Coanda Simsport At The Simracing Expo 2014
During the 19th-21st September, the final weekend of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Nürburgring, the highly anticapated Simracing Expo was held for the first time. Organized by Marc Hennerici, from the ADAC Mittelrhein e.V., the Simracing Expo was the first of its kind, an event aimed at connecting both virtual, and real-life motorsports together at one of the most legendary race circuits in the world. Hosted at the Ring°Boulevard right behind the tracks main grandstands, the expo displayed the latest virtual trends, motorsport simulations and simracing hardware leading from steeringwheels and pedals to full motion simulators.
Coanda Simsport was visiting the event from friday to sunday; in attendance were André, Jörn, Martin, and Philip, from Germany, along with fellow teammate Martti Pietilä, who flew down from Finland to share in the experiences with his fellow Coanda Simsport teammates. The following is a synopsis of our weekend at the Sim-Racing Expo:
André, Jörn and Philip arrived at the Nürburgring early Friday afternoon, from which point Phillip would set off to help set up an RC-car track, on which he would later be competing against other RC-car enthusiasts. As for André and Jörn, their plans on day one were to make contact with the staff from iRacing.com
After a great welcome by the iRacing staff, consisting of Tony Gardner, Steve Meyers, Kevin Bobbit and Otto Szebeni, we were told to prepare for a big press conference later that evening. Attending the conference Coanda Simsport was present as iRacing.com announced their partnership with the Nürburgring to bring the iconic Nürburgring-Nordschleife Circuit to the iRacing service, the final product of which is set to become available to iRacing.com members in 2015.
After this great news we got settled into our hotel, nestled in the Eifel mountains, a close and convienet five-kilomters from the Nordschleife. Martti arrived sometime around mid-night, having landed a short time earlier in Düsseldorf, he arranged for a rental car, and drove to meet up with the rest of the team at the Nürburgring. Settling in for the evening, the guys prepared for the next day ahead of them…
The second day of the Simracing Expo started early for some of us. Martin had to start his trip to the Nürburgring early in the morning as he lives about 4 hours away from the track. While Martin arrived at the track André, Jörn, Martti and Philip were having breakfast in the iRacing.com VIP lounge, enjyoing a great view over the track.
At around 10am André, Jörn and Martin signed up for the 15 minutes of free practice for the first ADAC simracing trophy they particitpated in, as they got nominated for it by germany’s biggest simracing community Virtual Racing e.V. The contest was held with Raceroom Racing Experience and Raceroom Rigs sporting Logitech G27 equipment.
As the contest was held over the whole day everyone of our team had the chance to check out the expo already while Philip was doing his first qualifying runs for the rc car race.
While Martti enjoyed first test drives in the iRacing Simulators, Martin and André fought their way into the final of the simracing trophy. With 96 drivers starting the contest only 16 would make the final race, scheduled to go off later that evening, the finalists would get the opportunity to race against not just their fellow sim-racers, but alongside eight current Blancpain Series drivers, such as Christopher Mies and Marc Basseng.
By event’s end, both Martin and André brought home a well-earned 7th, and 9th places respectively, an admirable achievement given their unfamiliarity with both the hardware, and simulation software with which they drove.
With the conclusion of the Sim-Racing Expo contest, it was time for the Coanda drivers to party! Virtual Racing e.V., along with T+N Motorsport had organized a reception for the participant, with a hearty buffet, and of course, a plentiful supply of beverages for the nearly one-hudnred sim-racers in attendance. While André, Jörn, Martti and Philip headed back to the hotel, we had to say our good-byes to Martin, who was set to drive back later that evening.
The last day of the Simracing Expo would see no official program, and with Philip was set to race his RC-car, the rest of the team took the opportunity to once again meet with the iRacing staff, who had made the trip from Boston, Massachusettes, to play co-host to the Sim-Racing Expo.
At 11:45 it was finally time to watch some real racing, with the start of the Blancpain Endurance Series Nürburgring-1000km. Watching from the iRacing VIP Lounge, we had the chance to enjoy the rain-drenched event in comfortable surroundings.
The next 6-hours of the Nürburgring-100km race were run almost entirely under the umbrella of rain-clouds, but by race’s end, the skies cleared, and the sun shown – putting a bright end to a long race-weekend. It was a fantastic race ownly beaten by iRacing CEO Tony Gardner handing out the trophies to the winners after the event.
By now it was time for the Coanda Simsport guys to pack their bags and head home – but not before a send-off dinner back in Cologne.
We are thankful for the opprtunity to meet with, and share in, the experience of this weekend, and we wish to give a special thanks to Marc Hennerici, and the entire staff of iRacing, and Virtual Racing e.V..