Invictus Racing League – Round three in review – Iconic corners and eye catching battles

 

 

 

The ‘Land of the rising sun’ played host to round three of the Invictus Racing League this week, as Suzuka in Japan was the next stop on the 12 round calendar.

Bahrain and Spain had already produced so scintillating action, and with the prospect of the fast figure eight circuit highlighted by the iconic 130r, which sees the cars take the fast left hand turn at well over 190mph.

Japan has a tricky first sector, and only with one corner taken at less than 62mph, it is a fast and circuit that requires the upmost concentration for the whole duration of the 27 lap distance.

 

 

No Assist

BoyBetterKnowSB (Scott) had taken the first two wins of the season and led the driver’s standings by eight points to Scopefielder with the Swede having taken consecutive podiums behind the Englishman.

Qualifying saw a battle between team-mates as Delange93 and Scopefielder traded fastest lap times in the Red Bull. It was the Swede who would win out, but the two lock out the front row for Red Bull. Whilst behind the returning Philip_mcfc set a sparkling lap on the harder soft compound to qualify third ahead of Canadian Force India driver RickWR88.

The race started without a hitch for the majority of the field, and with Scopefielder building a two second lead over the first lap it seemed ominous for the rest of the grid to catch him.

The second lap saw a disaster for Delange as contact from Rick put the Red Bull into the wall and out of the race, Rick’s Force India then spun into Dunlop curve at collected the Renault of Nismax7. That seemed to unsight the second of the Renaults, as Gavpig and Stifler1980 came into contact and narrowly missed the stricken Force India.

Scopefielder stretched a lead out over the field, but without the rear gunner of Delange, it had allowed Phil, Scott and Speed_Queen to fight over the podium positions. They continued their battle throughout the pit-window, but much to their surprise the Williams of Samuthepito came up from 11th place and used the reverse strategy to move into second and well in striking distance of Scopefielder.

Moving onto the soft tyres Sam had optimal pace versus the mediums of Scopefielder as he quickly reeled in and passed the leader. He would then control the race from the front and gap a lead in excess of ten seconds over Scope who seemed to settle for second.

Scott had been fighting with Phil and Speed_Queen over what was now third to fifth, however a late mechanical failure saw the Mercedes hit the wall on the exit of 130r and retire in a damning blow to his early championship aspirations.

Sam would come across the line and take a dominant first victory within Invictus Racing League; he did superbly well to move up from eleventh, whilst Scopefielder and Speed_Queen made up the final places on the podium, with Speed_Queen using a late penalty for Phil to jump the impressive McLaren onto the podium.

In a race that saw six retirements, it was a masterful display from the Spanish driver. Sam has shown great speed since joining the league and the win seemed almost inevitable, but with Scott non scoring it blows the championship wide open as we head back to Europe and the Austrian Grand Prix.

 

Realistic Performance

Performance 1

Racing AaronStiff had shared both wins in the first two rounds of the season, but Craig8728 led the championship after a strong start to the season. The potential for a race to remember was definitely on the cards for the Performance 1 league, and with a number of drivers capable to win the race, it was a guessing game early on to decide who would be on the podium by the end of Tuesday night.

Using another excellent lap in qualifying, Aaron made it consecutive pole positions as he topped the timing sheets in his Force India. The team were delighted with his pace, but with the likes of BoyBetterKnowSB (Scott) alongside him in row one, and with SJD in third on the soft compound they looked to be a real threat to the pole-sitter.

The race began well for Aaron and Scott who get away well off the line, but a bad line into turn one disastrously dropped SJD back down to 12th position as the majority of the field streamed by the Renault. Scott made a move for the lead early on, and after getting his Toro Rosso to the front of the pack would stretch a two and half second lead early into the race.

Current driver’s leader Craig had started on the back row after a fault in qualifying, and after a group of cars ahead all caused chaos into the final chicane, Betrayer46 had come away with wing damage and as he tried to enter the pit-lane he collided with the tyre wall and with no-where to go, both Craig and Captain_Stiff careened into the rear end of the Haas with all three retiring abruptly on lap four.

xMIKexSI had made his way towards the front in the Ferrari, but contact with SirSpud early into the race had ended the Red Bull’s evening early at the final chicane. Mike shook off the initial remorseful reaction and got back on the pace and through the mid-point of the race made a move on Aaron for second position into turn one, and after contact with the Force India he muscled his way through.

Scott had a commanding lead at the front, and would come home unchallenged for his first win in Performance 1; the Toro Rosso didn’t put a foot wrong all night and made up for his disaster in No-Assists one night previous to take all 15 points.

Mike picked up a first podium of the season in the Ferrari ahead of SJD who will be happy with his third place after his disappointing start to the race.

Scott takes the lead in the championship after Craig and Stiff both retired, Aaron sits in second four points off the leader. Whilst in the constructors, it’s as you were with Know Nothing Racing leading Racing AaronStiff, but the pack is starting to catch up to the early leaders.

 

Performance 2

A small grid on Tuesday would only intensify the talent that was still on show. Scopefielder had set the early pace as he looks to retain his Performance 2 title, however it was Megglugpy who won last week in Spain, and the Brit would look at continuing that form after a poor round one saw him pick up only three points.

Qualifying saw a return to form for Nitrogash after what seems like months of bad luck, the experienced British driver dropped his Mercedes on pole alongside Scopefielder.

Megglugpy had been the only driver to start of the medium compound, and with drivers around him struggling for tyre wear late into the first stint, he was able to keep up and eventually take the lead after the round of stops.

He would eventually break a three second lead over F1_MrP80 who had a superb session in the Haas to pick up a debut podium, whilst Nitrogash finally celebrated a podium which has long eluded him. It was well received by all and the ten championship points are a huge boost in the championship.

Scopefielder could only manage fourth in the Williams, but the result still maintains his lead in the race for the title, but with the gap back to Megg now only at two points. The grid will start to notice possible cracks in the armour of the Swedish driver.

 

Equal Performance

F1

Mdoran09 was leading after the first two races in the championship, but with Scopefielder having picked up the victory in Spain last week, the Swedish driver was high on confidence, and after a good performance in the Performance league the night before, Scope would go into round three with his sights firmly set on a second win.

However qualifying was set alight by A_Singh99 in the Williams after a fascinating battle with the lightning fast VSR_Odemz in the Haas, the two traded fastest laps but with time running out on the session it was Singh who was able to take pole position by five hundredths of a second.

Bright blue skies in qualifying were replaced by a damp and drizzly circuit for the race, the pack knew that they would need to be incredibly careful into the first sector and that grip would be at a minimum.

Odemz blasted past Singh off the line, the pole sitter had a shocker as he spun the wheels on the greasy surface, he then ran wide into turn one and by the end of the first sector had already dropped to fourth.

The leader began to stream away from the field, and by lap six had already accumulated a nine second lead over Scopefielder in second. Whilst behind a superb battle ensued over sixth as a number of cars including WaveIntel, Betrayer and mdoran09 fought over the position.

Looking almost unbeatable, the Haas driver of Odemz made a very early stop on the intermediate tyres, but immediately started making up lost ground as he passed Megglugpy for fourth and with the move done before 130r he looked in fine shape to chase down the top three, but in the blink of an eye around 130R he touched the run off area and speared into the wall and out of the race.

The track had started to dry up and on lap ten WaveIntel was the first one to brave a dry tyre choice, this turned out to be a poor decision for the Scot, with no traction available into turn ten he ran his Toro Rosso into the wall and out of the race, this seemed to spark a mad minute in F1 as both Tombombtank and Singh retired along with Betrayer and Samuthepito all hitting different walls, as the cars struggled on the worn intermediate tyres.

