This is it. After 7 weeks, hundreds of laps, and an exuberant amount of drama, it has come down to just 2 quick races. This week, in what is the final race of the Online Racing League BMW M-Sport Cup, drivers are faced with the ever-sunny and flat out Autodromo Nazionale Monza. The two frontrunners of the season, Jacob Bowkett and Riidge, are entering qualifying split by just 47 points at a track where anything could happen. In qualifying, Bowkett looked to take one last pole position in the series after a hard-charging Riidge stole the show last week at Catalunya with a stunning pole position. The two undisputed front runners of the series put on a show at Monza, entering the closing stages of qualifying with equal lap times; a truly impressive feat. Unfortunately for the Riidge, Bowkett proved his final pole position was yet to come as he dropped a stunning lap time (1:47.501) as time expired to take the top spot. Riidge held on to second (1:47.785) with AMS Nightmare landing himself in the final podium starting spot.
Despite the tight nature of Monza, race 1 began with a rather structured and cautious first lap. Apart from a few taps, the small field of 11 cars performed one of the cleanest starts of the season. The early stages was hardly boring, though, with drivers like LRT Lamb Chop capitalizing on the slow nature of the tracks’ chicanes. The British driver would find himself in the top 5 for the first time in a race 1 this season before being shuffled down the order. He was far from done, though, as he struck back on FTR Lothario to solidify himself as a contender in the mid pack for the days races.
Further forward, AMS Nightmare was barely hanging onto the leading train, which consisted of Riidge, Bowkett, and Adzhas. On lap 4, this battle really heated up with Riidge taking the lead and doing what it would take to win the championship. Bowkett, who was shuffled out of his early lead, found himself under heavy attack from the incredibly consistent AMS Nightmare and FTR Adzhas. Bowkett, who desperately needed to stay in front of Riidge to maintain his championship lead, had it all to play for with two thirds of the race remaining. From this point of the race onward, Riidge would quickly put his qualifying disappointment behind him as he went on to set a blazing pace and pull a comfortable gap over his rivals.
Towards the closing stages of the race, the battle between Adzhas and Swiift was fierce. The AMS driver was struggling to maintain his car through the lesmos, which lead to a strong attack from Adzhas heading down towards the Ascari curves. Swiift, appearing desperate to hold second, forced Adzhas onto the grass. What happened next was unclear, but the two ultimately ended up into the righthand wall, with the Alien Motorsports driver attaining some heavy damage. This had serious implications on the championship, as it extended a lifeline to Bowkett (Who benefitted to 2nd as a result of the crash) and reduced a heavy points loss to just 10 points. For Riidge, who won the race by over 5 seconds, race 2 was going to be an uphill climb.
It would be unfair to only talk about the championship contenders this week, though, as there were many great drives throughout the field. LRT Lamb Chop had an amazing run in race 1 to finish 4th, as did AMS Nightmare who was setting some of the fastest laps on track en route to a third place finish. Further back, The FTR team of Bobby, Adzhas, and Lothario can all be proud in finishing 5th-7th, respectively. (Although you’d have to expect Adzhas to be disappointed after being taken out with a shot at second.)
As a race fan, I was almost sad to see race 2 come. As a huge fan of reverse grids in league racing, this would be the final time we’d get to watch the likes of Riidge and Nightmare climb from deep in the pack to the pointy end of the field. With that in mind, the start of race 2 did not disappoint. Into turn 1 there was a lot of contact with Freheliaz and CesarsWrath forced to take the inside cut in order to maintain their spot. After contact in the curva della roggia, many drivers found themselves slowed considerably or off the track completely, allowing Bowkett, Nightmare, and Riidge through into the middle parts of the field. After a mistake in turn 2 at the start of lap 2, Bowkett was left vulnerable to an overtake from Riidge, who’s championship relied on him finishing as many positions as possible ahead of his championship rival.
Further ahead, Nightmare, Swiift, and Bobby found themselves in a battle down through the Ascari curves. The two Alien Motorsports drivers would masterfully team up on their Full Throttle Racing rival into the Parabolica, assuming second and third position respectively. Just behind, Bowkett and Riidge continued their season-long battle, which took a decisive turn on lap 5 when Riidge had nowhere to go but into the back of FTR Bobby. The loss in momentum saw the British driver shuffled back to 7th, behind Bowkett and Adzhas who capitalized on the situation.
On lap 7, the lead changed once again, with Swiift making a masterful move on Lothario to take the lead in turn 1. His crossover move was nothing short of beautiful, and was in my opinion one of the best overtakes of the season. Just a lap later, AMS Nightmare repeated the move on Lothario - this time around the outside - to set up an Alien Motorsports 1-2 for the time being. At this time, though, the action was just behind the battle for 2nd, with Riidge, Bowkett, Bobby, Adzhas, and Lamb Chop all battling for supremacy in the mid field. Unfortunately, the battle for the championship came to an end in this fight, as Riidge made a slight error in Ascari forcing him into the sand trap.
In the end, Nightmare would catch Swiift in the final moments of the race to pull off a stunning move on his AMS teammate and take the win in the final race of the championship! The Alien Motorsport 1-2 would be followed up by Lothario who did well to hold the last step of the podium, Adzhas, Bowkett, Bobby, and Riidge who finished 3rd through 7th, respectively.
That wraps up the Online Racing League BMW M-Sport Cup! This has been an amazing series to cover and the racing was phenomenal. Congratulations to Jacob Bowkett on his driver and privateer championships, and well done to Full Throttle Racing for their win in the team’s championship. I can’t wait to see all of you in the next Thursday night ORL series; the Online Racing League Porsche Cup, which starts later on this spring on YMTV Racing!
