Snake Eyes Vipers take farewell Championship with Ross Smith Champion in GTE-Am
It was a warm and pleasant late afternoon in Bahrain. With several Championships still in doubt, drivers and teams came to give it all in the final race of the season. The race was plagued by incidents, spins, offs, and penalties.
For LMP2 it was a straightforward win for Wouter de Bruijn, his second of the season. While Colin Moore started from the back of the grid he prevailed, ultimately driving all the way to 2nd, and commandingly taking the inaugural VWSC Championship.
Whited fought hard, but a spin after exiting the Pits that left him stationary for a good amount of time sank his remaining hopes at the title. Further behind were Cosimo Streppone and Brian Hall, a battle that went all the way to the end, albeit the former having his own fair share of spins.
Finally, the last pair of Wayne Hutchison and David Anderson had a good battle throughout with Hutchison prevailing at the end.
Wayne Hutchison, David Anderson, and Colin Moore going 3 wide through turn 2/31
That brings us to LMPC, a final showdown between Tom Mountjoy and Champion Bob Roberson… Difficulties suffered by Bob Roberson during a miscommunication of his crew over a drive-through penalty that ultimately was proven to be a Stop & Go, left a clear path to Mountjoy ultimately prevailing to take his second class win, though not without drama.
During the latter part of the race, he collided with Ross Smith’s Viper giving a scare to both of them as Smith was racing hard trying to secure his own Championship. All was well at the end and Mountjoy finished 2 laps ahead of Roberson.
In GTE classes non-stop drama of incidents spins, and offs caused havoc among competitors that the Pit Lane was looking more like a rush hour in a train station than a typical sportscar pit lane…
In the Pro category, it was a “Who is having no incidents” game with first victim George Angelidis getting rear ended twice (!) at Turn 1 in Lap 3 from Jerry Chen going deep in the brakes and later on from Tony Boynton missing his braking point completely. Marouane el Idrissi and Cameron Sansano spun on their own, the latter destroying his tires and with them his hopes for a win.
Vasilis Katerinakis had an abysmal race as well, spinning once and getting a drive-through at the last lap. That was converted to a 25-second penalty, which means he finished 15th overall, but still 5th in class. “The rocket” Yassin Marzoug learned his lesson from Sebring to be more patient and strike when his opponents are most vulnerable.
With Sansano and el Idrissi out of the picture, it was “cruising time” for Marzoug, who went and win the game of having no incidents and thus… winning the class. Marouane el Idrissi finished 2nd, but Cameron Sansano survived to finish 3rd getting all he needed to secure the Championship. Without a Scuderia Cavalli 1-2 that meant that SimHQ Motorsports – CMS Ford beat Ferrari one more time in one of their numerous encounters…
Yassin “The Rocket” Marzoug dominated throughout the race
With an absent Imad el Idrissi in the AM class, it was being “ruthless” as usual for Ross Smith having no mercy for the struggles of his competitors. He even fought a wounded Cameron Sansano for the overall podium honors of the GTE class!
This being his last race as a GTE AM driver and with his future uncertain, Smith made sure that some team owners were watching… as he with the help of teammate “flying” Frank Radosti, delivered the Dodge Viper program’s farewell Championship while Smith securing one for himself.
The “maestro” Matt Buice hit a discordance in his music having a torrid race with incidents falling down to a “lowly” 4th for him, even behind his brother Mike Buice, who managed to secure another podium. After Guilherme Bencke’s crew had a talk with him pushing him to spend more time on the track than on Pit Lane lately Bencke delivered – a 2nd place, a career-high lately. His crew agreed that “straightening him up” before the race would be the routine come next year.
That left Championship contender Tom Nasella. After he found a better pace than in the practice session, a miscommunication in the pits made him have an uncalled service after his stop & go penalty. His crew chief was furious at his mechanics throwing away the race, and called him in to retire the car, thus saving what could have been a more expensive Bahrain round had Nasella been involved in the go-around melee.
However, the Rothmans man said that they “really enjoyed the season and are looking forward to the next one”.
Back and forth battles with Guilherme Bencke (Ford) and Mike Buice (Aston Martin) behind
Final Series Standings
MOMO Performance Racing
GTE PRO Drivers
Marouane el Idrissi
GTE PRO Teams
SimHQ Motorsports – CMS Ford
Scuderia Cavalli Ferrari
MOMO Performance Racing Porsche
GTE AM Drivers
GTE AM Teams
Snake Eyes Racing Viper
Rothmans Racing Ford
Trash Panda Racing Aston Martin
With COVID-19 creating its own crisis in the world of endurance racing the once-dominant Le Mans Prototypes are no more. And the ever-popular GTE class is slowly dwindling, priced-out thanks to the rising tide of the ubiquitous GT3.
It is a time of uncertainty, unknowns, and change. In this new world of what-ifs, VWSC steps in the newly regulated Hypercar class (LMH) while, at the same time, honoring what may be the last season of GTE as we know it.
With the Dodge Viper gone, a new Aston Martin Vantage, and the new BMW M8 among others, the VWSC 2021 Championship will have a beautifully balanced Grand Touring class. In the top tier, concept Hypercars like the McLaren Senna GTR, Ferrari FXX-K Evo, and a radicalized Nissan GT-R LMH are entering the fray.
This new concept Hypercar class has also been pristinely balanced and tested to fit within the FIA’s Le Mans Hypercar ruleset while maintaining very unique car characteristics.
This new season takes us into uncharted territory, and you can experience it firsthand starting January 2021.