Scopefielder had driven a perfectly executed race, and moving onto the medium tyres at the right time, he would come home and take another victory in F1 and a statement making result in the championship. He would come ahead of Foxyred and Megglugpy who fought hard over the final stages on the race, but it would be the McLaren of Foxy who would win out ahead of the Toro Rosso on time penalties.

Scope assumes the championship lead as we head to Austria, but if Odemz is able to make a regular showing in the season then we the field may have a real battle to keep the championship competitive to round twelves. That isn’t understating Scope’s win, and after two on the bounce for the Renault driver, he looks well placed early on to be a front-runner in the F1 title race.

 

F2

Invictus rookie F2 runner GoodStuff had won the first race in Bahrain, but a late problem in Spain dropped him off the podium and made the gap between him and the field much smaller as we came to Japan. The likes to NickLJThomson, Humbostone and mj_coop would all be on high alert in Suzuka, with all of them aware that a win could propel them into top spot in the standings.

Qualifying was contested under an overcast and dreary day in Suzuka, and with the ever present threat of rain, the paddock knew that laps on the board early would be important.

Time was counting down in the session, and although GP1_Alex and Humbostone looked well placed to battle over pole position, they would be surpassed by an excellent lap from Craig8728 in the Toro Rosso. It proved to be unbeatable as time expired in the session, as Craig took a fantastic pole position ahead of Humbostone and GP1_Alex. Whilst title leader GooDStuff was in sixth on the harder soft compound tyre compared to the drivers ahead.

It was a superb launch off the line for the McLaren of Humbostone in P2 as he thundered past a helpless Craig into turn one as the rest of the field made their way through cleanly.

NeverMiss00 had seen a superb start and moved up from fourteenth into ninth in the second McLaren, whilst it was a frustrating start for Nismax who picked up damage on lap one and had to stop on lap one and dropped to the back of the pack.

Craig started to struggle on the older supersoft tyres, and by lap seven had already dropped to fourth behind Nick and Alex, whilst GooDStuff and mj_coop were certainly starting to swarm the rear end of the Scot’s gearbox.

We saw a brief flurry of retirements and incidents early in the race, with Vintinho coming into contact with Jamie6328, whilst Steen retired abruptly on lap seven with NeverMiss having also dropped way down the order.

Last week’s race winner White-Fountain wasn’t fairing as well in Japan, and whilst fighting in the midfield, a clash of wheels at 130r with Humbostone put the Renault into the wall and then the unfortunate Tinuss would be a passenger as the White-Fountains cars rebounded back on track ultimately ending both drivers’ races on lap 12 in a disappointing end for both drivers.

Disaster for the pole-sitter Craig on lap 18, a spin into turn one would drop him way down the order, and with his race going from bad to worse, he would find himself last of the runners in eleventh place with less than ten laps to go.

At the head of the field NickLJThomson made a move for the lead on Humbostone, and with three laps remaining he pushed hard to stretch a three second lead to negate a penalty, but it wasn’t to be for the Ferrari who although crossing the line first would drop behind Humbostone in the race classification. GP1 Alex equally found the stewards at his detriment as penalties would relegate him off the podium and promoted a relieved mj_coop who after a zero point score last week needed a return to form.

Pending a steward’s enquiry after the incident with white-fountain, Humbostone closes the gap to GooDStuff, but it’s NickLJThomson who sits behind the leader by one point. However, he will move into first if Humbostone is awarded a penalty for his part in the incident. F2 is going to be close this season, and mistakes could prove costly by the time we go to Monza for round twelve. Who can keep their nerve?

 

F3

After taking 27 from a possible 30 points early in the season, Captain_Stiff was F3’s unlikely leader and with an eleven point margin back to team-mate Tejuarr, both Williams drivers would be looking at maintaining their good starts early in the season.

However qualifying didn’t go to plan for either, and with Stiff not posting a competitive lap and Tejuarr only able to make it into fifth both would have work to do. It was a much more productive session for the_willo97 in the Haas who scored a brilliant pole position ahead of pre-season title favourite FerociousDan.

The race started well for willo off the line and leading the pack away he was able to keep both McLarens and last week’s second place man Briggsy500 at bay. In contrast at the back, the trio of Stiff, Booje and Fascone were all caught out by a spinning Steelbl66 and with severe wing damage to all three, it would require very early stops and effectively rule them out of contention.

Booje had gone into the season along with Dan and Richard as the favourites for the F3 title, but after a poor showing in Spain in the wet the Renault was looking at clawing back some points in the title race, he certainly wasn’t expecting to be retiring early on in Japan, but unfortunately that’s exactly how it transpired, and with Fascone equally retiring after his pit-stop both will see themselves as incredible unlucky so early into the season.

Throughout the early part of the race, willo did very well as the McLaren of Dan added relentless pressure, whilst the Woking based outfit were delighted as Richard sat in third ahead of SnoopMarky in fourth. The pit-stops saw the top three mimic each other and go for the ultra-aggressive supersoft-soft tyre strategy, and it would see them having to really take care across the bumpy circuit.

A slow exit from the final chicane on lap 18 from Willo would line up Dan perfectly, and the McLaren who never needs a second invitation soared down the inside into turn one into the lead. The two would continue to battle, but with tyres fading and willo knowing that he was due a time penalty, it became a race of preservation as he slowly started dropping back from the McLaren.

Dan crossed the line and took McLaren’s first race win of the season, and with the constructor behind Williams in the title race, it was a much needed and celebrated win. Willo held on for second, whilst SnoopMarky celebrated a second career F3 podium in third after overhauling F1Richard.

It was a sublime battle between Dan and Willo who both deserved the applause of the fans, but more importantly for Dan, he recovers a huge amount of ground in both the drivers and constructors. The Williams suffered all race long, with Tejuarr unable to make up ground in sixth and Stiff recovering from his early contact into eighth, Williams and McLaren now sit joint top on 51 points after three races.

The title race has been blown wide open now after Dan outscored Stiff by 12 points, and he now sits only two points off Stiff, but with Austria next, a track which promotes close racing and overtaking, we look to be instore for another high quality F3 race.

 

 

Join us in Austria for another round of superb F1 action, we will be at 25% distance in the calendar and will start to see who can put themselves into contention for a championship run. Check out @InvictusRL for all stream links and details on next week’s racing

Invictus Racing League – Off Track – Catching up with Sab in Melbourne

In today’s Off-Track, Invictus Racing League admin, commentator and driver Sab7786 gives us a quick update into his first week out in Australia before he attends the first race of the season this weekend.

After a very early flight from Manchester to Perth last week, he has been enjoying time catching up with family living in Australia, but after making it to Melbourne early this week, he was able to join up with his friends in the McLaren Papaya+ membership group as they toured the Albert Park circuit before the crowds descended on Thursday.

Turn 15 before the final corner in Melbourne

 

It was Thursday where he really got to explore the paddock, and flanked by an increasing number of passionate F1 fans all looking to see and photograph this seasons cars and drivers. He was fortunate enough to be guided around the circuit on a tour by representatives of the Australian Grand Prix, along with the chance to meet and chat with Toro Rosso drivers Alexander Albon and Daniil Kyvat.

McLaren were then gracious enough to invite their membership VIP’s into the McLaren paddock facility where they could look around the inner workings of a F1 weekend, and later to the team hotel for a meet and greet with Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz just a few hours before the two would jump into the car and roll out on track for the first time in an official race weekend session in 2019.

Unfortunately, he was at the track when news broke about the passing of Race Director Charlie Whiting, a hush and solemn atmosphere had swept across the paddock and in the famous Melbourne Walk area. The tributes to Charlie have been pouring in, and it is wonderful to see that his life is being properly celebrated this weekend by so many.