Written by Daniel "ForceOne" Nyman
We’re officially into the second half of the season, and the battle for the championship in the Online Racing League BMW M-Sport Cup is as hot as ever. This week, the drivers will be challenged by the storied Watkins Glen International Raceway in South-Western New York. Although weather isn’t a factor this week, there will be no shortage of difficulty in pursuit of the checkered flag. Between the kerbs and the one-line nature of this circuit, in addition to the momentum based style of the BMW Z4, overtaking will be difficult and track position will be everything. On top of that, new names like ForzaRC champion AMS RoadRunner and his teammate AMS Blaze have joined the fight, meaning a good result will be even harder to come by. In qualifying, AMS RoadRunner (3rd - 1:46.923) and FTR Adzhas (2nd - 1:46.802) put up strong fights in a bid to start from the point of the field. In the closing moments of qualifying, though, Jacob Bowkett took a page out of the book of racing legend Michael Schumacher to take the pole from Adzhas with a 1:46.722. Despite his last ditch effort for pole, Bowkett was far from having an advantage over the field, and it was obvious that race 1 could go to any of the top 5 drivers depending on circumstance. Regardless, Jacob Bowkett’s pole streak is now 5 races strong, as he remains undefeated this season; a truly commendable accomplishment.
The start of race 1 was rather cordial, with the top 5 drivers responsibly slotting in line on the opening lap. In lieu of last weeks chaos, it was clear that drivers like Bowkett and Swiift were simply looking to survive the opening lap in order to stay in contention for this week’s victory. Despite efforts from RiiDGE to move forward, Swiift was having none of it as he defended in the early parts of the race.
One of last week’s stars, AMS Nightmare, struggled early on in race 1. Following a rather disappointing qualifying per his standard, the Scottish driver was forcefully moved wide exiting the boot, shuffling him down the order. Unfortunately for this week, he was simply unable to move forward as quickly or as aggressively as he would’ve liked, which lead him to a quiet mid-field finish.
Up front, the twisting bends and long straights of the Glen treated viewers to an engineering chess match; it was obvious from the start of the green flag that the top three drivers were running slightly different setups, with Bowkett and Adzhas opting for less aero while Roadrunner went on the attack with a cornering based tune. This dynamic came to its fruition on lap four when FTR Adzhas - appearing to be under pressure from Roadrunner - carried more speed than his car could handle into the bus stop, costing him the position and valuable track position. From this point on, it was down to Bowkett and Roadrunner for the race win.
Midway through the field, the mid pack once again delivered in a battle between AMS Blaze, THR SparkyDS, FTR Lothario and a closing AMS Nightmare. Blaze acted as a cork in a bottle with Lothario and Sparky trading blows throughout the next through laps. His defensive nature also allowed Nightmare to close in on the battle, which was crucial in his bid for a decent finish. Following a critical error by AMS Swiift, which destroyed a majority of his front end, the four aforementioned drivers were now fighting for the fifth spot. Some argy-bargy between Blaze and Lothario ultimately ended with the former losing two spots. Regardless, his teammate Nightmare had moved up to 6th and was knocking on the door for 5th against FTR Lothario.
Unfortunately, the race would reach a premature end by virtue of a mass lobby disconnect, which saw the field locked in place at the time of the disconnect. With that said, Jacob Bowkett would take the win over AMS Roadrunner, FTR Adzhas, TX3 RiiDGE, FTR Lothario, AMS Nightmare, AMS Blaze and THR SparkyDS in 2nd through 8th, respectively.
In the second stint of the evening, all of the patience from race 1 had been thrown out of the window with drivers urgently trying to move forward. Through the esses, a chain reaction between Cesarswrath and MR SLAYER 19 would develop into a NASCAR esque pile up with drivers like Astonash, Cragadon and Nightmare all getting caught up in the carnage. Jacob Bowkett, who was not explicitly caught up in the incident, lost a considerable amount of time to his closest competitors as a result of the crash.
Up front, GTR Tyskie defended well from the front row of the grid over FTR Bobby, THR Flex, and AMS Swiift. Much like round 1 at the Nurburgring Grand Prix circuit, the veteran driver had pulled out a small lead in the early stages of the race. After some side-by-side action through the early stages of lap 3, Tyskie was eventually shuffled to fourth in the bus stop in an incident which also saw AMS Swiift fall to 9th behind a charging Jacob Bowkett.
Bowkett, who had started in last, recovered nicely from early struggles to settle in the wake of a rapidly climbing TX3 RiiDGE - his closest rival in the championship. Some drama in the final corner of lap four would see Tyskie, who was looking to make it three wide with Swiift and Bowkett, attain damage in an eventual collision with THR Astonash. On a larger scale, this event would put Bowkett hot on the heels of TX3 RiiDGE in a bid to further extend his championship lead.
On lap six, the championship reached another crucial turning point. After being aggressively overtaken by Roadrunner and teammate Swiift, Bowkett would be forced to pit after an offscreen incident which almost certainly gave him some form of damage. This situation was huge for rival RiiDGE, who now had free reign to pick up as many points as he could in response to Bowkett’s hardships.
As if race 2 couldn’t be more dramatic, a feud between AMS Roadrunner and leader FTR Bobby turned the excitement up to eleven. The Full Throttle Racing driver had desperately defended his lead since he took the top spot on lap three, and he wasn’t going to let a hard charging Alien Motorsport squad walk in and take a possible first win in the ORL M-Sport cup. Heading into turn 6, Bobby aggressively attempted to cut across Roadrunner’s nose, who was unfortunately already up the inside. Bobby was consequently spun into the outside retaining wall, while Roadrunner was moved wide, allowing a quietly charging TX3 RiiDGE to momentarily take the top spot.
In the closing stages of this jaw-dropping race 2, it was four-against-one with championship contender TX3 RiiDGE desperate to hold off a field of Alien Motorsport drivers and gain a maximum points haul in the championship fight. Following some questionable defending from Blaze, RiiDGE was severely held up in the heel of the boot, allowing Nightmare and Swiift to close in. Exiting back onto the NASCAR circuit, Blaze aggressively ran RiiDGE wide allowing the ever-opportunistic Swiift and Nightmare to slide through, completing an AMS 1-2-3-4. Ultimately, RiiDGE would have to settle for fifth despite a good effort all race long, with Adzhas 6th, Lothario 7th, and Flex rounding out the top 6.
