Karters Zane Hills and Ryan Wood proved the value of the skills and racecraft they first learned in the ‘real world’ at the final round of KartSport New Zealand’s latest three-round Dillon Photography-sponsored, SIMSpeedTV-run GT3 Simulator series at a virtual Sebring International Raceway circuit in Florida in the USA on Tuesday August 25,
Wellington teenager Wood – a title-winning Kiwi teenager who up until this year has been jetting back and forth to Australia to race karts – burst back onto the local SIM scene on Tuesday evening with the latest hi-tech Simulator (after ‘blowing up’ his old one) – and proceeded to qualify quickest and win the first and third races very much as he liked.
Aucklander Zane Hills, meanwhile, went into Tuesday night’s series final leading the series point standings after qualifying quickest and winning all three races at the first round of the Dillon Photography Series (at a virtual Nürburgring Grand Prix circuit in Germany in late July) and three top 10 finishes at the second round at a virtual Watkins Glen circuit (in the USA) a fortnight later.
As it turned out both ‘won.’
Wood made a big impression in qualifying, setting a best lap almost one second (0.949) quicker than Zane Hills (who put in a flier to claim the second best time late in the session) and over 1.5 seconds quicker than the 10th best qualifier in the 30-strong field, Paul Blomqvist.
Wood then went on to win the first 8-lap race of the evening from fellow karter/Sim racer Zach Blincoe, former karter and now tin-top car racer Matthew Griffin, Hills and former karter and newly-crowned NZ Formula Ford champion Billy Frazer.
Cromwell-based former karter and now Driver Pro at the Highlands Motorsport Park, Andrew Waite, proved a dab hand on a SIM as well in the second, reverse-grid race, leading home Mutt Minion Motorsport teammate Paul Blomqvist for a photo finish, with Ryan Wood 5th and Zane Hills 7th
It was a move in the third (random-selected-grid) race of the evening which secured the round win for Ryan Wood, however. After a couple of multi-car tangles on the opening lap he race was yellow flagged for three laps.
When it finally went green again Wood got the jump on at least 6 of the cars in front of him, sweeping around the outside of the long, extra-wide Turn 1 to take a lead he would never lose, crossing the finish line after 8 laps almost 7.5 seconds clear of second-placed Zach Blincoe and 16 seconds up on third-placed Paul Blomqvist.
Young Sim specialist Nathan Anderson was again in the mix in all three races and ended up second place overall after 6th place finishes in the first and final races on Tuesday evening.
Having proven his speed and ability to win races at the first round of the Dillon Photography Series however Zane Hills just had to log consistent finishes – preferably in the top 10 – at the two subsequent rounds in order to claim the series’ crown.
Not an easy job with reverse and randomly drawn grids at each, yet that’s exactly what the talented Auckland karter and Sim ace did, 10th place in the final race more than enough to earn him the 2020 Dillon Photography KartSport New Zealand SIMSpeedTV GT3 Sim Series title with Nathan Anderson 2nd and fellow schoolboy Sim ace Blake Dowdall form Palmerston North 3rd.
The 3-round Dillon Photography GT3 Sim series was organised and run with on-going support from KartSport New Zealand and its promotional partners Giltrap Group and Carter’s Tyre Service.
RESULTS – Rnd 3 (Final) Dillon Photography KartSport New Zealand SIMSpeedTV GT3 Sim Series, Sebring International Raceway Florida USA Tuesday August 25 2020.
- Ryan Wood (BMW Z4 GT3) 2.00.346
- Zane Hills (BMW Z4 GT3) 2.01.295 +0.949
- Izaak Fletcher (BMW Z4 GT3) 2.01.374 +1.028
- Nathan Anderson (BMW Z4 GT3) 2.01.428 +1.082
- Zach Blincoe (M-B AMG GT3) 2.01.541 +1.195
- Taylor Cockerton (BMW Z4 GT3) 2.01.611 +1.265
Race 1 (8 laps)
- Ryan Wood 8 laps
- Zach Blincoe +5.186
- Matthew Griffin +7.943
- Zane Hills +8.422
- Billy Frazer +8.708
- Nathan Anderson +19.056
Race 2 (8 laps full reverse grid)
- Andrew Waite 8 laps
- Paul Blomqvist +0.093
- James Anderson (Ferrari 488 GT3) +8.523
- Matthew Pluck +8.788
- Ryan Wood +13.766
- Matthew Griffin +15.596
Race 3 (8 lap random draw grid)
- Ryan Wood 8 laps
- Zach Blincoe +7.420
- Paul Blomqvist +16 130
- Nathan Crang +16.176
- Braedan Snowden +18.037
- Nathan Anderson +19.381
Dillon Photography 3-Rnd Series
- Zane Hills 44 points
- Nathan Anderson 69
- Blake Dowdall 95