On the ‘Melbourne Walk’ , he’s already had the chance at photo opportunities with the likes of Kimi Raikkonen, Charles Leclerc and the Haas drivers of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen and with the weekend only beginning, I’m sure he will get the chance to see many more!

 

 

‘Sab’ and this seasons #4 Lando Norris

 

We hope Sab is enjoying his time out in Melbourne, and we will catch up with him after the race on Sunday to find out how he found his Australian Grand Prix 2019 experience. Thanks to Sab for providing us with photo permission and we can’t wait to hear from you!

 

 

Have you got anything special going on outside of Invictus? Let us know! We want to spotlight our fantastic communities hobbies and interests whether it on the track or not. Speak to Gareth or an admin for any details!

In memory – Charlie Whiting (1952-2019)

 

 

 

Today we wake up to the saddest of news from Melbourne, as Formula One race director and long serving member of the Formula One paddock has sadly passed away suddenly at the age of 66.

Whilst we play on the virtual representation of the sport that we all love dearly, Charlie Whiting was instrumental in the implementation of several safety measures, along with the sign off for some now much-loved Formula One calendar circuits that we race on.

The season is due to start tonight at 00.30am so to lose an instrumental member of the Formula One community so close is a tragic loss and bitter blow to all within the community whether online or off.

Invictus Racing League extends our deepest sympathies and condolences to Charlie’s friends and family, and positive thoughts to all in the Formula One community while we celebrate the life of the iconic Charlie Whiting.

Rest well Charlie, your work was immeasurable and will be remembered forever. We thank you.

 

Invictus Racing League.

Season Seven – Round Two in review – A fight to the finish

 

 

 

Barcelona was host to round two of the Invictus Racing League calendar, the track is a tricky mix of fast flowing and high downforce corners with over-taking positions limited.

The race hasn’t featured on the Invictus calendar since the opening round of season five so it would give the driver’s some homework to do before the race week to find the optimum pace come the pit-lane light flashing green.

The track sees two DRS zones which offer the best over-taking opportunities, but with the chance of rain always present in Barcelona, could it come into play during the week?

 

No-Assist

After his victory last week BoyBetterKnowSB (Scott) was eyeing up a second consecutive race victory in the no-assist league, but with blue skies for the qualifying but the prospect of a wet start to the race, it certainly made qualifying a very important session.

Humbostone was the man on form in qualifying; he would eventually place his Haas on pole position alongside the Red Bull of Scopefielder as both driver’s looked to kick-start their season. The Mercedes of Scott and team-mate Joel seemed to have a shocker of a session with both cars qualifying well outside of the top ten, and with track position highly sought after in Spain. It would be a tricky race for the Brackley team.

The rain was drizzling down as the lights went out to start Grand Prix, it was a worst case scenario for both SJD and Samuthepito as jump starts would mean an early drive through penalties for the pair.

Humbostone lost ground off the start and almost collected the rear end of Scopefielder into turn one, the grid struggled in the damp and greasy conditions early on, but with the clouds breaking and the rain starting to dissipate, it would become a game of bravery to when the crossover period was going to strike.

Whilst others struggled on the dry tyres initially, Samuthepito made perfect use of the drying track on the medium tyres, he scythed his way through the field from seventh and into the effective lead of the race, the Spanish driver on his home circuit was looking almost invincible, but a late strategy call from the Williams pit-wall would cause upset in the garage post-race.

Sam was called in with eight laps remaining for a fresh set of soft tyres, but with the top three of Scopefielder, Scott and Speed_Queen all staying out for the duration of the race, it seemed Williams had cost the Spaniard a home race victory.

Scopefielder led the race with five laps remaining, but Scott had made superb progress through the field, and with two laps remaining made his move for the lead of the race. It appeared both cars were running low on tyre grip, but Scott was able to hold off the Swedish driver for the final lap, he would cross the line to take a second win on the bounce and add another fifteen points in the championship.

The podium was rounded off by Scopefielder and Speed_Queen, whilst a late fight back from Samuthepito saw him claw back over thirteen seconds after his late stop but would finish just off the podium in fourth.

Scott maintains his lead in the title, but with a train of cars lining up behind him, it’ll all be to play for in Suzuka next week.

 

Realistic Performance

Performance 1

After last week’s blitz in Bahrain for Captain_Stiff, his team-mate AaronJSpence was the man of the night around the Catalonian circuit.

The Red Bull driver dominated the qualifying session setting several provisional pole lap times to keep the Irishman Fascone at bay, whilst reigning champion SkyZii managed to place his McLaren on row two in fourth, as he looked to recover after a disappointing start to the season last week.

It was a stark contrast for last week’s top three as BoyBetterKnow, Stiff and Craig all lined up alongside each other, but this time it would be from eleventh to thirteenth.

As the lights went out, Aaron certainly looked confident and was edging out a gap to Fascone in second, but the battle behind for several positions was intense, the track which is often hard to over-take on certainly didn’t halt the progress for many of the Performance 1 drivers as Betrayer, WaveIntel and Benjym all made moves early into the race.

There was a wash of different strategies in the early stage of the race, with several drivers on the medium tyres that had started outside of the top ten, such as Stiff, Craig8728 and xMIKExSI moving through the field, it would mean they would have much better pace later in the race.

The pit-stops saw Fascone try the under-cut on Aaron, however a miscalculation from the pit-wall saw him re-appear into heavy traffic, whilst a lap later Aaron used his five second advantage to come out in second behind team-mate Stiff, who smartly let him by. Aaron would control the race from there and stretch a lead out to thirteen seconds before the end of the race.

The action behind the leaders was frenetic; we saw a seven car battle from lap 26 to lap 30 with several cars swapping positions from fifth all the way down to twelfth on the line. Last week’s winner Stiff had already had one trip into the gravel on lap 19, but one final mistake on lap 31 would drop him out of the points and ultimately give up the lead in the young championship.

Aaron would come across the line and take victory in Spain and make it two wins in two for the Racing AaronStiff team as they go joint top with Know Nothing Racing on 30 points at the top of the constructors.

Fascone would finish second in a welcome return to the podium, whilst SkyZii will be delighted to be back on the podium again, although that race victory still eludes the French driver.

Craig8728 benefited from Stiff’s mistake for a comfortable run fourth place, which means the Scot takes control in the driver standings with a five point advantage over both Aaron and Stiff as we head to Suzuka.

 

 

Performance 2

Swedish driver Scopefielder started off his defence of the Performance 2 title in strong fashion last week after victory in Bahrain, but with a much different test in Barcelona this week, he would certainly have to pull out all the stops.

Megglugpy had somewhat of a quiet start to his season after finishing eighth last week, but after a superb lap in qualifying, the English driver would put himself in prime place with pole position.

He was joined on the front row by the impressive F1_MrP80 in the Renault, who after retiring in round one was on the lookout for a good points haul to help PB Racing in the constructors’ championship.

The race saw a fantastic five car battle in the mid-point of the race, but it was Megglugpy who would make the most of the free track ahead of him as he came home in the Haas to take the win in Spain.

Scopefielder will be happy with a good nights work as he moved up from third to second after MrP unfortunately dropped way down the order and eventually finished one minute off the lead. This ensured Scope extends his lead at the top of the table to nine points.

They were joined on the podium by Jos_Heinssie, as Kamikaze F1 stretched out a fifteen point gap over BS Racing and Megacoop Racing in the constructor’s table. The two are already reigning champions and have definitely started where they left off from lasts season.

It’s onto Japan next week, will Scope continue to build a lead out over his rivals, or will the likes of Megglugpy, NickLJThomson and mj_coop start to put the pressure on the Swede?