I was pleasantly surprised by the racing this week; many drivers appeared to learn their lesson from past meetings and there was a refreshed sense of calculation and patience throughout the evening. Drivers like Roadrunner and Bowkett truly showed that good racecraft is alive and thriving on console racing games. Despite this, there was no shortage of drama in this week’s event. The biggest story heading into the next three weeks is likely Bowkett’s struggles in race 2. The british driver rebounded nicely from last week and was tied with Roadrunner as the class of the field in my opinion. If it weren’t for his incident in race 2, Bowkett would have a rather comfortable championship lead moving forward. The drama doesn’t end there, though, as both the incident between FTR Bobby and Roadrunner along with the last lap battle between Blaze and RiiDGE are sure to stir up some controversy and discussion in the coming weeks. Although I’m not in a position to comment on either incident, I’m excited to see how these rivalries unfold in the coming weeks. In a high pressure environment like this, where anything can happen, I have a feeling that we haven’t seen the end of either battle this season.
As we move on to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Jacob Bowkett now has a 44 point championship lead as a result of a masterful race 1 victory and some hard racing between TX3 RiiDGE and Alien Motorsport in race 2. Will he hold on for the championship? Find out this Thursday on YMTV Racing at 8:00pm GMT/3:00pm EST.
Written By Daniel "ForceOne" Nyman
This week, drivers have traveled to the unpredictable weather of the Silverstone Racing Circuit, located in the heart of England, for round 4 of the Online Racing League BMW M-Sport Series on Forza Motorsport 6. This week is filled with storylines as Jacob Bowkett looks to go four-for-four on pole positions, and extend his championship lead. This week, Alien Motorsports [AMS] drivers Nightmare and Swiift join the field as they try to follow TX3 RiiDGE’s success at Road America and steal some thunder away from Bowkett. In qualifying, TX3 RiiDGE (2:01.282) and AMS Nightmare (2:01.471) brought some serious pressure to the fight, with RiiDGE and Bowkett trading the top spot throughout the session. In the end, Jacob Bowkett (2:01. 193) pulled out a stunner in the final seconds of qualifying to claim the pole position. Considering the top 7 was split by roughly a second, it was clear that we would be treated to no shortage of action headed into race 1.
As the season progresses into its middle stages, one of the developing themes is drama in turn 1. This week, polesitter Jacob Bowkett - looking to hold on to the lead after the first sector for the first time since round 1 at the Nurburgring - was swarmed by TX3 RiiDGE, FTR Adzhas and the AMS drivers, before a series of slight taps reshuffled the order at the front even more. Heading onto the Wellington straight, it would be second place qualifier TX3 RiiDGE with the holeshot; he was already developing a small lead towards the latter stages of lap 1.
Further back, the second storyline of the day would quickly develop as a result of aggression and an angry kerb heading into Copse. FTR Lothario, refusing to concede a position to a charging AMS Nightmare, positioned his car to the outside of the Alien Motorsports driver heading into one of the fastest corners on the track. Before the pair ever reached the corner, Lothario high sided on the outside kerb, which rotated his car inward making contact with Nightmare in the process. The ensuing chain reaction would send Nightmare to the back end of the field; he would need a miracle drive to make it back to the pointy end of the field.
In the meantime, Bowkett quickly recovered from his lap 1 struggles to get into second; there was nothing separating the pole sitter from TX3 RiiDGE ahead. Further back, the ever-entertaining mid pack battle was as fierce as ever, with THR Astonash and FTR Furore racing in close proximity from Copse all the way to the start finish line. The bout would see a frenzy of side by side action with numerous position changes; the young THR driver would ultimately come out on top.
Just ahead, Lothario and CesarsWrath would trade divebombs throughout the first parts of lap 3, with Cesar making a historic lunge into Brooklands. Despite the presence of contact in both moves, the two continued on relatively unscathed.
Back down in 11th position, Nightmare was down, but not out. Making up 5 spots in the matter of 2 minutes, he was certainly relentless in his climb back to the front. He put on a clinic throughout the race, moving into 7th with relevance in the battle for 5th in the closing stages of the 11 lap sprint. On the final lap, Nightmare put an absolutely jaw-dropping move on Bobby for 6th, and it looked as though we would see a battle between the Scotsman and the man who ultimately sent him to the back in the first place.
In the end, Nightmare didn’t have enough time to catch Lothario for a top 5 spot, but he made a valiant effort nonetheless. Considering his pace and starting position as a result of the reverse grid, he would clearly be a contender for the win in race 2. Up front, RiiDGE led Bowkett to the line by just over a second; the VirtualDrivers by TX3 pilot managed the gap to his closest competitor masterfully from start to finish, and earned a deserved victory.
As rain began to fall in Silverstone, YMTV viewers were treated to the most dramatic opening lap up to this point in the season. With multiple drivers off in turn 3 and 4, and the running order reshuffling by the second, it was undoubtedly difficult to keep up with the melee that ensued. Amidst all of the contact and chaos, AMS Nightmare and TX3 RiiDGE kept their cool to make up some impressive ground early on, running 3rd and 5th at the end of lap 1 respectively. Further back, Jacob Bowkett was also making good progress and keeping up with the two aforementioned drivers, before he hydroplaned into turn 1 on lap 2 losing considerable ground to the cars ahead.
In the midfield, the racing was chaotic and unpredictable, with a surging THR SparkyDS caught in a battle with teammate Trypassin and GGR Verstappen. The three would trade positions and paint as they seeked to gain supremacy and take the fight to FTR Adzhas and GTR CesarsWrath. Moments later, the GT Racing Team driver would run wide heading on to the Wellington straight, only to regain his lost positions by virtue of contact between Verstappen and Sparky. Albiet exciting for the spectators, the ORL stewards will undoubtedly be taking a look at a few incidents from this area of the race.
