Darren Seal, Adam Parle, Adam Kell and Gary Hickman returned to action in the Chevrolet Corvette C7 Daytona Prototype for iRacing Daytona 24 Hours.
Darren Seal took on qualifying duties for the Legends quartet, posting a 1:37.4 laptime that placed the team 8th of 19 prototype in split 3 of 20 for the event.
Unfortunately, even before qualifying, the 2019 iRacing Daytona 24 Hours had started in similar circumstances to all too many of the platforms major events … mired in server issues. Teams and drivers took to the iRacing forums, to YouTube live streams and other social media platforms to vent their frustrations at what is becoming irritatingly routine.
With cars warping all over the track on account of the poor connections to the server, there was little to do in the first hour than try to run very conservative laps. The issue was finally resolved by the end of the first hour, iRacing having isolated the cause of the issue. It was an embarrassing admission that the cause was ultimately the platform’s “Denial of Service” policies kicking in due to the large high amount of traffic that the event garnered. By this time, Seal had pitted for the first time, and with the connection issues resolved, racing could truly begin.
The team sat 6th, but facing the realization that due to a change in the prevailing wind, the Legends Corvette was hitting the limiter on the banking far too early. Whilst still able to post reasonably competitive laptimes, the car was lacking the ultimate pace of the front-runners, and would also make any passes on the oval banking extremely difficult.
Seal handed over to Parle for the first of the driver swaps – who struggled initially, losing several positions. Over the course of his double stint however, he got into a rhythm, and recovered to 6th before handing over to Kell.
At this point, the fight seemed to be over 6th only, with the top 5 positions over a minute ahead, but with more than three quarters of the race ahead anything could happen, the priority was lapping consistently and avoiding trouble. Although Kell dropped back a little through his stint, the fight for 6th would continue as Seal took control again.
In his second stint, Seal reclaimed 6th position, and inherited 5th when the NOMAD prototype was left on its roof at the international horseshoe. However, as they went on to win the split, this proves that even relatively large setbacks are not insurmountable in races of this length.
Unfortunately the setback the Legends would faced dwarfed that of the NOMAD entry … after a very solid double, disaster struck on Seal’s inlap. As he headed onto the banking for the last time, his steering wheel lost connection … and with it Seal lost the ability to steer the car. Though the “blip” was momentary, it was sufficient to send Legends Corvette into the wall and suffer a major impact. A secondary contact with a second car compounded the issue. Although Seal was able to limp back to the pits (suffering a second momentary wheel disconnection on the way) the required repairs would drop the team some 13 laps back from the leader with no guarantee of a competitive car following the repairs.
As such, with three quarters of the race yet to run, it was with a heavy heart that the team decided to withdraw from the event.
Hopefully the 2020 running will be free from the embarrassing server issues, and the team will have better luck in the race.