 

Equal Performance

F1

Last week saw the closest race finish in the history of Invictus Racing League as mdoran and Danester were separated by fifteen thousandths of a second.

Qualifying saw an overcast Barcelona play havoc with the tyres, as driver’s struggled to get enough temperature into the medium compound on the one lap out lap but after the sun broke from the clouds late into the session, Swedish driver Scopefielder produced an excellent lap with five seconds left in the session to take pole ahead of local driver Samuthepito by eight hundredths of a second.

Sam would take the lead off the line; whilst behind Speed_Queen found herself being collected by fellow McLaren team-mate FoxyRed with the pit-wall looking on in disbelief, she would carry on, but quickly found herself at the back on the field.

Sam and Scope continued at the head of the pack for the entire race with the Spanish driver looking in good form to take his first win in Invictus. However, a late safety car after a crash from Danestar at turn fourteen, and a crash for Im_west down the main straight simultaneously would bunch up the field. This would bring the fans a fantastic three-way shoot-out for the win between Sam, Scope and a miraculous BoyBetterKnow, who had made his way up from last on the grid at the start to well in contention for the victory.

Two laps remained, and with Sam leading the race, Scott and Scope rounded turn three, and with the slightest of touches from Scope, Scott was put into a spin and out of contention. Scope would then chase down the leader ahead, and on the final lap overtook the Spaniard coming across the line to win by under two tenths of a second.

WaveIntel would celebrate a first F1 podium after penalties relegated mdoran off the podium, whilst Betrayer and Speed_Queen both made good progress for fifth and sixth places respectively.

F1 has seen its first two races finish with first and second split by a collective 0.195s. this shows just how strong the line-up this season, but with several driver’s lining up for a shot at the championship, this could be a stunning season in Invictus’ premier formula.

 

F2

GoodStuff had taken a debut victory in his first out in F2 last week, and the rookie driver would be looking at adding to his championship lead after leaving the Catalonian circuit.

He would start off in the best way possible, as a late lap blew away the competition and secured him with a second consecutive pole position. He was joined by the returning Tony_Y in the Ferrari, whilst the Force India of Vitinhoh1108 looked on course to be a thorn in the side of GoodStuff, but after hitting the wall on entry to the pit-lane, he would exit the qualifying session early.

It was a clean start, with the top four all getting away well and maintaining position. White-fountain had seen a monster of a start in the Renault, and over the first lap made up eight places to sit in fifth.

The leader held on to the top spot throughout the pit-stop window, and with 12 laps remaining was looking well on course to make it two wins from two.

NickLJThomson is another driver who will be looking at a push for the title this season and the Ferrari driver had made excellent progress into third, but with Humbostone closely following behind it looked to be fight between the two for the final place on the podium.

NeverMiss00 unfortunately couldn’t live up to his names-sake, on lap 29 the young Brit lost control of the McLaren on the exit of turn nine, and after hitting the wall with four laps remaining the field was put under a virtual safety car.

White-fountain had made superb progress through the pack since his thirteenth place start and on the final lap overtook race leader GoodStuff, into turn one, but disaster for the now second placed man, as he lost control of the Haas and ran into the gravel.

This gave white-fountain a free run to the chequered flag and a first Invictus win for the Belgian, NickLJThomson and Humbostone utilised GoodStuff’s late error and subsequent post-race penalties to elevate themselves into second and third, whilst GoodStuff will be disappointed after performing so well until the final laps.

It was a race to forget for the likes of mj_coop and Craig8728 who finished well down the order, but with Japan next week, will they be able to get their season kick started?

GoodStuff retains the title lead in the driver standings heading into round three, but white-fountain and Nick are within striking range, it’s very early into the championship so all is to play for as we head to Suzuka.

 

F3

Bahrain gave the viewers of F3 a fantastic start to the season last week, the win went down to the wire, and with late controversy it was Booje who came away with the victory with the Renault well placed to maintain his good start in Barcelona.

Qualifying started well for Haas driver the_willo97, who after a disappointing start last week would be looking at bouncing back in Spain, he led the field with time counting down, but a phenomenal late lap from SnoopMarky saw the Sauber take provisional pole position, and with the_willo only able to improve by a few tenths Snoop lined up with a clear track turn one.

The cars lined up on the grid, and as the final red light illuminated and extinguished, the grid thundered down to turn one. It seemed a clean run into turn one, but all hell seemed to break loose in turn two.

Force India team-mates of NotoriousL_I_P and osteven002 were both caught in separate incidents as both cars spun into oncoming traffic, this caused chaos at turn three as cars scrambled to find a path through the carbon fibre debris. It would unfortunately see a premature end to the race for Nitrogash and then Dboydan22, but with a number of cars requiring new front wings, the first lap would be a huge factor come the end of the race.

The two major beneficiaries of the incident were the Williams drivers of Tejuarr and Captain_Stiff, as both moved up into the top six by the end of lap one, with the latter having started in fifteenth position.

The top two had made it away cleanly, but with both starting on the super-soft tyres they made an early stop, which released Tejuarr into the race lead, with F1Richard and Stiff hot on his heels. A devastating blow for the Sauber team saw pole-sitter SnoopMarky retire early and eventually team-mate Steelbl66 with the pit-crew unable to release them from the pit-stall. Snoop had looked well on form in Spain and cut a dejected figure in the paddock after the race.

Race engineers had their hands out in the air, and with the threat of rain approaching it appeared that the driver’s would have to deal with changing conditions.

Whilst the field all struggled with tyre choices before the rain, Captain_Stiff had stretched his initial mediums 24 laps and with DRS disabled on lap 28 he would take the lead of the race from Briggsy who equally had done a magnificent job to get into second, whilst the McLarens and the_willo struggled out on the wet circuit.

Stiff would hold it together and come across the line to win and take a debut F3 victory, Briggsy celebrated a podium in his second ever race, while it was loud cheers in the Williams garage as Tejuarr made it a double podium and a popular visit back to the rostrum for the experienced racer.

It’s been a strong start to the season for Stiff, and with 27 points from a possible 30 he leads the way by eleven points. The field will be looking at clawing back that gap in Suzuka, with nine races there are plenty more twists and turns in F3.

 

 

 

Round three heads to Suzuka for the Japanese Grand Prix next week, and with the iconic130R. The Invictus paddock will look at conquering the figure eight track and continuing a superb start to the season. Check out @InvictusRL for all announcements 

 

Invictus Racing League – Off track – BoyBetterKnow how to drive around Silverstone

No-assist and Realistic Performance 1 driver BoyBetterKnowSB (Scott) will finally be back on track in a few weeks after a long winter break.

Scott races his Class F Ford Fiesta in the BRSCC Saloon Car Trophy championship, and using last years successful return including a win in class at Cadwell Park he will be hoping to step on the podium a lot more this coming season and look to emulate his season start online.

The next race is lined up for the 16th March 2019 at Silverstone, the home of British Motorsport. Make sure if you’re in the area to get down to the circuit and support a fellow community member as he takes to the track in the #9 Fiesta that last season proudly displayed the Invictus Racing League logo.

Tickets and information can be found here, and we would like to wish Scott the best of luck for the race!

 

 

 

 

Have you got anything special going on outside of Invictus? Let us know! We want to spotlight our fantastic communities hobbies and interests whether it on the track or not. Speak to Gareth or an admin for any details!

Season seven – Round one in review – A nail-biting finish!

 

 

 

 

Season seven of the Invictus Racing League made it across the desert sand after an explosive pre-season, and as the leagues readied up for Bahrain the excitement level in the paddock was palpable.

It proved to be a fantastic start to the season, and with the race taking place at night it certainly didn’t drop the temperature of the action on track which was red hot from Monday through to Wednesday evening.