Up front, the race for the lead was as close as it had been all night, with TX3 RiiDGE attaching himself to the rear wing of race leader AMS Nightmare on lap 5. Heading into village, RiiDGE showed no fear with a confident lunge up the inside of Nightmare. Following two crossovers, Nightmare eventually gained supremacy heading into the fast left hander; with 6 laps remaining, and RiiDGE still close behind, the race was not over. Just two laps later - in a carbon copy of the previous move, RiiDGE retook the lead from his AMS rival. This time, he avoided making the same mistake twice, and covered the apex as he exited turn 4, ensuring Nightmare had no choice but to fall behind.
In the battle for third, another Alien Motorsport driver - AMS Swiift - was slowly but surely closing in on Jacob Bowkett, who admittedly appeared slightly off his game in race 2. On lap 8, Swiift stunned Bowkett, momentarily claiming 3rd from the privateer. Although Bowkett was able to hold on for the time being, things would change on the final lap of the race. Heading into sector 3, Bowkett made an uncharacteristic error, all but handing the final step of the podium to AMS Swiift.
As the final checkered flag of the evening fell, it was TX3 Riidge who would take the double-victory, with AMS Nightmare still relevant finishing 2nd by just under a second. Just behind, AMS Swiift rolled home in 3rd to give Alien Motorsport 2 out of the top 3 positions. An understandably disappointed Jacob Bowkett would come home fourth, with his championship lead cut down to just 30 points. In 5th, it was FTR Adzhas, followed by THR Astonash, FTR Lothario, GTR CesarsWrath, THR SparkyDS and THR Trypassin completing the top 10.
As we reach the midpoint of the season, a fantastic championship fight between TX3 RiiDGE and privateer Jacob Bowkett is quickly developing. Split by just 30 points when factoring in the drop round, each driver will need to use calculated aggression to ensure they bring home the most points at the end of each week. In the mid field, the fight for supremacy is just as fierce as it was in week 1. Drivers like FTR Bobby, THR Astonash, THR SparkyDS and more are separated by just a few points with a lot of racing to go. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top as the season comes to a close.
One of the talking points of this week was the driving standards. It's unclear if drivers were simply having an off night, or if the January 31st super-moon was having some sort of affect on the racing; needless to say, there was a lot of contact in a very short amount of laps. Heading to Watkins Glen - a momentum track - drivers will need to tame their aggression and remain patient in order to stay relevant to the drivers in front. It is very easy to lose time via contact or risky moves on a flowing track with high speed corners. The key to success will undoubtedly be a combination of diligence and composure.
On a lighter note, the standout star of this week is obviously TX3 RiiDGE. By earning a calm, cool and collected win in race 1, and showing some aggression to go from 16th to 1st in race 2, RiiDGE is not only a championship contender but the driver to beat currently in the Online Racing League BMW M-Sport series. The British driver has Jacob Bowkett right where he wants him heading in to the second half of the season.
To conclude, the battle between RiiDGE and Bowkett for supremacy, combined with the tenacity of the midfield action, has made the ORL M-Sport series THE series to watch in the coming weeks.
Recap By Daniel "ForceOne" Nyman
For Round 3 of the Online Racing League’s (ORL) BMW M-Sport Series we made the trip north from Sebring, Florida to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, home of Road America. A staple of American road racing, Road America regularly features on the SCCA, AMA Superbikes, Nascar Xfinity, and IndyCar schedules, with 14 turns, multiple high speed straights, and numerous elevation changes Road America is a challenging track for any driver to fully master.
Going into this round we had no shortage of developing stories to discuss. First was the emergence of TX3 RiiDGE in Race 1 at Sebring, his shining debut was however marred by a disappointing result in Race 2. Could he recover and contend with current points leader Jacob Bowkett for the Driver’s Championship. Who would emerge as the favorite in the Team Championship? THR, GTR, and FTR drivers had all posted quality results in the first 2 rounds giving us a multi-team battle for 1st in the team points. F4H’s South announcement that he would not be finishing the series was also noteworthy, having had great results in Round 1, South’s absence from Round 2 was noticeable. His explanation for retiring from the series was that he felt that by competing on FM6 he was inadvertently causing himself to lose pace on FM7. While we were disappointed by his departure his reasoning is completely understandable as the top drivers have begun to prepare for the next Forza Racing Championship.
THR Ne 70 would claim the pole position early in qualifying with FTR Adzhas and TX3 RiiDGE just behind him. Undefeated in qualifying so far in the series, Jacob Bowkett sat in fourth as the top four posted times in the 2:05s. RiiDGE would then jump the order to first as Bowkett improved to second. On the penultimate lap of qualifying, Ne briefly assumed the pole but RiiDGE would come through the line improving his time to regain first. Bowkett stood in third with Adzhas just a tenth of a second behind. On the final lap with the pressure turned on, RiiDGE and Ne failed to improve leaving it down to Bowkett to finish his lap. As Bowkett crossed the line he put in an astounding lap of 2:05.500 improving by 3 tenths of second to claim his third pole position.
Jacob Bowkett would start on pole but a poor start would see him drop to third as TX3 RiiDGE and THR ne 70 would streak past him before turn 1. At a bit of chaos would then ensue as FTR Lothario would get caught sleeping into the braking zone, running into the back of THR SparkyDS. SparkyDS, having been punted forward, would then collect THR ne 70 and Jacob Bowkett. THR Flex would also be an unfortunate bystander of the incident and find himself in the sand trap after a bump from Lothario. TX3 RiiDGE would barely dodge the carnage but fly away from the group as everyone slowed to avoid the spinning cars.
