A look back: 2014 GT World Series by New Dimension Racing
From the very day that New Dimension Racing announced 2014 GT World Series, everyone knew it would be a huge challenge. The multi-class racing would be a challenge, the tracks would be a challenge, the sheer race length would be a challenge, the competition would be a challenge but sadly, filling the grid would be a challenge, filling a team would be a challenge and staying motivated would be a challenge.
All of the few entrants were aware that this was the farewell to Live For Speed. Everyone wanted to give the game we love a dignified and competitive send off. But with the pessimism, it became very difficult to get enough drivers to commit to take on a series involving 6, 12 and 24 hour races.
SAVAGE SimSports entered the series with some fresh blood in the form of Jared Meade who joined after the disbandment of Angry Angus Racing, but SAVAGE also lost several drivers to other sims in the months leading to this World Series. Leading into Round 1, it appeared that one dose of fresh blood was not enough to overcome the drain. The team arrived in Westhill in a state of disarray, Jared Meade was confirmed to drive but was unable to secure any co-drivers until the final hours before qualifying. In the end, it would not matter; a lack of preparation and time spent trying to find co-drivers instead of testing lead to a failure to qualify. SAVAGE was forced to sit out Round 1 and watch from the sidelines. Senior drivers at SAVAGE reeled in disappointment for being unable to take part and help, other drivers shrugged in indifference and the new-comer wondered if he had made a mistake in choosing his new home.
Round 2 again saw some familiar problems with staffing a car. The 6 Hours of Blackwood was contested by Jared and Martin Kapal. Another rushed preparation lead to another poor qualifying session, however at least SAVAGE was on the grid. Martin steadily climbed through the grid and after 2 hours handed off to Jared. The climb continued as SAVAGE used pit strategy and safety cars to break into the top 3. Jared handed the car back to Martin in a podium position and in a late race scramble, Martin crossed the line in 2nd position
for SAVAGE’s podium of the series.
Round 3 in South City saw the return of Magnus Björndal to LFS competition after a year or more of time away. The start was disastrous as Jared was involved in a lap 1 accident, and then got tied up in more incidents after the safety car restart. More time was lost on car repairs but Martin was now in the car. Martin drove from 12th all the way to 3rd before Mangus took over with 2 hours remaining. The final hour saw chaos as a safety car bunched up the field with only minutes remaining. After the restart, the GT2 leader crashed, 2nd place got caught in traffic and the call came over Teamspeak: “Magnus, this is the final lap, car in front is for the win... repeat… car in front is for the win!” Sadly, the win did not come to fruition, but again SAVAGE finished in 2nd position
. The pain of Round 1 was all but a distant memory.
The 12 Hours of Aston was something unexpected: enough drivers to field 2 cars. SAVAGE was able to pull back some lapsed drivers along with Kevin Leu who wanted to take part. Unfortunately, the race would be seen as a lost opportunity, both cars suffered from technical problems; the primary car suffered an accident and lost a lap while being rescued from the gravel trap, meanwhile the secondary car had several problems, crashes, miscommunications and strategy problems and had to settle for 13th. The primary car finished 7th and walked away looking at what could have been, the way race was going a podium was very much in sight. [Race results
The series finale turned out to be the greatest test. The 24 Hours of Kyoto was a race with heavy expectations and heavy hearts. Unfortunately, SAVAGE once again found itself struggling to fill the drivers seat. The lead up to the race was filled with uncertainty with several drivers listed as “maybe” available right up to the final days. The more shocking part was that all of the maybes became unavailable and once again Jared found himself without any co-drivers. The following days consisted of messages, contacts, favours asked and lies told in order to fill the car with old team-mates, friends and friends of friends. The last driver was added to the line-up just 14 hours before the start. The resulting line-up had Jared Meade as the only SAVAGE driver grouped with Kevin Leu (Concept Racing), Lars Wylensek (Concept Racing), Yann Laprevotte (Tiger Express Motorsports) and Matthias Fieseler (Heros of Racing).
After a disappointing qualifying session, the race started well as Kevin Leu brought the car from the rear of the grid up to just outside the top 5. A few driver swaps later and the #56 was well in the top 3. The race was not all rosy however, the team suffered a timeout around the 9 hour mark that caused the car to lose a lap to the leaders but the team was able to squeak back onto the lead lap due to being off-sequence with the rest of the fields pit strategy just in time for the server to fail and cause a red flag. An hour later Jared took the restart from the 2nd position but was able to overtake the leading car and for one moment of triumph and glory, he led the World Series field in its premiere race. As the race continued, the car settled into a battle for 3th with CoRe Racing. The cars in front gained laps over SAVAGE due to the timing. As the hours ground on, the CoRe car pulled away and SAVAGE went into safety mode to just bring the car home with a 4th place finish.
The race did end with a 4th place
but more impressively the 3rd in the final series standings
. In retrospect, a championship was very much within reach if SAVAGE had managed to field a car for round 1 and if some mistakes had been reduced in round 4.
SAVAGE SimSports would like the thank Jared, Martin, Magnus, Roland, Ditlev, Juho, Kevin, Karl, Laury, Yann, Lars and Matthias for taking part in the series, the team would like to thank New Dimension Racing for all the hard work in organising the series, we would also like to thank all the other teams for taking part and providing the fun and fair competition.