The number #34 SimRC.de Iris car started with high hopes into the new season. After all, it was the same crew that won the GT2-Class the season before. Now, in GT1 and with the addition of Evan Merrill, the team was coming to Sebring looking for a good start into NES Season 3.
On Saturday it was Sven Deml who drove in Qualifying and the team couldn’t have hoped for a better start. Sven finished a perfect lap in 1:54:581 early on in the session. The qualification times were extremely close but Sven’s time was enough to put the car on pole position in front of the SimRC.de Crimson- and the Torrent Motorsports car.
The Race started at 14:00 GMT and again it was Sven in the car when the #34 Aston Martin was leading the GT1 field into the race. With the #33 sisterteam starting alongside, the start went smoothly. Sven was able to hold of the competition and finish the first lap in the lead. Behind a pack of SimRC.de Crimson, Torrent Motorsport and Core Motorsport was following. Over the course of the next laps, however, the Iris car was able to pull away ever so slightly lap per lap. The gap was up to 5 seconds when Sven had to brake hard to avoid a GT3 car into turn 1, the car became loose, got off the track and it took all his driving skill to avoid the wall. When he returned back on the track, Core Motorsport was right on his bumper but Sven managed to fight them off and retain the lead until the first series of boxenstops. In his second stint Sven did an outstanding job, was able to open up a gap again and when he handed the car over to Leonardo Corti, it was SimRC.de Iris leading, ahead of Core Motorsport and the #33 Crimson Car.
From there on out the Race started to calm down a bit for #34 Iris. They were able to negotiate traffic and manage the gap to the cars behind so that the gap never got closer than 10 seconds to the car in second place.
In the second half of the race the spotlight was rather on the cars in second place. Around the 3h mark it was the #33 Crimson Aston Martins engine, that blew up. And the engine of the now second place, Thrustmaster Mivano Racing, followed soon after. When Stefan got into the car the gap was up to 30 seconds to Core Motorsport in second but SimRC.de Iris was able to closely follow the lap times of the last charge and after six hours crossed the finish line in first place, twenty seconds ahead of Core.
With the GT1 Category being so fiercely contested it was good to see that SimRC.de Iris can hold their own and will now head to Texas, for Round 2 at CotA. The first track of a four race series leading up to the grand finale at LeMans.