Coming out of turn 2, RiiDGE had a significant lead as FTR Bobby had moved into 2nd after starting in 9th. GTR ErikPipe in third, led the main pack down the Moraine Sweep to turn 5. FTR Adzhas appeared to be extremely comfortable in his car as he made his way past GTR Cesarswrath to take over 4th.
The race was now a bit spread but a few small battles would spring up. FTR Bobby would be challenged by GTR ErikPipe into turn 5 with ErikPipe eventually claiming the position. Further back, GTR Cesarswrath would miss his braking point into Canada Corner, going wide and losing several positions.
FTR Bobby would continue to challenge GTR ErikPipe for second as FTR Adzhas was lurking just behind them waiting for his opportunity. ErikPipe would run a bit wide into turn 1 giving Bobby and Adzhas both the chance to overtake him. After his early setbacks, Jacob Bowkett had recovered to be running in 7th trying to chase down FTR Furore and GTR Warwick. Bobby and Adzhas continued to battle for 2nd amongst themselves while Jacob Bowkett made quick work of Warwick and Furore. A tiny slid from Bobby in the final turn would be just the opportunity Adzhas would need to finally secure 2nd position.
As Bowkett moved around the outside of ErikPipe to take 4th, TX3 RiiDGE had suddenly lost a significant portion of his lead. A follow up after the race would reveal that he had changed his controller batteries on the main straight. FTR Adzhas was now just out of striking range still several car lengths back from the leader.
In undoubtedly the best move of the race, THR Astonash would make a magnificent pass when on the main straight, he would follow the 3 wide battle of GTR ErikPipe, FTR Furore, and GTR Warwick into turn 1, diving to the inside and passing all three in a single turn. Without any significant mistakes TX3 RiiDGE and FTR Adzhas would cruise home but the battle for the last place on the podium was heating up. FTR Bobby defended against the hard charging Jacob Bowkett. A poor run down the Hurry Downs resulted in Jacob Bowkett getting alongside Bobby but on the outside for the Carousel. In a bit of being a little to nice, Bobby gave Bowkett a little to much space and clipped the inside grass losing caused a slide and gave Bowkett the position. The closing laps were slightly uneventful aside from a lag incident between THR Ne 70 and FTR Furore that resulted in Furore retiring with damage late in the race.
In the end, TX3 RiiDGE ran away with the race after the first lap chaos. FTR Adzhas had a great showing taking second and Jacob Bowkett in a solid recovery run took third. FTR Bobby and THR Astonash rounded out the top 5 with solid performance of their own.
Catch the replay on our youtube at YMTV Racing
The field would be led to turn 1 by the THR duo of Taity and Trypassin. Taity would push out wide through Turn 1 letting GTR CesarsWrath and THR’s SparkyDS and Flex past. Into the braking zone of Turn 2, a rear tire on the grass would send Taity again wide. This time the entire field would stream past, ruining the THR owner’s chance at top result.
FTR Lothario would make a great move on the brakes into Turn 5 passing 2 cars and taking over 5th. THR ne 70 would attempt to overtake Lothario on the outside of Turn 7 but understeer into the grass. Further back in the field, FTR Bobby and Jacob Bowkett would come together at Turn 7 sending both off of the track, eventually rejoining at the rear of the field.The pack would form a single file train for the Carousel through Kettle Bottom. Coming out of Canada Corner, GTR ErikPipe would get a great run of teammate GTR Warwick getting alongside through turn 13. ErikPipe would drift a little wide and THR ne 70 would sneak alongside him with FTR Adzhas making it 3 wide into the final turn. A bump from ErikPipe into Adzhas would push Ne wide into the sand trap outside of Turn 14. Ne would appear to collect damage after a bit of lag and ultimately retire from the race.
THR newcomer, Trypassin would lead the field after the lap 1 chaos followed by GTR Cesarswrath and THR Flex. The race 1 top finishers were finding it hard to move through the pack with TX3 RiiDGE, Jacob Bowkett, and FTR Adzhas still running near the back of the field. A mid pack battle for 7th through 11th would erupt in Turn 5 as ErikPipe would get swarmed by a group of cars as FTR Furore, FTR Adzhas, and TX3 RiiDGE would get past. Through the Carousel Adzhas and RiiDGE would bump a little resulting in RiiDGE off track in the sand trap.
At the front of the field, GTR Cesarswrath would make a minor mistake though the final turn and THR Flex would make the pass for 2nd up the hill on ending lap 2. THR Flex would use the draft down the Moraine Straight to pass his teammate Trypassin for the lead. The race would then quiet down a bit as the drivers would spread out and settle in. A mistake from THR Trypassin out of turn 6 would drop him back into the clutches of GTR Cesarswrath as THR Flex increased his lead at the front. Cesarswrath would assume 2nd from Trypassin with FTR Lothario and THR SparkyDS close behind.
FTR Lothario would have a good run through the kink and find his way into third passing Trypassin into Canada Corner. Turn 5 would again be the spot for a battle to erupt as GTR CesarsWrath, FTR Lothario, and THR’s Trypassin and SparkyDS would have a bit of bumping while battling for 2nd through 5th. Lothario would move ahead of Cesarswrath for 2nd while SparkyDS would get past Trypassin for 4th. This battling had allowed THR Flex a large lead at the front while the pack of GTR Warwick, FTR Adzhas and Jacob Bowkett had been able to catch up to the battling group.
Bowkett would patiently begin to move his way up the order, overtaking FTR Adzhas, GTR Warwick and THR Trypassin to finally crack into the top 5. A slide from Cesarswrath the last time through the kink would allow Bowkett into 4th position as behind TX3 RiiDGE and FTR Adzhas had both run out of time to move forward in the order.
In the end, a quality drive from THR Flex would earn him his first win of the series. FTR Lothario and THR SparkyDS would round out the podium with solid performances of their own. Bowkett would finish in 4th and Race 1 winner TX3 RiiDGE would finish in a disappointing 7th.
