While some predicted the opening round of the PRC V8 Supercars World Tour would be a disaster due to the short layout of Suzuka not being an ideal venue for Australian Touring Cars, the only hiccup during the entire event was caused by Reiza Studios themselves. Releasing Version 1.52 of Stock Car Extreme only a few short hours before Qualifying began, entrants scrambled to update the title – promptly running into a crippling road block.
The Steam version of the title appeared to update with no noticeable problems, however owners of the Stand-Alone version were unable to acquire all updated files through the GSC Sync application Reiza provides to manually download updates. Of the 28 drivers guaranteed entry into the first round of the twelve-race championship, narrowed down from 35 total entrants, 11 were unable to join the server due to file mismatches.
Because of this technical issue that was completely out of our control, only 17 drivers were able to start the season at Kansai. Thankfully, the rest of the session went off without a hitch. American sim racer Wilbur Walsh set the Holden Commodore track record at Kansai East with a blistering qualifying time of 49.4 seconds, though he retired from the race while leading with 25 minutes to go. Prior to disconnecting from the server, Walsh was seen in the sand trap that splits the East circuit from the full Japanese Grand Prix layout.
The full race recap can be read on the official results page over at Race2Play, who have graciously helped us set this whole Championship up for our readers, as well as anybody else who’d like to race with us.
Tire wear played an integral role in the race today, as my testing laps on Friday night made me believe I could run two sets of soft compound tires without any notable issues aside from natural tire wear. During the race itself, the tires wore out five laps earlier than in the race stint I’d practiced on Friday night, and I was forced to switch to the hard compound during our lone pit stop. I had not run a single lap on hard compound tires all week, and Fahn Thomas knocked over 12 seconds off the gap between us as I struggled to adjust to the new tire compound. I was able to preserve the lead enough to take home the victory.
The racing was extremely clean, and there were no major incidents to report. This is a fantastic outcome, as the East layout of Suzuka was deemed to small and claustrophobic for massive rear-wheel-drive touring cars. The shot above displays just how clean the start of the race was, though I imagine it would be a bit of a different story had all 28 cars been able to attend. Likewise, even the backmarkers were courteous towards the leaders and did not interfere in the outcome of the race. Despite the technical hiccup with GSC Sync and the Version 1.52, you couldn’t ask for a better start to the season once the lights went out.
All are welcome to join us for our next round at Kyalami on December 26th, as all that is needed is a basic account on Race2Play.