One race saw what is yet to be confirmed the closest finish of all time in Invictus Racing League, whilst we saw shocks and surprises across the week with Invictus Racing League rookie winners and a first ever league race win!

 

No-Assist

It was a superlative-laden race on Monday night as the no-assists league kicked off-season seven for Invictus, in what was one of the best races in recent memory. We saw one of the closest on track battles for the race victory for several seasons and it did not disappoint.

Qualifying saw interesting team tactics from the Mercedes early on, but it would be the Force India of RICKWR88 who at the end of the session sat on pole after using the fastest super-soft compound, but eyebrows were raised by debutant driver Samuthepito who lined up alongside the Canadian on the harder soft tyres compound, he had out-qualified several drivers on faster tyres and ahead of the pre-season favourites of BoyBetterKnowSB (Scott) and Speed_Queen80 who started third and thirteenth respectively.

The viewers were treated to an absolute classic after the lights extinguished and sent the grid rolling down to turn one, it was an unfortunate start for Rick as he struggled off the line and dropped to third by turn four, and after picking up wing damage early into the race would fall to the rear of the field and struggle to recover.

This allowed Samuthepito and Scott to make a break-away from the field and the two engaged in an enthralling battle for the entirety of the race, the two maintaining a gap within one second of each other for the 35 lap distance and traded the lead on several occasions.

Lap 15 saw a huge accident between Stifler1980 and Nikki9095 as the two battled over fifth and sixth, the Force India of Nikki seemed to stray into the McLarens line on the exit of turn two, and as the two hit the wall, Stifler was catapulted back onto the track surface directly into the path of the Ferrari of xMIKExSI who was desperately unlucky with no-where to go in such a short space of time as all three retired.

Ultimately it would be Scott who would cross the line two tenths ahead of his on-track rival who was unfortunate to pick up a time penalty with four laps remaining that really spoiled what was one of the best battles we have seen in a long time.

Scopefielder would come home in third, he had desperately tried to interject himself into the fight for the win, but the Mercedes team-mate of Scott in Joel-v520 would play the ‘team-game’ as he got ahead of the Swedish driver and held him up effectively ending his fight to make it a three car battle for the win.

Reigning champion Speed_Queen could only manage a fourth place finish, to which she will be happy after starting well out of the top ten in thirteenth.

It was a thrilling start to the season, but it only shaped up what was to become a great week of racing across all leagues. It was a race not to be missed and the commentary and viewers a-like left wanting more as the cars crossed the finishing line to the fireworks display.

 

 

Realistic Performance

Performance 1

As the Performance One grid rolled out onto the track for qualifying on Tuesday, it seemed a varying mix of strategy had been used across the field of drivers’ all looking at being the first race winner of the season.

The red-walled supersoft tyres were the fastest tyre to be on and it was just that compound which Tom_444 in the Haas would use to take the first pole position of the season. He was joined on row one by the Red Bull of ColinJ, both would their hands full in the early stint of the race as Craig8728 was on the soft tyres and looking very competitive in the Renault.

After the start, a boisterous BoyBetterKnowSB (Scott) would make his way up and past a number of driver’s ahead, including reigning champion SkyZii, the French driver found himself off-line at turn two and tumbling down the order early as the cars rounded lap one.

Tom_444 pitted early allowing Craig to assume the lead, and with Scott, Spud and Colin for company, the four seemed to break-away from the main pack.

The man on the charge was Captain_Stiff in the Ferrari, whilst on the reverse strategy after starting on the mediums was really starting to close that gap. The pit-stops saw all the top four onto the mediums, but with Stiff still out on the older medium tyres, a superb in-lap from him would see him appear well in striking range for the win as he exited the pit-lane.

Stiff dispatched both Red Bulls in successive laps on the fresh softs, and in the following laps passed both Scott and then Craig for the race-lead with eight laps remaining.

The British driver would stretch his lead out to nine seconds over his Scottish counter-part and come home to take a first-ever league race win. Craig and Scott would make up the podium after consistent pace rewarded the two with season opening silverware ensuring their team Know Nothing Racing leaves Bahrain with 22 points and leads in the constructors’ championship.

 

Performance 2

It was a race to forget for pole-sitter The-Warislander in the first outing in Performance 2 this season, the Dutchman dropped all the way down to ninth by the end of the race and well over 70 seconds down on the eventual winner.

Swedish driver Scopefielder has already shown in pre-season that he is looking sharp and in-line for another championship run to add to his successful season last time out. The McLaren driver defied the odds in the under-powered manufacture to come from fifth on the grid and take the first race win of the season. He was joined on the podium by Sab7786 and NickLJThomson, Sab will rue a mechanical failure that possibly halted his battle for the win as the Red Bull suffered DRS failure for the first third of the race.

Nick was also aggrieved at the end of the race as contact with WesleyVanRens seemingly cost the Sauber the chance at taking the fight to Sab and Scope ahead. The two crossed the line split by one tenth of a second, but the Dutch driver of Wes was unable to recover the position after starting alongside team-mate Warislander on the front row.

Scope starts off the season in much the same way that he closed the last, he looks the man to beat on track, will his luck change in Barcelona next week?

 

 

Equal Performance

F1

Invictus Racing Leagues premier crop of drivers took to the track for their first race to the season on Wednesday night; the grid is stacked with talent, and with new drivers added to an already strong line-up, it seems this season could be as unpredictable as ever.

Reigning no-assist champion, Speed_Queen80 was the recipient of the first pole position of the season; she used the super-soft tyres to place her McLaren in the most sought after position on the grid. However, it wasn’t to be for the multi-time champion in Invictus, the two-stop strategy that she employed would eventually drop her down to a ninth place finish in what was a disappointing start for the experienced driver.

She had been joined on the front row by mdoran09, and the Irishman wasn’t going to let the same happen to him. However, Danestar_51 was well in the fight having started in fourth, and with nine laps left to go, the two would embrace in what was another incredible battle.

Trading places lap-on-lap, the two engaged in wheel-to-wheel combat across the dusty desert circuit wowing the fans watching. It all came down to a final lap showdown between the two, and as they exited the final corner it was neck and neck!

The two crossed the line side-by-side and after a photo finish checked the results, mdoran would win by fifteen thousandths of a second! This had Invictus officials looking through the record books to see if it was the closest finish of all time!?

It was a nail-biting end to the race and with the top two taking the headlines, but behind the battle for third was equally raging for BoyBetterKnowSB, once again involved in a battle with no-assist rival samuthepito as the two were separated by half a second across the line.

Scott and Sam seemed locked together this week, and in both races (No assist and F1) their combined gap at the finish was less than three-quarters of a second.

It was an unbelievable end to what was fantastic race, the top two put on an incredible show for the fans, equally Scott and Sam look like that could be a rivalry we may have to get used to across Invictus.

Special mention goes to WaveIntel, the young Scot celebrated his 18th birthday the day before with a superb race in the top league as he made his way up from eleventh to fifth, as he continues his remarkable ascent in pace.

 

F2

It was a perfect night for debutant German driver GooDStuff-7, the rookie F2 driver took a well-earned flag to flag victory ahead of South African Nismax7 who equally will enjoy his promotion from seventh to second during the race.

GooDStuff took pole in the Haas after utilising the super-soft tyres, and using the difficult super-soft to medium strategy, he was able to keep Nismax at bay with the Sauber four and half seconds back.

Mj_coop had started off well and his strategy had seen him jump the eventual winner and Nismax, but with GooDStuff making a superb move on the British driver, he then dropped behind the South African Nixmax on a post-race applied penalty, but managed to take away a podium and ten championship points.

