Professional karter and Formula 4 racer Jordan Sherratt demonstrated incredible versatility as he dominated the third iteration of the Seagate Gaming Solidarity e-Race series. The recent round of the popular racing event took place at the virtual rendition of the Nürburgring Nordschleife over the past week.
Sherratt quickly got to grips with the daunting ‘Green Hell’ to secure the fastest time during the Hot Lap qualifying sessions and continued with leading performances through the quarter- and semi-finals. For the Grand Final, the drivers slotted in behind Sherratt, all of which would compete in a fixed set-up McLaren P1 GTR. Once again Jordan was the man to beat as he claimed pole position in his brutal P1 aiming to take a flag-to-flag victory in the six-lap Grand Final race.
With the preliminary heats only two laps, the final was a major step up in terms of concentration, race craft, tyre and battery conservation and strategy, but the opening lap of the 25km-long track looked more like a one-lap sprint with Chris Langeveldt, Julian Fameliaris and Leslie Oliphant in hot pursuit of Sherratt. At the end of lap 1, Sherratt managed to break away from the pack and create a five-second lead which continued to grow as the train of cars following him, battled for position. By lap 5 Oliphant and his McLaren, which had been put under pressure by Lorenzo Gualtieri for four laps, started to show signs of tyre fatigue and was unable to capitalise on the mistakes that were made by both Langeveldt and Fameliaris during the last lap.
Sherratt was the first to cross the finish line, 23 seconds ahead of second-place driver Langeveldt with Fameliaris taking third and Oliphant fourth. Gualtieri held it together to come in fifth place ahead of Robert Whiting which managed to keep, well-known race and rally driver, Charl Wilken behind him.
On a track, this complex and of this magnitude, completing one quick lap requires a huge amount of concentration and skill. To do it for six consecutive laps requires a lot of discipline and a calm temperament and Sherratt was rewarded for employing both by walking away with the R12 000 prize and an Afrihost 1GB fibre line and router for 12 months further adding to the cash rewards he earned during the Hot Lap sessions and staggering performances in the quarter- and semi-final races. Second and third positions in the Grand Final earned R7 000 and R3 500 respectively. The winner of the Plate Final, Brandon Kruger, walked away with R2 000 and a G-Force Sim Race Rig, narrowly escaping a last-lap incident. Close behind the flag-to-flag winner of the three-lap race was Mitchell Licen and Riaan Theunissen, who earned R1 000 and R500 for their second and third position results.
Sim racing is more than just fun and games, it requires sharp and forward-thinking drivers and the display that the talented drivers gave the fans during the recent event proved that this digital world will work hand in hand with the real track action in the future. Proving that innovative and sustainable collaboration between virtual and real-world racing is the recent motorsport commentator search that took place parallel to the recent event. Kyle Lawrence and George Smith rose to the top as commentating talents and could see a blossoming career in both the virtual and real-world racing industry. Volkswagen Motorsport Academy further demonstrates the collaboration of the two worlds as they rewarded youngster Arno Visagie, the best-placed sim racer, with a spot in their 2021 programme, where Arno will learn all the aspects of competition driving.
Over R70 000 worth of prizes were awarded during the last week and a share of the money raised by the team behind the Solidarity e-Race series will go to benefit the Solidarity Fund which aims to assist South Africans during this difficult time. Of course, none of this would be possible without the support from the event sponsors namely, Seagate Gaming, Afrihost, Data Sciences, Pure Storage, NEC and True Race.
If you are a simulation racing driver or just an enthusiast of motorsport in general, head over to www.solidarityerace.co.za or follow the Solidarity e-Race Facebook and YouTube pages to find out more about upcoming events and competitions.
Published by: Greg Moloney
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