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BRAZILIAN GRAND PRIX
Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace. 21 October 2020
April 18, 2016

 

Epic Racing team manager Lee Davidson takes a look back at how the Banbury-based outfit's 2016 has gone so far.

Already, 2016 is nearly four months old and whilst there is still plenty of racing ahead of us for the remaining months, Epic Racing already have a lot of action to look back on and review. Team Manager Lee Davidson decides to do just that, sat down armed with a stiff drink and a huge bout of hindsight.

MASTERS SERIES


January 2016 saw the first of two debuts for the team, the Masters Series. Heading into the series, we really didn't know what to expect, it was a new car in the Audi TT, a new platform in rFactor 2 and a new race format. So really I was just hoping we could be competitive and maybe rumble some of the SC/SL guys above us. I was keen for Geoffrey Fournier to drive so he could warm up for a big season ahead of him in the Career Ladder. I decided on James Ross to partner Geoffrey as part reward for his ITC commitment last season and part opportunity to evaluate talent on our books.

Looking back, I think I signed a line up adequate for the series and have absolutely no issue with them, I think the problems we issued in the series were organisational, especially with the short time between rounds meaning preparations were well condensed. Obviously we cant excuse this as everyone in the series was in the same boat. Overall our results were disappointing, but the experience we gained from the competition has helped us to become an even closer unit, therefore I will look back on our time in the Masters fondly.

FORMULA CHALLENGE

We were keen to hit the ground running in FC, just like we did in 2015. Geoffrey Fournier was signed early on due to his experience on rF2 and his performances for us in WSS and ITC last year. We also opted for some consistency by maintaining Rob Mason in a full time drive with Mike Schroten originally lined up for reserve duties. I felt extremely confident in the line up we had created that they would be able to achieve the goals set out for them.

Australia was incredible, to have Geoffrey score his and Epic's first outright pole position and then a race win was astonishing. I literally jumped around the room much to my wife's concern! Whats just as pleasing however is both he and Rob have been able to continue a high level of performance which has seen us settle into a championship challenge after four rounds. I'm genuinely excited for each round that comes up, knowing our drivers are capable of mixing it with the very best in the series.

The only sad note is Mike being unable to perform testing duties with us. Mike is an originally member of the team, helping it's return to GPVWC at the start of 2015 and is a fantastic member of the team. I only hope he will one fay get on top of the issues and return to the track, preferably in Epic colours. However, in the loss of Mike, we have gained Paul Joseph, a capable driver who should perhaps be racing in FC full time, however he has very graciously accepted our offer of a reserve drive and already he has started to ingrain himself into the team ethos of putting the team first and leaving egos at the door. It's also pleasing to see Wopke Hoesktra keeping in touch with us, throwing his support behind Geoffrey and Rob at every round!

WORLD SPORT SERIES

It was always my intention to keep hold of Tom Parker at any cost. Tom is a fantastic driver, as his exploits in the Superleague have proven. It's a credit to the progress the team has made that Tom actually made things really easy for us to keep hold of his services - I literally just asked if he fancied sticking around for another season, which he duly agreed to. With Walk Racing walking away (excuse the pun) from the series, it was a no brainer to try and bring Cameron Brewster into the fold, seeing as he and Tom know each other outside of sim racing and have teamed up on a number of occasions in the past.

Just like 2015, out season didn't get off to the best of starts, however last time out in Spain showed signs of progress and both drivers have definitely got to grips with the new platform. I firmly believe each team have a bogey round every season, I'm hopefully ours is already behind us and the rest of the World Sport Series will remain a competitive one for both Tom and Cam, before I ask if they want to stay on for 2017!

WORLD GT

My application for Epic to get onto the World GT circuit was a little half baked as I genuinely had my eyes set on securing a place in WSS, so it wasn't a great surprise that we missed out originally. However, i watched the stream of the opening round in Fuji and instantly decided Epic needed to be part of the series. It became apparent fairly early on that a slot would open up mid-season and so I started to make contact with a number of drivers, hoping to have a line up ready should we get the green light. I received confirmation of Epic's return to WGT (We competed in the 2013 season) a week before Brazil, and confirmed Florian Engel and Christoph Lichtenstein shortly after.

I consider the line up a major coup, Christoph is our first ex-champion to drive for Epic and is a fantastic talent. I'm sure as his return to GPVWC continues, he will only get faster and faster. Florian Engel comes with a reputation as a hard worker and that is already apparent, having only worked with him for three weeks. The two have already formed a fantastic partnership and happily work together for the good of the team. I'm sure once they get settled to the unique SRT Viper we have them running in, then the results will speak for themselves, watch this space!

A CONCLUSION/LOOK AHEAD TO THE REST OF THE YEAR

2016 has already proven to be a highly competitive one for Epic and should continue in the same vein for the remainder of the year. The team has grown extremely well over the past 12 months and I'm pleased to have such committed individuals who also seem to enjoy being in each others company. It's beginning to feel more than just a team and we have created our own little community of like minded racers who put Epic first and foremost. I can only thank each and every one of your for your hard work so far!

Whilst it'd perhaps be egotistical for me to think so, I firmly believe we are in with a shout of the FC titles which would be a phenomenal achievement and hit our target of being a Supercup team in 2017. Our association with STAX Racing has also kept our eye on the future and being in a position to help new talent get their start in GPVWC - a primary objective of both teams. Christian Zorner is a close friend of the team and our partnership with his team was a given, a natural progression of our friendship.

The future for Epic is incredibly bright, and I'm glad it'll be within a series like GPVWC, which continues to prove itself to be a front runner in Sim-Racing competition. Here's to the rest of 2016 and beyond!

- Lee Davidson



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