Italian driver RudiMandragorex will be delighted with his race, a twelfth place start saw him charge through the field to take home eight championship points for a fourth place finish, whilst Craig8728 and NickLJThomson came home in sixth and seventh, both will be looking for a more positive result in Spain next week.

It was a risk well taken for GooDStuff who takes the first step towards a championship, but with a number of drivers over his shoulder, this season of F2 is far from a foregone conclusion.

F3

Booje89 was one of the drivers’ highly touted in pre-season for a successful season, and that was proved right as he took his first win in F3 on Wednesday night.

The Renault driver had started on pole, but after relinquishing the lead of the race to Sab7786 early in the race, it looked like the Mercedes would take the fifteen points as we left the gulf state, but devastatingly a pit-lane speeding penalty would demote Sab from the race win off the podium with the top four all finishing in close quarters.

The race saw an early spin for a fast-starting osteven002 after contact with xMIKExSI, whilst the pack saw a superb fight back for both Tejuarr in the Williams and FerociousDan in the McLaren. The two made their way from 16th and 17th respectively to a fifth and sixth place finish after both crashed out in the early stages of qualifying.

Booje would fight off the ever impressive F1Richard in the final laps, whilst on a high from his win on Tuesday, Captain_Stiff used the softer tyre at end of the race to move past Richard with two laps remaining as he made excellent progress after a ninth place start.

Sab was furious with the stewards ruling, and knows with the prospect of missing the next three races the point’s loss could be huge come the end of the season. Booje however would celebrate a first win ahead of Stiff and Richard. This seems to already be shaping up to a close fight, with the top six and many more eyeing up a potential championship challenge in not only the driver’s but constructors standings. As reported in pre-season, this could be the most competitive F3 season yet.

 

That’s round one in the books and what a start to the seventh season at Invictus Racing League! Next week we head to Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix, the notoriously tricky circuit can catch out even the best of driver’s. Make sure you check out @InvictusRL for all news and announcements before round two! 

Season seven starts tonight!

 

 

It’s finally here! Invictus Racing League season seven begins tonight in Sakhir for the Bahrain Grand Prix, the race will be contested under the lights in the Gulf state and give our drivers’ a circuit which promotes over-taking and close battles. The action on track is sure to be as hot as the desert sun, can the field keep their cool once the lights go out and we charge down to turn one?

Make sure you tune in from 8pm tonight with Gareth and Sab for live commentary of the no-assist league, who as always kick off what is going to be an awesome week of racing!

No-Assist twitch channel 

Commentary team 

Gareth

Sab 

Invictus Racing League – Pre-season wrapped up in Hungary – Racing in review

 

 

 

Thirty minutes south-east of the beautiful and picturesque cities of Budapest is the Hungaroring circuit , comprised of several 180⁰  turns, elevation changes and a maximum down-force, almost street circuit like vibe.

A track that is notoriously difficult to over-take on, Hungary promotes close racing, strategic thinking and tyre management know-how.

This was the final pre-season race before we head out to Bahrain for round one of the Invictus calendar next week, it gave the driver’s one final race to assess the competition and properly prepare for the season.

 

No Assists

The no-assist league provided one of the most entertaining races in a long time for pre-season two in Hungary this week, the league saw numerous battles throughout qualifying and into the race leaving the viewers desperately awaiting next week’s round one race.

Having taken victory in the USA one week prior, Scott (BoyBetterKnowSB) was in high spirits as he got to the European track and that translated into strong early pace for the Red Bull driver.

He would spend the session trading fastest laps with rookie drivers’ Nismax7 and Gavpig in the Renault cars. The three would be joined by late lap from Humbostone in the Sauber; he would split the Renaults and finish just two thousandths of a second off of the front row.

Scott would come across the line with a matter of moments left in the session and take another solid qualifying result giving himself a clean track on the run down to turn one.

The first stint would see a fantastic battle between the top four, but as the ultra-soft tyres started to fade away the real beneficiary of this was current no-assist champion Speed_Queen80, she had started on the yellow walled softs and was starting to make her way through the pack picking off drivers one-by-one.

The pit-lane opened for the first runners to come off the ageing ultra-softs, this allowed Speed_Queen to assume the lead, which was a remarkable feat after starting just inside the top ten on the harder tyres.

Lap 13 saw a strange occurrence, after a good start RickWR88 unfortunately lost control at turn five and hit the wall, he was almost immediately joined by front runner Gavpig who in an almost carbon copy had the exact same incident. Stifler1980 in the Force India would survive the spin under yellow at the same corner and manage to re-join in what was evidently a true showing of how important tyre management is around the Hungaroring.

Speed_Queen had maintained her lead of the race after the pit-stops as she emerged half a second ahead of the chasing pack, but Scott would push her all the way to lap 32 of 35, when after a crash for Mike on the final corner saw a safety car released and give us the pleasure of a two lap shootout for the win.

Both lead drivers seemed to favour track position and stayed out, but the likes of Humbostone and Delange came in for a shot on the ultra-soft tyres. Bernd Maylander would only stay out for one lap with the re-start seeing a frantic end to what was a superb race.

Scott on much older tyres would go toe-to-toe with Speed_Queen, and after a controversial move around the outside of turn three took the lead with one and half laps remaining, Speed_Queen would then drop to third behind a flying Humbostone as they started the final lap.

Scott would come across the line first, but a mid-race penalty would relegate him back to second with Humbostone taking on a huge penalty and dropping from second to ninth, this promoted Speed_Queen up into the eventual race victory. Delange would also use a brilliant final two laps to climb up and make it a second consecutive podium in third.

It was a real classic to watch, it left the commentary team and the viewers in awe of what was a fantastic end to the race. The no-assist league was announced post-race that it would see equal performance continue throughout the season, and with races like this, it should be a superb championship.

 

Realistic Performance 

Performance 1

After last week’s strong start for WaveIntel, the Scot would be looking at finishing off pre-season on a high and going into the season with the most momentum possible.

However, with drivers such as BoyBetterKnowSB (Scott), LoZac and Betrayer all vying for the top step of the podium, it was going to be a true battle of attrition to see who could take the final win of the pre-season before round one.

The times in qualifying were steadily falling across the 18 minutes, and with less than a minute to go, SJD1988 would superbly drop a provisional pole time that would eventually go unchallenged.

It would be Scott alongside him on row one as he looked to continue his good form he showed in the no-assist league, whilst LoZac added another strong qualifying performance to sit in third alongside reigning champion SkyZii.

SJD lined up and as the five red lights were extinguished he was immediately swamped and passed by both the Red Bulls of Scott and SkyZii into turn one. The pole-sitter would struggle to hold onto the leaders are by lap three saw his Renault drop out of the podium positions with WaveIntel getting past.

The early stages of the race saw Fascone crash out early as the Irishman would bemoan a poor pre-season, but as a multiple race-winner, it is certain that you can’t count him out for a good haul of points over the full calendar season.

Scott started suffering on his ultra-soft tyres, and after a pit-stop dropped him down the order he caught up to the gearbox of Captain_Stiff down the main straight, but disaster struck for the Red Bull!

After trying to switch back on Stiff to get the inside line, he was pinched in between the Williams ahead and the Renault of LoZac emerging from the pitlane, and with carbon fibre and tyre tethers flying the race was over for Scott.

The race seemed to be causing drivers’ real problems with tyre temperature issues, and by lap 30 of 35 the race had seen six retirements. This included Benjym214 who would be disappointed not to build on his good result last week as he ended the race in the wall.

The race reached its climax with Betrayer46 having made up several positions taking the chequered flag at a canter, he never seemed to be involved in any fights but calmly made his way to the front and controlled the pace.