Looking forward to round 4, Jacob Bowkett will look for a bit of luck at Silverstone to regain his winning form after being held off the top step for the last two week. We’ve had 6 races and 6 different winners, who will be the first to win their second or will we see this trend continue with two new drivers standing atop the podium.
You can watch the Race 2 replay at YMTV Racing
Special Thanks to TX3 RiiDGE, THR Flex, FTR Bobby, and THR Astonash for sharing replays of the races.
Recap written by AJ "Ajax" Allen
This week the ORL BMW M Sport Series made the jump across the Atlantic to sunny Florida in the United States. The historic Sebring International Raceway played host to Rounds 3 and 4 and the talk of the event was "Could Jacob Bowkett repeat his first performance with main contender F4H South being absent this week?". Bowkett wasn’t going to find it easy however as several new challengers joined the series this week. TX3 was among the newcomers, fielding the formidable team of Tactical, Switch, and RiiDGE, as the extremely talented FTR Adzhas and THR ne 70 also made their series debuts.
In qualifying, Bowkett was capable of seizing the pole with a blazing 2:03.913 just beating out newcomer TX3 Switch by barely a hundredth of a second. The talent of the entire field is realized when you look through the qualifying results and spot that the top 12 are within a second of each other.
Jacob Bowkett lead the field off the line to start but was almost immediately was swarmed by the TX3 trio. TX3 RiiDGE and Switch both were past Bowkett by turn 5 relegating him to 3rd position early in the lap. A little bumping near the rear of the pack saw FTR Lothario have a bit of slide but he was able to skillfully catch the car and hold his position.
TX3 Tactical was the next to take a shot at Bowkett as dove to the inside entering Turn 10. Bowkett tried to hold the outside line but was forced a bit narrow entering Turn 11 and clipped the grass. This allowed Tactical the opportunity to finish the pass while FTR Adzhas seized his chance following Tactical past Bowkett. THR ne 70 also took advantage of Bowkett’s misfortune, passing him a few moments later at turn 13. A bump between Bowkett and GTR ErikPipes saw Bowkett wide off the track at Le Mans, relegating him to 7th position, in a nightmare inducing first lap.
The race was now led by TX3 RiiDGE followed closely by teammate Switch and Tactical as they looked to distance themselves from the pack in the hopes of a TX3 podium sweep. Further back, a lock up from THR Astonash saw him and FTR Lothario forced wide at Turn 3 with THR SparkyDS and FTR Furore sneaking past. In a separate incident just down the track at turn 5, GTR ErikPipes had a slide off of one of the treacherous Sebring curbs and took a detour through the grass rejoining just in front of Lothario. A touch between the two had ErikPipes back into the grass and unfortunately into the tire wall under the Corvette bridge. A bit of shuffling through the rear of the pack occurred as everyone tried to regain their composure. Once it had all be sorted out FTR Lothario found himself in 11th and ErikPipes in 14th, a far distance off of the group.
At the front of the race, TX3 RiiDGE had begun to assert his pace, developing a decent gap over the chasing pack of TX3’s Switch and Tactical, and FTR Adzhas. A great dive by Adzhas allowed him to overtake Tactical on the inside through Sunset Bend, claiming third position. A mistake by THR ne70 allowed Bowkett alongside through the Big Bend and finishing the pass for 5th in the hairpin as Bowkett tried to climb back up the order. THR ne 70 had the pace to contend with the leaders but seemed to struggle with the tune of his car appearing to have issues with a lack of rear grip.
A slide from TX3 Switch at turn 13, allowed FTR Adzhas past for second but by this time RiiDGE’s lead had doubled. The rear of the field had become a bit spread so the main action was the battles for 2nd through 6th. The next few laps ticked off without major incident as the drivers looked for opportunities but found very little. Two trains developed with the chase group of 2nd through 6th distancing themselves from the second train of 7th through 13th led by FTR's Furore and Lothario.
As the laps wound down, the battle toward the front intensified, ending the 8th lap TX3 Switch got a run on FTR Adzhas down the Ullman Straight. Adzhas made a great cutback move through Sunset Bend to stay alongside but had to concede the position into turn 1 as the outside lane just couldn’t keep up with Switch on the inside. TX3 Tactical lurked just behind but Adzhas closed the door well preventing any chance for a pass through the 3-4-5 complex.
A brave late braking attempt by TX3 Tactical allowed him to get the alongside Adzhas for the hairpin but a touch of understeer resulted in a tap between the cars. As both slid just off track into the grass, Jacob Bowkett seized his chance and dove to the inside followed by Ne. Bowkett managed to pass both Tactical and Adzhas to take over third position as Tactical rejoined in 4th just ahead of Ne. Adzhas was fell from 3rd to 6th in a single turn and looked to try to catch back up for a last chance at a podium position on the final lap.
The last lap was tense but saw little changes to the order as most drivers' nerves held out. TX3 RiiDGE took home the win by a significant margin followed by his teammate TX3 Switch. Jacob Bowkett came through in third, a result he had to be happy with having been down to 7th early on. In the rear pack, FTR Furore and LRT Lambchop battled for 8th with Lambchop managing to hold the position with a quality cutback. GTR Warwick and FTR Bobby’s battle came down to drag race down the final straight and photo finish with Warwick claiming 12th by a bumper. With the second race being a reverse grid, spectators were sure a quality race of nonstop action as entire field was packed with talent.
GTR ErikPipes and FTR Bobby led the cars into turn 1 for the reverse grid race. ErikPipes held his inside position strong and would assume the lead as the pack battled side-by-side behind. The first incident of the race occurred as the cars entered the the Turns 3,4,5 complex, when a car in the rear of the pack got caught out during braking and bumped the car in front. This caused a domino effect forward that saw FTR Furore as the unfortunate victim as he was pushed wide into the grass.
