November 18, 2014

 

Championship winning team review the season gone by.

So another season of the GPVWC?s Formula Challenge has come and gone, a season which had it all. Close battles, new and established drivers and teams, crashes and controversy were just some of the things which occurred throughout the 2014 season of Formula Challenge.

It all began with the Australian Grand Prix, where Walk Racing started the year not exactly as was planned. However, as the season progressed the team got quicker and more consistent, with the results beginning to improve. By the end of the season, Walk was consistently at the pointy end of the field with both drivers performing very well.

The team came away with the Drivers title, won by Peter Brljak, and the Team title as well, making it the double crown for the team.

I caught up with one of the drivers a part of the team?s success, Peter Duivelaar, and asked him a few questions on the season that was.

Q: With a team title to your name with Walk Racing, how was the season for you?

I"t was a fun championship," says Duivelaar, "Peter Brljak helped me a lot. I had a lot of bad luck though, especially in the reversed grid second races."

Q: How did you find the competition in GPVWC?

"The difference in pace between the top runners and backmarkers is too big in my opinion. Also the drivers, especially in the midfield, were quite aggressive. I did however have some great battles with guys I knew form TPS, such as Eric Stranne and David Jundt."

Q: If you had driven from the start of the season rather than the middle of season like you did, what would have been the results do you think?

"If I had driven from the beginning of the season I think I would have managed second in the drivers' standings behind Petar."

Q: If you were to race again in the GPVWC next year, would you consider other series? or just focus on open wheelers?

"I don't really mind if it's open wheelers or something else."

Q: If you race again next year will you be under Walk Racing?

"As it stands I enjoy driving for Walk, driving with Brljak went very well, so I'm happy with that."

But what did the man who runs the show think of the season that was? I caught up with Mr C to ask him a few questions on GPVWC and related matters.

Q: With Walk Racing taking both titles in the 2014 season of Formula Challenge, how do you feel?

"Well I should and do feel good about it, but with so much going on at Walk I can't enjoy the moment." says Mr C, " But it definitely feels good and very pleasing that we proved our competitiveness at GPVWC."

Q: How did the season feel for you?

"It was hard; we had a very bad start to the campaign and were at one point aiming for 3rd in the team standings. However with some very consistent results and a bit of luck we climbed back up the field and were surprised to be in first place."

Q: Do you owe it all to Petar Brljak?

"Well yes and no, he got the most points for the team and was also the setup guru. But I want to thank all those who raced under Walk, especially Petar Brljak and Peter Duivelaar who jumped at the chance to help the team. I am also proud to say he is a permanent member of Walk now."

Q: What is next for Walk in GPVWC?

"Well it depends on what GPVWC administration decides with 2015 but Walk Racing wants to put more titles under its belt. Next season we will do our best to enter more than one series in GPVWC and put our motto of "why race when we can walk by you" to use."

One point of view which is always an interesting one to get is from the administrative staff who keeps the league running, so I caught up with League Manager Dave Carr-Smith to get his view on the season.

Q: What did you think of the team when you saw them at the start of the season? Did you hear about us prior to the 2014 season?

"From what we had heard of the team before Walk joined GPVWC at the beginning of this year we were certainly expecting a lot more from them at the start of the season than we perhaps saw." explains Carr-Smith.

"It was certainly a very rough start for the team on the track but we do expect new teams to struggle as it's very difficult to come in and be an immediate force. It was just a case of waiting to see how things ended up, and everybody recognised that Walk was on the up and would challenge for both championships as soon as Petar stepped into that car."

Q: When Walk Racing got their license for Formula Challenge how high/low did you rate the team?s performance? Especially with the rough start to the season the team had.

"It's been an interesting one, as mentioned before. It was certainly a difficult start to the season, but from Bahrain onwards the team has gone from strength to strength."

"It's quite impressive to see the transformation that has taken place within the team when you compare the opening round of the season to the most recent events."

Q: Since Walk has its first titles in GPVWC, what do you expect from them in the future?

"It is my hope that we will see Walk expand with GPVWC. Obviously the eventual victor of the 2014 Formula Challenge Team's Championship receives an automatic promotion into the 2015 Supercup season, and with Petar having secured the Driver's Championship, I really do hope that we see both team and driver making the move up to the Supercup together so we can see what they're both capable of against an even stronger opponent."

"Of course there are also other series that we run that I know the team have expressed an interest in competing in, so maybe we can look forward to seeing Walk in competitions other than open wheel series as we move towards 2015."

Q: Can you sum up this Formula Challenge season, not from Walk's perspective but from a GPVWC administration viewpoint.

"On a whole I think it's been a very interesting Formula Challenge season. We've had eleven different winners I think it is across the thirty races so far for ten different teams so it's been hugely competitive, even if the championship standings don't really reflect that with Petar having been so consistently competitive across the season."

"The races have been a joy to watch, particularly as of late with Petar, Eric and others enjoying such close wheel to wheel action. There has been a lot of great racing action throughout the entirety of the forty car field."


Q: Lastly, what is for GPVWC during the winter and 2015?


"Well obviously I can't give away too much; you'll need to come to the GPVWC Day in Manchester at the end of November to find out all the details on 2015. But I hope we'll see Walk back in the Career Ladder in 2015, whether that be Formula Challenge or Supercup. Along with a possible venture into the Independent Series whether that is the International Touring Cup which will undoubtedly be returning for another season, the World Sports Series which will likely remain largely unchanged for 2015 or perhaps competing in the potential return of the 2015 World GT season."

"There are also plans afoot for a winter series based around the popular rFactor 2 IndyCar and we certainly hope that this will be well received by the community with good participation figures as we look ahead to 2015 and try to figure out the best direction to take for GPVWC and our teams/drivers."

Of course, this article would not be complete without the thoughts of the 2014 Formula Challenge champion Peter Brljak. I caught with him and asked him a few questions on the season.

Q: Another title to your name, this time with Walk Racing, how did it go from your view?

"At first I didn't know what to expect, my plan was just to race like on a public server, for fun." Says Brljak, "When I saw the times and pace at the first race, I kind of knew I could win it. It didn't start so well with some technical difficulties and strange crashes in Race 2s caused by lag."

"The pace advantage was quite big in most races over a single lap and those wins in Race 1s kept me up in the title battle until things at times started coming together in Race 2s and others started making mistakes or had some bad luck. My only bad race came in Monaco in Race 1 where I was too conservative and then got into trouble with mistakes. Also, for some reason we struggled a lot in hot conditions but fortunately there were only several races with high temperatures. Overall the season had a bit of everything."

Q: How did you find the competition at GPVWC?

"Honestly I expected a bit better, only Stranne and sometimes Holmes were able to mount a challenge"

Q: If you do return, what championship would you like to participate in? Superleague, Supercup or tintops?

"I'll have to think about whether I race at GPVWC next year, though most likely in Supercup if I do. I won?t decide until January for sure."

Q: If you come back will it be under Walk Racing?

"I think it is quite likely."

Q: The sim community is moving forward, any new sim you would like to see used?

"I would like to move forward from rFactor 1, rFactor 2 probably. Maybe Assetto Corsa but it still isn't quite ready in my opinion."

So now we look to 2015, and what lies ahead. With the team's automatic promotion to the GPVWC Supercup series, the team will be looking to build and continue on the success shown in Formula Challenge in 2014.



SimNews.TVSR Race NetworkRaceView