Andrew Wood had a big unforced error coming into the pit lane, locking the rear brakes and spinning into the tire wall, ending his day on the spot.
Big shame for the Team Chimera driver, who had a very good top 5 all but in the bag already.
Right after the pit stop sequence, 2nd place Mustanen had his own unforced error, spinning on cold tires, thus falling back from Chin massively. The latter managed to completely pull away after that, and turned on cruise control for the rest of the race, being virtually untouchable.
The mid part of the race was still animated all across the field, with Altena, Mustanen and Schwabauer all putting laptime pressure at each other for the remaining two steps of the podium.
The biggest and longest battle however was for P7 and involved Jan Hoffmann and Ethan Agan, who was displaying once again a great recovery drive. This battle was important for the championship, as any point could be a decider at Indianapolis.
Being a Vortex SimRacing teammate to contender Lucas Laville, the German put on a great defensive effort to held Agan behind for more than 12 laps, only losing the spot a couple of laps before the Simulation Racing Council driver had to come into pit lane for his second and final stop of the day, 5 laps earlier than the rest of the pack.
Upfront, Chin was the first one to bite, pitting 2 laps earlier than everyone, and only lost the lead briefly. The rest of the front group then pitted and battles resumed quickly. However, Willi Schwabauer had his own issues with fresh rubber and lost a lot of time.
He fell back to Laville during the next stretch of laps, and these two were racing for fourth with seven laps to go. The track had cooled off during the race, the lower-downforce Vortex Simracing machine was able to follow easier in dirty air, and the suddenly competitive Frenchman could complete the pass with 5 laps to go.
Behind, Hoffmann and Grosser managed to give themselves some cushion after Ethan Agan pitted earlier, and had their own intra-team, 100% German battle for 7th, with the 3-time series Champ prevailing.
Joshua Chin dominated the whole 50 lap event, and collected all available points as well as his 4th win of the season, leading all but one lap in the final pit cycle, as well as set the fastest lap of the race, being the only driver hitting the 1:43 lap time range.
Rookies Julien Altena and Tuomas Mustanen completing the podium. Alongside Schwabauer, these two drivers will be forces to be reckoned with, should they decide to return for future campaigns.
The battle for the title will be even tighter than the previous season, which already was as a winner-takes-all affair as it could be. The top 3 of Agan, Laville and Chin will be separated by only 6 points coming into pole day for the 2021 CIS Indianapolis 500.
Pressure will be maxed for these 3 racers who have been upfront most of the year, and the season finale will definitely be one race not to miss.
Rookie of the year Willi Schwabauer took a strong option on 4th place. He is too far away from the top 3 to have a realistic chance at grabbing the crown, but he did give himself a nice 17 point cushion behind him.
The battle for the top 5 will also be a great story to follow, as we now have 3 drivers within 3 points, and 5 drivers within 18 points. Involved in this fight are Jan Hoffmann, Robert Grosser and Marshall Stanley for Vortex SimRacing, Andrew Wood for Team Chimera, and Andrew Aitken for Aero-X.
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