Belgian Touring Car Series – Seat Leon Challenge 2011 Jimmy Adriaenssens and David W. Nye – Vice champion – ENG/NL

After a fertile cooperation between David W. Nye, Jimmy Adriaenssens and the powerfull Spork Racing Team, Seat Leon Supercopa n°45 achieved a second place in the BTCS’ Seat Leon Challenge 2011.

During the 21st, 22nd and 23rd of October the well-known Belgian Touring Car Series ran their 11th and 12th round in Spa-Francorchamps. The final-races after which everything will change, the Belgian Touring Car Series nor the Belcar Endurance Championship will exist no more. In 2012 they will be replaced by the Belgian Sprint Championship and the Belgian Endurance Championship. A transition which reveals many possibilities for all the Belgian and foreign race teams and which brings renewal after a 10 year lasting formula.

The Spork Racing Team signed up for the final Belgian event “Francorchampagne” with a Spanish armada of at least 3 Seat Leon Supercopas. As usual they entered well organized and were keen on shining during this final event. The crew on the cars:

Seat Leon Supercopa n° 45: Adriaenssens Jimmy – Nye David William
Seat Leon Supercopa n° 51: De Graef Wim – De Maeijer Gunther
Seat Leon Supercopa n° 54: De Kimpe Jonas – Van Paemel Vincent

Supercopa 45, ranked second in the championship, was determined not to give away its position. Already in the first qualifying the white-red Supercopa proved to become a heavy competitor during the final rounds. “During the first qualifying session we didn’t give away an inch and were able to concur the second place in the Supercopa-class. Even that close to SPC n°57 that we shared the same starting row. The track was medium fast and clean so we were able to gain a lot of trust in the car, it had been 3 months since our last run in Spa so getting the right feeling was of primary importance!” – David W. Nye. Summarized: a second place on the starting grid for BTCS-round 11.

Saturday morning 09:00 h, track temperature = – 2°C. All the drivers knew which difficult assignment was waiting for them, more specific: getting heat in the tires on a frozen surface. Because it is prohibited to heat the tires before entering the track, each driver had to work hard on the axles of the car to gain some temperature in the tires. It is a well-known fact that a cold slick-tire makes a car behave like on ice. Jimmy, who decided with the Spork Racing Team to do this qualifying under these dangerous conditions, entered the frozen lanes of the Belgian racing track. “My experience told me I had to work hard to get the correct temperature in the rear wheels. Because the rear wheels of a front-wheel driven car only follow the car and only carry 30% of the total weight I knew I had to throw the Supercopa gently, too much throwing results in a collision, not throwing at all would result in an ever-lasting heating procedure. Nevertheless I knew each driver had to face this problem so I tried to make the best out of it!” Soon our young fighter’s thoughts were confirmed because in the exit of the Combes-chicane during the outlap a car had gone off and parked itself hard into the wall, result: TOTAL LOSS, but fortunately the driver was OK. “Unfortunately this is one of the aspects of the sport and to fulfill my assignment I had to switch the button, forget what I saw, think twice with every maneuver and give everything. After about 6 laps the car finally felt stable and after a short pitstop the moment arrived: I had to get the fastest laptime! I left the pitlane and the car still told me to be careful. During the short pause at our pitbox the temperature of my tires had decreased again so I carefully built up the pace. During a tense moment while entering the ‘La Source’-corner the car oversteered hard and in a sort of raw Gymkhana-style I worked my way through the corner. I knew I had lost precious time but though I clocked pole position in the Supercopa class. It was obvious that this laptime could be improved and I ran a second full-load lap, result: POLE POSITION with a three second gap on the second Supercopa, ranked as second Touring Car behind 8 silhouettes of at least 400BHP and there we were in the fifth starting row! Awesome!” mentioned a clearly satisfied Jimmy Adriaenssens. With a three second gap on the other Supercopas the Spork Racing Team confirmed their skills and style!

Race 1: David who took the wheel for the first stint, had a hard time fighting with car n°33. “ Lap per lap, braking zone per braking zone, I had to defend on the grey Supercopa. The result was that I had to ask much, very much of the tires, knowing that we perhaps had to decrease speed in the end of the race.” Eventually this feeling was confirmed and Jimmy couldn’t make the difference in the last part of the race. He had to give in because pretty soon after the driver change his front tires lost more and more grip. “I was wondering what the exact problem was, lots of question came to mind: is the tire pressure killing me, am I really through my rubber, has my toe angle or camber changed,…? The further my stint evolved I felt the grip on the front axle kept diminishing and I was sure it were just the tires. I was running on the core of my tire with fear for a puncture and I wasn’t sure I would reach the finish line. My confidence diminished and I tried otherwise. I tried to throw the car into each corner to get into an oversteering-position and tried to drift through the corner with minimal usage of the front axle.” Mentioned Jimmy Adriaenssens. Eventually Supercopa n°45 of Adriaenssens – Nye achieved a third place and could enjoy a nice podium ceremony.

Race 2: The moment arrived: could the white-red Supercopa of the Spork Racing Team keep its top ten position? Due to the stunt in second qualifying Jimmy had quite a big load on his shoulders. The main question rised whether a Seat Leon Supercopa could compete with these powerful silhouettes… Nevertheless, due to a cannonball-start Supercopa 45 shot itself into sixth position for a moment and climbed the ‘Eau Rouge’-corner almost as a part of the top five. “Because I have more weight on my driven wheels as the silhouettes I can accelerate a bit faster. During the initial sprint to 100 kph I have the advantage, afterwards the silhouettes come up again. I tried to live up to that theory and I was proud to treat the team, the crowd and my sponsors with this rare image. During my stint itself I knew the only way to victory was to race clean and smooth, so I managed to build up a gap between me and the Supercopa-pack. The gap kept increasing without forcing my tires and I gave the wheel to David in first position with a 15 s gap.” David who enjoyed the final stint of the BTCS-season clocked tight laptimes and didn’t have to give much attention to the Supercopa-pack. The race seemed dominated, the victory wasn’t far away until mechanical failure of the turbo killed the race for the team… Only four laps from the end David was forced to finish the race with only 30% of the power. Soon the Supercopa-pack arrived and David lost his leading position… Jimmy Adriaenssens: “To my great regret I have to confirm we lost the race due to mechanical failure. What had to be such a beautiful race ended badly. We realize we are competing in a mechanical sport but though the disappointment is big when everything is falling into place. For the championship it didn’t make much of a difference but I was keen on giving everybody this final victory. Especially the hard work of the team, the presence of my fans and the interest of my partners, I wanted to thank this way. Now eventually, we don’t have to mourn,  I would like to thank each and every one of you and I can assure you this incident is a reinforcement for the team. As usual we learn from our mistakes and the Spork Racing Team will rarely make the same mistake twice! I confirm to you all that we will be present next year, even stronger as in 2011 and that we will fight for nothing less as the title! Thanks to everybody!”

In the end, the Spork Racing Team is crowned Vice-Champion Seat Supercopa with the car of Jimmy Adriaenssens and David W. Nye in this final edition of the Belgian Touring Car Series 2011. Which of both new championships they will run in 2012 will be confirmed later on. People whisper Jimmy and David prefer Belgian Sprint…

See enclosed PDF-file for the Dutch race review.

>> Nederlandse race review – Francorchampagne.pdf <<