With its unique mix of drivers, choice of cool yet cost-effective GT3 cars, and professionally run races – KartSport New Zealand’s latest Dillon Photography-sponsored SIMSpeedTV-run GT3 class simulator racing series has been given the thumbs up by one of the country’s new breed of internationally successful Sim stars, James Anderson, from Whenuapai in West Auckland.
With younger brother Nathan, James has become a regular pace-setter at rounds of the KartSport NZ series, which the 19-year-old has been dove-tailing with rounds of other series he competes in, notably the Australia-based NTS V8 Evolution Championship.
At the second round of the latest Dillon Photography-sponsored GT3 Series, held at a virtual Watkins Glen road course (USA) on Tuesday evening (Aug 11) James Anderson claimed a round-best second place in the final 8-lap race of the evening, crossing the finish line 6.778 seconds behind karter/sim racer Zach Blincoe and 2.351 seconds ahead of his younger brother Nathan with Christchurch karter/sim racer Matthew Pluck just 0.280 of a second back in 4th.
At previous rounds of the original Giltrap Group and Carter’s Tyre Service-backed original SIMSpeedTV-run series and subsequent Liquidaction and Cook Strait Bookings and Tasman Karting Supplies-backed series it has not been uncommon for one driver to qualify quickest and win all three races (including the second full reverse grid one).
The latest Dillon Photography-backed one, however, saw three different winners – top Sydney-based karter/sim racer Jackson Souslin-Harlow, Auckland-based sim international Cameron Dance, and fastest qualifier, Auckland karter/sim racer Zach Blincoe.
With expat Kiwi karter Scott Fountain back running the iKartSport SIMSpeed TV events from his base in the UK the level of presentation is top class, with James Anderson, brother Nathan and Cameron Dance three of the drivers hooked up with remote cameras for the first time so that commentators Tony Chambers and Arie Hutton could see and talk with them in real time.
As he was lining up on the first rolling lap for the third race (for which he had been lucky enough to get a P2 starting spot from the random grid draw) James Anderson said that he thoroughly enjoyed competing in the iKartSport Series, particularly against the mix of drivers it naturally attracted.
“Obviously the iKartSport series has a huge variety of drivers, from the likes of Taylor Cockerton and other guys who have a lot of experience, to the young karters just coming up through the ranks.”
Like more and more of the other now regular sim racers lining up on a Tuesday evening to either practice for or compete in a round of the iKartSport sim series both Anderson brothers also take the presentation of their cars – matching black BMW Z4 GT3s running sponsorship signage from Whenuapai’s Western ITM business – and themselves as seriously in the virtual world as they would in the real one.
As for the racing itself on Tuesday evening, the quiet achiever across the three 8 lap races was Matthew Pluck from Christchurch. Karter and now a regular on the Australasian sim circuit, Pluck qualified in 8th place but claimed two 3rd place finishes and a 4th.
Though Zach Blincoe qualified on pole after an incredibly close session in which the top 10 drivers ended up being separated by just half a second, and won the third and final race from pole position he was an early casualty of contact with Blake Dowdall in the first race and didn’t make it into the top 10 in the reverse grid second race.
In much the same vein, highly-rated Aussie Jackson Souslin-Harlow, ran away with the first race but was slowed by a big crash just after the start of the second (though he did make it back up to 5th spot by the time the chequered flag came out) and didn’t feature in the top 10 in the random grid draw final.
After another practise night next Tuesday evening (Aug 18) Rnd 3 of the Dillon Photography 3-round GT3 Sim series with on-going support from KartSport New Zealand promotional partners Giltrap Group and Carter’s Tyre Service, will be held on Tuesday Aug 25.
Rnd 2 Dillon Photography KartSport New Zealand SIMSpeedTV GT3 Sim Series, Watkins Glen USA Tuesday August 11 2020.
- Zach Blincoe 1:45.989
- Pual Blomqvist +0.081
- Cameron Dance +0.078
- Zane Hills +0.144
- Jackson Souslin-Harlow +0.216
- Nathan Anderson +0.322
Race 1 (8 laps)
- Jackson Souslin-Harlow M-B AMG GT3
- Paul Blomqvist +10.376 BMW Z4
- Matthew Pluck +11.578 BMW Z4
- Nathan Anderson +12.163 BMW Z4
- Mitchell Sparrow +16.331 M-B
- Zane Hills +17.923 MW Z4
Race 2 (8 laps reverse grid start)
- Cameron Dance
- Blake Dowdall +6.870
- Matthew Pluck +13.727
- Mitchell Sparrow +16.217
- Jackson Souslin-Harlow +16.720
- Taylor Cockerton +17.539
Race 3 (8 laps random grid)
- Zach Blincoe
- James Anderson +6.778
- Nathan ANderson +9.129
- Matthew PLuck +9.409
- Cameron Dance +14.937
- Zane Hills +25.034