Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car of choice for Dan Dracea and Robin Nordbøen in Sunday’s Prologue.
PitStops.ro’s simracing team, PitStops.ro Racing, will race six times on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife Combined VLN circuit during the next five months. The team has registered for the unofficial Winter VLN series, with the first race to take place this Sunday.
After successful entries in four of the nine rounds of the official iRacing VLN Endurance Championship in 2017, team manager Dan Dracea decided to register the team for the Winter VLN championship. 60 teams from five different car classes will take part in the unofficial but very popular series which starts with a Prologue on November 19th and ends with the final race on March 10th.
After racing in the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup car during the year, the team has opted for arguably the toughest car-track combination for the Winter VLN and will race in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup for the whole championship. A custom livery has been created for with this in mind, the PitStops.ro red and black combining for a great visual treat.
“After gaining the necessary experience in the MX-5 during the year, I thought I’d take the challenge further in the Winter VLN,” Dracea says. „That’s why I opted for the 911, a powerful car that is a real handful to drive on such a demanding circuit as the Ring.”
He will not be alone, though. Norwegian Robin Nordbøen will pair up with Dan during the demanding 4h/6h races, with Romanian professional tennis player and keen simracer Florin Mergea acting as a reserve driver. The team will run with car #128.
“Obviously driving alone for 4h is tough, but it was manageable in the Mazda. The challenge the Porsche car offers is far greater though, and having two or three drivers available was a must for me,” Dracea says. Nordbøen is going to take control of the car in the Prologue race, which will only act as a 1h training race for the next five points-scoring races.
“Since it’s only a 1h race, it will be a great opportunity for Robin to learn to cope in heavy traffic. Having 60 cars on track – of which 47 of equal or less power than us – is quite challenging and different from the practice sessions we did until now.”
Dracea admits practice has gone well, with the team focusing on one-lap pace as well as long-runs and setup tweaking. “We found out that we have similar pace, which is always a good thing. We have two different driving styles and that might be interesting to see evolve. Hopefully we can learn things off one another as we race.”
Nordbøen, who took the time to do most of the setup work to the car, is optimistic: “I’ve taken the opportunity to learn how to set the car up myself, which in turn has made me understand how the car works under the hood. I’m quite pleased with the result.”
“I just started simracing recently, and already being part of something like this is equally terrifying and exciting, so I have to thank Dan for making me a part of this. Practice has gone well, and even though it was tough at first, I started to feel comfortable wrestling this beast of a car around the ‘Green Hell’.”
The Winter VLN is a private championship hosted on iRacing’s service alongside its many official series. Simracers often opt for these kind of “leagues” where the bonds between drivers become stronger and a real sense of a community forms around the championship.
Organizer of the Winter VLN, Juri Jerg, says the idea for the championship came as the official iRacing series was ending. “My first thoughts about this series came in early September, when I realized that the official iRacing VLN was going to end soon. The plan was to organize a league that tries to imitate the real VLN as well as possible and give all the participants a chance to prepare for the official iRacing VLN in 2018.”
Demand for the league exceeded expectations, he says. “We weren’t sure if any teams will register, but when the SP9 class filled in 2 minutes I knew that this series will be something special. I’m looking up to the big series like DGFX or NEO and will try to bring the Winter VLN on the same level, even though this is my first series ever to organise.”
Full Winter VLN Calendar:
- 19.11.2017 // Prologue – 1h
- 02.12.2017 // Round 1 – 4h
- 20.01.2018 // Round 2 – 4h
- 03.02.2018 // Round 3 – 4h
- 24.02.2018 // Round 4 – 6h
- 10.03.2018 // Round 5 – 4h
Sunday, November 19 2017, sessions (EET):
- Open Practice // 13.00 – 14.30
- Qualifying // 14.30 – 15.45
- Formation Lap // 15.45 – 16.00
- Race Start // 16.00 (60min)
- SP9: Mercedes AMG GT3 / Ferrari 488 GT3
- SP7: Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
- SP6: Kia Optima
- SP5: Ford Mustang FR500S
- SP3: Global Mazda MX-5 Cup
PitStops.ro Racing’s team can be followed on Sunday through Dan’s Twitch stream, which will start broadcasting around 12:30 – 13:00 (EET).