The top 8 now formed a single file train as the Race 1 front runners Jacob Bowkett, the TX3 trio, and THR ne70 battled amongst themselves near the rear of the field. The first time down the Ullman Straight saw FTR Adzhas and FTR Lothario dive into Sunset Bend door to door with LRT Lambchop lurking. As the FTR members drifted wide, Lambchop made a strong move to the inside but a brilliant switch back by Lothario saw him exit the final turn with the best run and gaining both positions.
The pack of Bowkett, TX3 trio, and Ne took the opportunity of the battling Lothario, Adzhas, and Lambchop to catch back up. Bowkett made the pass on Lambchop down the Big Bend. At this point the race calmed down a bit and the only passing occuring was the TX3 trio of Switch, RiiDGE, and Tactical swapping positions amongst themselves.
Jacob Bowkett had made up the distance to FTR Adzhas and began to turn up the pressure. Adzhas was doing a great job of defending but Bowkett had an excellent run out of the hair pin. Eventually getting alongside, Bowkett managed a magnificent pass around the outside of Adzhas through Turn 10. A short time later, a miscalculation by TX3 Switch in the braking section saw him tap the rear of LRT Lambchop, nudging the LRT driver bit wide through Le Mans. Lambchop eventually recovered but by that point the trio of TX3 were past and THR ne 70 was just behind.
Around this time, while running in 6th position FTR Lothario suffered a disconnect, ending his chances at a strong result. The front of the order remained the same, GTR ErikPipes led, followed by FTR Bobby and GTR Warwick. Jacob Bowkett now had the duo of THR SparkyDS and THR Astonash in his sights as THR ne 70 battled with LRT Lambchop near the back of the order.
Jacob Bowkett seemed to have the outside line of the hairpin dialed in, mimicking the move he had made on FTR Adzhas prior, he dove to the outside of THR SparkyDS. Side by side on the exit of the hairpin, Bowkett appeared to have a slight run on SparkyDS, but a slip on the inside curb saw SparkyDS lose all his momentum. As Bowkett and Adzhas streamed past, SparkyDS fell into the grasp of the TX3 group. When SparkyDS finally recoverd he found himself having lost 5 positions falling all the way back to 10th.
Bowkett and Adzhas wasted no time as they pounced on their next target GTR Warwick when he took a defensive line into turn 13. Bowkett and Adzhas made the outside line again work as they powered past Warwick through Bishop to take 4th and 5th positions.
Out in front, GTR ErikPipes and FTR Bobby were putting in great runs as they had developed a gap over THR Astonash in 3rd. Over the next lap, the TX3 trio made their way around Warwick as he seemed to struggle with his car through the curves. A battle for third had developed as Jacob Bowkett and FTR Adzhas had reeled in THR Astonash. Bowkett again took the outside line but this time it was through the 3-4-5 complex and finished the pass down the Big Bend, with Adzhas following him past Astonash into the hairpin.
Now the focus was, "Would Bowkett and Adzhas have enough remaining laps to catch the leaders ErikPipes and Bobby or Would the have to battle each other for the final podium position?". Meanwhile in a battle for 5th, THR Astonash and TX3 RiiDGE had a touch at Bishop that saw RiiDGE into the outside tire wall. An unfortunate bounce saw him collect his teammate TX3 Tactical with both picking up significant damage.
As the penultimate lap begun, it seemed as if Bowkett and Adzhas had run out of time as they began to battle with each other. Ahead, FTR Bobby made the slightest mistake and hung a wheel into the grass while braking for turn 3, sending him wide. Bowkett managed to sneak past but Adzhas and Bobby came together that resulted in Bobby spinning. Adzhas recovered to seize third but Bobby fell to 10th before getting his Z4 going again. This freed Bowkett to pursue ErikPipes on his own while Adzhas was dropped into the clutches of TX3 Switch and THR Astonash for battle for third.
As the final lap begun, the battle for 3rd was a 2 car race between FTR Adzhas and TX3 Switch. A four car battle for 6th-9th had also broke out, with THR SparkyDS leading GTR Warwick, LRT Lambchop, and THR ne 70. Mistakes by Lambchop and Ne saw them drop off of the battle as Warwick and SparkyDS dragged race side by side down the Ullman Straight for the final time. Warwick grabbed the inside line and held it to pass SparkyDS for 6th as drifted wide through Sunset Bend.
At the front, GTR ErikPipes had held on with a brilliant drive to grab his first career ORL win. Bowkett had to settle for 2nd having simply run out of time to catch the leader and a solid last lap by FTR Adzhas had secured him the final place on the podium over TX3 Switch and THR Astonash.
Special thanks to LRT Lambchop and THR Astonash for sharing their race replays for our use.
Recap written by AJ "Ajax" Allen
As the sun began to set over the Nurburgring Grand Prix circuit, located in the heart of Germany, drivers took to the track for the first official session of the Online Racing League BMW M-Sport Series hosted on Forza Motorsport 6. As excitement filled the air, all eyes turned to the track as drivers from FTR, GTR and more set their sights on an optimal starting position. Driving the #56 BMW Z4 GTE, drivers would have to be cautious to maintain momentum through the winding s-bends and sweeping hairpins of the 3.2 mile circuit. Despite threats from F4H South (1:58.685), THR SparkyDS (1:59.090), and FTR Lothario (1:59.136), it was Jacob Bowkett (1:58.010) who claimed the pole position. Considering the closeness in times throughout the field, it was clear that we would see a heated battle heading into race 1.
As the grid walk commenced for the first heat race of the 2018 racing season, spectators and driver’s alike noticed one key change: rain was now falling and standing water could be found throughout the circuit. In tricky conditions, drivers had to make sure to stay calm and collected through the opening complex of corners. Jacob Bowkett got a faultless launch from the line, claiming the holeshot into turn 1 and leading the field into the Mercedes Arena for the first time. F4H South and THR SparkyDS got equally good starts, with the former having to fend off the hard charging THR pilot. Just behind, the puddles proved difficult to navigate as drivers jostled for position in the midpack.