He was joined on the podium by SkyZii and SJD with both drivers happy with their results as Performance 1 rounded out its pre-season races.

It’s all up in the air about who will take the win in Bahrain next week; the allocations may make all the difference.

 

Performance 2

Tuesdays Performance 2 race became a real struggle to survive as only four of the eleven drivers finishing on the lead lap, the race saw five retirements leaving the grid guessing to who will be the pace-setter at round one.

Scopefielder recovered from a slightly off colour showing in the no-assist league to take pole position, he was joined by Jos_Heinssie who made it an all Renault front row as the French manufacture cheered on their success.

The race as afore-mentioned saw several retirements, drivers like Sab7786, mj_coop and NickLJThomson all fell off track and saw their pre-season end earlier than expected. At the front it was Jos who made his one-stop strategy work best as he took the race win by almost twenty seconds to Humbostone who recovered after Monday’s disappointment to take second place.

Pole sitter Scopefielder would only come home third, he had a massive gap between himself and fourth place, with the top three almost 45 seconds ahead of the rest of the field as the grid struggled with the tricky kerbs and tyre degradation in the hot Hungarian sun.

The driver’s eagerly await the allocations for the first race in Bahrain, it is a circuit which benefits the more powerful cars, who will make the most of their race and take the opening victory in round one?

 

Equal Performance

F1

It was an all-star cast in F1 for the final pre-season race, and with the prospect of a full grid heading to Bahrain next week, the drivers would have to use this final race as the perfect preparation before next week’s big opener in the gulf state.

F1 saw the debut of VSR_Odemz, a prolific winner across many F1 leagues and equally the very fast Samuthepito would enter into the league in Hungary, both would look for a positive way to start off their Invictus careers.

However it was Dutch driver Jos_Heinssie who would take pole position in the Renault after a blistering lap of 1.16.554 saw him beat out mdoran to second place with the Irishman just over one and half tenths away.

None of the top drivers selected to start on the ultra-softs, which meant it would be a battle of the one stop strategies, and as the race played out it was soon becoming aware that VSR_Odemz was going to immediately install himself in the conversation as championship favourite. The Haas driver utilised a superb two stop strategy after starting from last pace to come home and take the race victory ahead of fellow debutant Samuthepito.

It was WaveIntel would claim the third spot on the podium, only continuing to spotlight the incredible talent the young Scot possesses after his promotion to the top tier of equal performance.

F1 is absolutely stacked with race winners and potential highlights this season, it looks like qualifying session in Sakhir may be one of the most competitive we’ve ever seen.

 

F2

Pole position in F2 was split by less than two hundredths of a second as Humbostone edged out Tony-Y for the prime run down to turn one.

The league sees a number of new drivers’ on the mix this season alongside a healthy amount of experienced returning Invictus members and it only adds to build the excitement for the opening race.

The race would see Tony-Y go for the very tricky one stop after starting on ultra-softs and unfortunately for the Scot it did not pay off, he would finish down the order in sixth, whilst his front row compatriot in Humbostone would only manage to bring his Sauber into third after he struggled with tyre wear before he made his first of two spots.

Their places would be taken by the ever consistent mj_coop who took home the final pre-season race winner’s trophy ahead of Nismax7 who made up several positions to get onto the second step of the rostrum.

F2 is anyone’s guess when it comes to deciding on a favourite, but one thing is for sure, come race time in Bahrain, there will be a full grid of full determined drivers ready to taste the victory and take home a bottle of rose-water.

 

F3

The field in F3 this season looks wide open this season, with a number of drivers in the mix for a championship challenge, along with the assumption of multiple race winners, the championship looks like it may go down to the wire.

FerociousDan had a perfect start to his pre-season the USA last week with a comfortable victory, but with McLaren team-mate F1Richard looking strong this season, the McLaren garage could possibly see a hotly contested battle. It’ll be interesting to see if team tactics come into play or if the two will be allowed to fight on track.

Dan would go on take pole in Hungary on the fastest ultra-soft tyres ahead of the Ferrari of xMIKExSI who equally used the fastest compound to see himself start on the front row.

The grid saw a number of strategy calls in qualifying and with Captain_Stiff sneaking into the top ten on the mediums; he would possibly give himself a good chance at a push for the front later in the race.

Dan led the field away to turn one, however Mike was no so fortunate, his Ferrari bogged down off the start-line and by the entry to the first corner he found himself back down in eighth place and with a lot of work to do.

It was Sab7786 who would utilise a very strong first stint on his yellow walled soft tyres to move into the lead after Dan’s stop meant he would have to fight his way back into contention. The Mercedes of Sab would proceed to maintain his lead; he kept F1Richard at bay with superb late pace and crossed the line to take a debut win in F3.

The two McLarens would round out the podium with Dan managing to stave off a late charge from Captain_Stiff. It was a good day for both the McLaren and Williams team who saw both cars finish in the top five, could that be our battle for the constructors this season?

The F3 paddock is full of hungry and excited drivers ready to do battle in the gulf next week, and with the prospect of a multi race-winner season. This is shaping up to be the most fun and compelling season yet.

 

 

That’s pre-season done and dusted in Invictus, the drivers now have one week to prepare for round one next week as the team pack up ready to roll out to the desert. There are some tantalising battles building and the excitement levels will hit critical as we await that final fifth red light illuminating in Sakhir. Join us from next Monday at 8pm for the return of the Invictus Racing League!

Invictus Racing League – Off Track – McLaren MCL34 Car Launch

The McLaren #MCL34 on show for the first time.

 

 

In a section we call Invictus – Off Track, we look to highlight some of the awesome things that our members get up to away from Invictus.

Today we look at multi-race winner, league admin and commentator Alan Sabatino (Sab7786).

To all that follow Sab on social media will know of his love for the famous Formula One manufacture McLaren. Sab has been a part of an exclusive McLaren members club that is associated with Papaya+, which allows him the opportunity to get up, close and personal with the workings of the McLaren team. Whether that be paddock visits, exclusive merchandise or special outings, the Papaya+ team are always very well looked after by the Woking based outfit.

Sab has followed McLaren through the years across several races, with tracks like Melbourne, Hungaroring and Silverstone under his belt, he is a devout fan through thick and thin.

Last week, he was given the opportunity to visit the McLaren Technology Centre (MTC) in Woking, Surrey with his membership group, and invited to see the launch of the new McLaren MCL34 on February 13/14th.

After a tour of some of the MTC, time to see and take photos of the array of legendary McLaren cars on show, the group were then treated to a huge surprise! That they would be some of the first people to see the new car in its 2019 livery.

They were joined at the reveal by none other than driver’s Carlos Sainz Jr. and Lando Norris, the two drivers answered questions and engaged in a photo shoot with the team and left everyone, including Sab speechless at how lucky they were.

Below are a few photo’s from the day, and I am sure we are all incredibly jealous of the opportunity Sab was extended.

We can’t wait to see more from this years McLaren, and in a very smart papaya and electric blue livery, it is sure to be one of the smartest looking cars on the 2019 grid and a favourite of driver’s when F1 2019 is released.

 

Say Cheese! Carlos Sainz Jr. and Lando Norris pose for photos with the Papaya+ VIP crew.
(Sab – back row, 3rd from left)

 

Many thanks to Sab for providing photos from his time at the MTC, you can follow him on Twitter here @AlanSabatino for extended highlights of his visit and his exploits following McLaren, including his upcoming visit to the Australian Grand Prix.

If you are a member at Invictus Racing League and you visit any kind of racing, on the track yourself or are lucky enough to attend a Grand Prix this season, let us know! Drop a PM to either Craig or Gareth and you can get your story told!

