This weekend, the ISOWC Sim Racing Series and its drivers will be heading to the Sunshine State for its second race of the season at iRacing’s virtual Sebring International Raceway.
The 40-lap race, which will take place on June 5, will test the skills of drivers and teams alike due to the bumps and the differences between corners, according to Watkins Glen race winner Valtteri Alander.
"Sebring provides some really nice challenges as there's so much difference between corners and the same applies for the different parts of the track,” said Alander. “You have parts where the track is smoother and others are a lot bumpier. You have fast corners but there's also slow ones so you have to balance the setup in the right way.”
Brandon Traino, who won his third consecutive iRacing Open Indianapolis 500 last month, said he was focusing on long-run pace for this round. The Apex Racing Team with Team I5G driver had won in the iRacing 12 Hours of Sebring with Scott McLaughlin a few months ago.
“One major thing has been trying to make the tires last the entire run in hotter track temperatures,” said Traino. “We are hoping it's a hot race because we feel really confident about our pace there.”
Team Talent’s Philip Kraus said his preparation for the event went decently. He said it was really difficult to set the car up for Sebring due to the bumps and the downforce levels.
“It's a fun, but challenging track,” said Kraus. “It’s really easy to get caught out here, much more so than at Watkins for sure. I think you'll see a different mix of drivers battling it out this week compared to last just because of how different it is.”
Drivers at Watkins Glen were able to make both tire compounds work during the opening round of the season. Kraus does not expect the same at Sebring.
“At Watkins Glen, people were able to make both tire compounds work, but I'm not sure yet if it'll be the same case here,” said Kraus. “If it is, it'll definitely be interesting as the handling changes throughout a stint on reds are pretty drastic.”
Alander said he expected the strategy to depend a lot on the weather for the race.
“We got a lot lower temperatures at Watkins Glen than we anticipated and it might have changed the strategy for some of the drivers,” said Alander. “I think it will be the same case here. Also, the track profile and corner types are different so that's also one factor to think about.”
Alander said he hopes his qualifying performance would be stronger at Sebring compared to Watkins Glen. He said it “plays such and important role in the race” and affects how the strategy will go.
“I really don't want to think about the race too much,” said Alander. “First, we need to do good in qualifying. I hope the race pace is there where it should be but this is a completely different kind of track compared to Watkins Glen so you never know what the situation might be.”
Kraus said he was not sure what to expect for the race.
“I'd love to be where I was last race qualifying near the front and racing near the front, but with the amount of talent on the grid I can't say with any certainty I'll be able to repeat Round 1's success,” said Kraus. “It'll be an exhausting race for sure with how much you have to muscle the car around here. I'd expect a lot of single car incidents as runs wear on.”
Traino’s expectations for the race are to finish clean.
“We got forced into a really bad situation on lap 4 and had some dust ups throughout the race (at Watkins Glen),” said Traino. I just need to keep it clean and come home with a solid finish to work on my points deficit.”
Live coverage of the second round of the ISOWC starts at 5:50pm UTC on RaceSpot TV.
This report was written by Justin Prince.