When the race settled down, Bowkett assumed a roughly 2 second lead over a pursuing F4H South, who was eyeing a strong result in his return to Forza Motorsport 6. The real action was unquestionably in the mid-pack, where drivers from fourth to sixteenth put on a show as they fought for every last inch of the race track. THR Astonash looked strong out of the gate before an unfortunate mishap with a patch of standing water sent him down the order. FTR Lothario assumed the lead of this pack, having to defend heavily to maintain fourth behind a breakaway consisting of Bowkett, South, and SparkyDS. The ensuing battling created a train of cars growing 7 cars strong, as THR Flex, FTR Furore, GTR FoxxyHD and more appeared eager to improve on their positions.
The racing in this area of the field was certainly intense. The early portions of the race were highlighted by a masterful late braking move by Foxxy on Furore into the Veedol Chicanery. As the laps ticked by, the battle between GTR, FTR, and THR evolved, with drivers from each establishment trading places throughout the middle stages of the race. Further back, LRT Lamb Chop and FTR Bobby traded paint in a furious battle which saw side by side action throughout the Mercedes Arena. Lamb Chop would ultimately get the best of the Full Throttle Racing driver before the end of the race.
The closing laps showed no shortage of intensity or heartbreak. A hard charging GTR CesarsWrath looked destined for a good result after starting from 15th in his GTR ABT Motorsport Z4. Despite his hard work, CesarsWrath had to finish the race where he started because of damage sustained in an unfortunate collision with the pit wall. The silver lining in this was a guaranteed pole position in race two as a result of the reverse grid.
Up front, Jacob Bowkett claimed victory over F4H South by 2.383 seconds after a clinical drive in the wet. Sparky showed promise early but ultimately faded back, finishing roughly 11 seconds further behind. The race-long brawl in the mid pack saw Lothario, FoxxyHD, Flex, Furore, and Astonash finish fourth through eighth, respectively.
Race 2 - Reverse Grid
The sun once again shined above Nurburg, Germany as drivers prepared for the night’s second major challenge; this time, a reverse grid. Race 1 winner Jacob Bowkett would be starting from last with race 1 fast lap holder, F4H South, starting just one grid spot ahead. Up front, it was the GTR trio of CesarsWrath, Tyskie, and Kabooki occupying three out of the top four positions, with WRT Cragadon splitting up the bunch. The mid pack, although reshuffled, ultimately consisted of the same drivers who duked it out in race 1, which promised an equally exciting second stint to the evening.
As the flag dropped, the race appeared far more aggressive than it’s much wetter predecessor, which lead to a hectic first corner. Following some contact, THR Flex was turned, falling to last and picking up damage. On the contrary, F4H South used precision and a cool head to navigate the opening lap. The young British driver maneuvered his way from fourteenth to third in just under eleven corners! Race 1 winner Jacob Bowkett was not far behind, but his climb back to the pointy end of the field proved to be a bit more difficult than his closest challenger.
Bowkett, who aggressively fought through to fifth in the early stages of the race, met some resistance after climbing to fifth on the opening lap. GTR CesarsWrath, who started the race on pole, was incredibly diligent in his defending, which made it difficult for the rapid privateer to get by. As the two jostled for position, they lost time to Tyskie and South ahead, while also bringing FTR Bobby and others into the fight. As the two traded positions, Bowkett put on an incredible display of patience, making passes on the GTR driver around the outside on a number of occasions. In addition, CesarsWrath put on a show of his own, making a few fantastic over-under maneuvers to keep the fight alive. Ultimately, Bowkett won out, but lost considerable time to F4H South who got around Tyskie and had now checked out so to speak.
As a result of the aforementioned battle, the mid-pack fight from race 1 was reignited. This time, CesarsWrath, FTR Bobby, GTR Foxxy and others were nose to tail, hoping to capitalize on every mistake. Despite their status as teammates, a fiesty fight between CesarsWrath and Foxxy commenced, with the latter ultimately winning out as a result of a mistake. Up ahead, a recovering THR Astonash was putting up a fight to FTR Bobby for the final podium spot, adding to the action of the race.
As the race came to a close, viewers were treated to a phenomenal sprint to the finish between Lamb Chop, Furore, Sparky, and more. Up ahead, there was a heated exchange between FTR and THR, with Lothario putting a move on Ash for fourth just before the checkered flag.
Ultimately, F4H South was able to capitalize on his masterful opening lap to win by 3.471 seconds over Jacob Bowkett, who was undoubtedly pleased with his performance in the first round of this championship. Further back, it was the FTR duo of Bobby and Lothario finishing 3rd and 4th, followed by Astonash, FoxxyHD, Furore, and Lamb Chop, who were 5th through 8th, respectively.
The opening round of the Online Racing League BMW M-Sport Series was a thrilling battle between some of the biggest teams on the site. With the complexity of the battle in the mid pack, it will be interesting to see who comes out where over the course of the season. Up front, it appears to be a heavyweight matchup between South and Bowkett which is destined to continue through to Monza at the end of the season in March. It’s hard to pick some standout stars from such an action packed series of races, as the battling throughout the field was incredibly impressive. Both South and Bowkett performed as expected, each earning mythodical victories which are clear to set the tone for the season. GTR FoxxyHD also deserves some praise; despite being in the thick of the battle throughout race 1 and 2, the GT Racing Team driver was calculated and consistent, earning a 5th and 6th place finish. If this trend of consistency continues, Foxxy is destined to be a contender before the end of the season.
Ultimately, the opening round of ORL’s return to Forza 6 was a thriller. With tracks like Sebring, Road America, and Silverstone hanging in the near future, things are only heating up for this action-packed series!
Recap By Daniel "ForceOne" Nyman