 

Pre-season race one review – Grand Prix of the USA

Pre–season kicked off on Monday night at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, USA. The circuit opened in 2012 and was the first purpose built race track for Formula One, it entails a tricky first sector, fast second sector and fun corners in the third sector that promote close racing and over-taking. Invictus Racing League were here only a few weeks ago for round eleven of season six, which meant there would be no excuses for poor form from the experienced drivers.

This season see’s a lot of returning driver’s to the league with a good amount of Invictus rookies join the field to add that element of the unknown back into the leagues.

 

No-assist

The No-assist league as always opened the new season, it was debutante OnyxMer who took the pole with a blisteringly fast time, but he would be kept on his toes by both the Force India’s of BoyBetterKnowSB (Scott) and RickWR88.

Reigning overall champion Speed_Queen80 and tier 2 (racing line on) champion Scopefielder would struggle during qualifying and would line up eighth and ninth respectively.

The race saw a superb battle between OnyxMer and Scopefielder unfortunately ended after the debuting Dutch driver spun on turn two. This left Scopefielder chasing down race leader Scott in the final laps. Scott was able to keep the Swedish driver behind him in the final laps as he used his much better straight line speed to keep ahead of the quick cornering Renault.

They would come across the line with Scott taking the victory by 0.422 of a second, made slightly more open by a post-race three second penalty added to Scope’s time.

The battle for the podium equally went to the wire as Speed_Queen just missed out on a third place finish with Delange93 staying above the incumbent champion by another 0.4s margin. SJD had finished third on track but after the stewards disagreed with his idea of the track layout he was relegated back to seventh.

It was a good win for Scott who starts off pre-season with a hard-fought victory. Can he be the one who takes the fight to Speed_Queen this season and be the first in a while to de-throne her?

 

Realistic Performance 

Performance 1

A new paddock of drivers makes up Performance 1 this season, with a mix of youth and experience; almost all drivers have stood on the podium in their time at Invictus.

Pre-season is a crucial time for the performance league, it allows the admin team the perfect chance to look at driver’s pace in the attempt of placing them into the correct car for the next race. This meant pre-season would be run using equal-performance and it would be a straight between all for the top-step of the podium.

Benjym214 took the advantage as he planted himself on pole for the race, whilst drivers such as debutante LoZac97 who had shown much promise in out of season testing would also have a strong session.

WaveIntel missed out on retaining his Performance League 2 championship last season by a few points, but he would start off pre-season in the best way possible as he crossed the line to finish first at the end of a race which saw close action throughout the midfield.

AaronJSpence and ColinJ both suffered early exits with trips to the wall in the first sector in the opening laps; the two will certainly look to have a more positive race in Hungary next week.

WaveIntel was followed home by LoZac97 as he kept the Scottish driver honest in the final laps, and Betrayer46 who seems to be joined by a short rope to WaveIntel with the two continuing their season’s long battle.

 

Performance 2

Due to absences, Performance 2 only saw nine drivers take to the track on Tuesday for pre-season. There os plenty of talent in the league this season and along with Performance 1, the realistic performance leagues are looking absolutely stacked this season.

NickLJThomson opened up his account with pole position in the Alfa Romeo Sauber and looked strong in the early stages of the race. However, it wasn’t to be for the British driver who lost the lead of the race to Jos_Heinssie. The Dutch driver is no stranger to the podium and once again took to the top step at the culmination of the race; he benefited from passing Nick and The-Warislander having a poor race to move up from third on the grid and in the process took the advantage heading into Hungary.

Nick would ultimately end up in second, whilst third was taken by Megglugpy. There is a plethora of talent in the league this season so this looks like anyone’s guess to who will take the win each week.

 

 

Equal Performance

 

F1

F1 is looking stacked with talent this season; the grid is looking full of drivers who can make a real challenge at the title come the end of the season. A number of drivers have been promoted from F2 after last season and they join the newcomers and experienced F1 drivers such as Speed_Queen80 and Nikki9095.

One of those promoted drivers was WaveIntel, and fresh off of his win in the performance league last night he took pole by 15 thousandths of a second to what is looking like multi league rival LoZac97. The two were not alone with quick times as both Danestar_51 and mdoran09 sat less than .2 of a second behind the pole-sitter and made it an exciting looking grid for pre-season one.

It would turn into a fantastic week for WaveIntel who went from flag to flag and took a first win in F1 albeit pre-season, nether less he beat several experienced top tier drivers. The young Scottish driver will be delighted with his weeks return and will be cautiously hoping to move this good form he’s been in recently into the season.

Mdoran09 and Benjym219 made up the rest of the podium with the latter moving up from 12th on the grid to take an unlikely podium.

F1 started off with a great race in pre-season and that only waters the mouth ready for next week in Hungary. Can WaveIntel take another step towards being a real contender for the top title and finally end his hoodoo of finishing behind Betrayer46 in the equal league standings.

 

 

F2

A new landscape in F2 sees a multitude of challengers all vying over the now vacant title. The previous champion Betrayer46 is now in F1 and has left a group of hungry driver’s all wanting to take away the F2 championship after we leave Monza in round 12.

Qualifying saw a superb battle between mj_coop and rookie driver Nismax7 with the two battling over provisional pole. NeverMiss00 had attempted to interject himself into the fight for pole but eventually it was Nismax who snatched pole with a late lap to demote coop into second.

Coop would beat nismax off the line, and in the early laps a six car fight for the lead opened up but after contact between Jamie_6328 and Humbostone caused the latter to retirem, it would put the focus back on leader coop who was battling bravely to keep Nismax7 and NickLJThomson behind.

It wasn’t to be for the British driver as he suffered a DRS failure and struggled to keep the field at bay, he came into slight contact with Jamie after running deep into turn 8 which gave NickLJT the impetus to push on as he used the following laps to pass the two drivers ahead.

Nick would go on to win the race and take the first major mental advantage over the rest of the field heading to Hungary. Coop would finish in second on track but was relegated to third after stewards awarded a post-race track limit penalty. Nismax was the beneficiary of the stewards rulings for the majority of the top five as he saw a fifth place finish become second as the South African driver took a debut podium in F2.

Nick will be happy to come away with the win but has plenty of competition moving across to Europe for pre-season race two. Special mention goes to White-Fountain who on debut made a superb strategy work as he went from a 14th place start to finishing just off the podium in fourth.

 

F3

The F3 looks wide open this season, and with the grid full of drivers that are more than capable of a championship challenge, it would be a very interesting pre-season.

Even with a number of driver’s missing the race, the qualifying session saw one of our closest finishes in several seasons with pole position taken by debutant the_willo97 by five thousandths of a second, edging out the Renault of Booje89 by the smallest of margins.

The race saw a chaotic start after contact from SteelBL66 and F1Richard67 into turn one on the front runners caused several drivers to collect wing damage. The drama continued into turn two as the Toro Rosso of rookie driver DboyDan22 speared into Captain_Stiff putting the Williams driver in the wall and out of the race before the third corner.

The battle for the top three positions raged in the early stages, with FerociousDan and Booje trading places lap upon lap for the lead. F1Richard67 had caught up after some superb early pace, and with one use of the DRS zone on lap seven moved past both cars ahead to take the lead.

Disappointingly for Richard, he would eventually drop out of the session and down the order which promoted Dan back into the lead, and after a much stronger start to the second stint he pulled away from Booje and finished the race with a lead of eight seconds over the Renault who took home second.

Pole-sitter the_willo97 made a fantastic recovery after an early incident saw him require a new wing and drop to the back as he fought through the order and came home for a debut podium.

It was a dominant start for Dan who was almost untouchable after the pit-stops, but his team-mate will be looking at a good result next week as the two battle for team supremacy, and with a number of drivers returning F3 could be anyone’s to win!