Jordy Vorrath’s VIR: An insider’s view
Thursday, May 05, 2005 Jordy Vorrath is the 2005 Skip Barber Karting Scholarship Shoot-out “grand prize” winner (he earned a full-paid season in the Skip Barber National Championship Presented by RACER). He “donated” this article following rounds three and four of the SBNC at VIR…
I found that the track was a lot easier to learn than Sebring, just because it was not so wide or bumpy. VIR is more like a normal race track in my mind. Sebring you could take about 5 different lines around turn 17 and make it work. Where as VIR is very technical, but you don’t have so many options, which allows you to learn the track a lot faster. I found that about half way through the first session I was very comfortable and able to find the limits of the car.
The weather was fairly hot that day which made the slicks feel really greasy. My biggest problem in the hot conditions was that the rear of my car was very loose. I ended up coming in half way through the qualifying session to stiffen up the rear anti roll bar by two lines. It helped me on the high speed corners but I actually developed a slight push on the low speed corners. I did my fastest lap without a draft so I was pleased to qualify 4th, being that the draft is probably worth about 3/4 to a full second.
The weather for the race was dramatically different from what we qualified in. It was very cool and overcast skies. I decided to pump up my tire pressures by 2 psi because of the cold conditions. Off the start I pushed Alan to try and get a good run into turn 1, but Cole was having none of that and did the same to Pablo. I ended up slotting in behind Cole for 3rd to be on the inside for turn 1, which was critical because it rained over night and there was a big puddle on the outside, which Alan hit and ruined his race. From lap 1 I knew it was going to be a hardcore race because Pablo swerved down the back straight about 4 times trying to fend off Cole and me. From there Cole and Pablo were dive bombing each other at every opportunity so I thought it was best to sit back and let them duke it out and maybe take each other out. That plan was short lived because Matt started to catch up and put pressure on me because Pablo and Cole were passing each other so much. I made my move and got into the lead. Down the front straight away I ran up the inside. Pablo was trying to make a move on the outside but Cole decided to give me a boost and pushed me down the front straight. I had so much more speed going into 1 that I over shot the corner a bit, and I ended up hitting that puddle and it sent me right off the track! My race was over and I ended up 11th. Very disappointing, as I felt I should have had no worse than 3rd. That’s racing.
Track conditions started out wet, but were drying drastically by the end of the session. There really was not much to this session. Just basically finding the dry track and trying to get good exit speeds out of the corners. For just about everybody, the last lap was their best.
Bonilla got a good jump and I tucked in behind him going into turn 1. I could see that Bonilla was struggling to get the power down, so I made my move early down the back straight away. Down the front straight Cole made a move on Bonilla. At this point I was just trying to drive perfect laps to try and get some separation from the field. Cole and I worked extremely well together to get a gap on Bonilla. On about lap 6 Cole passed me for the lead. I was content to stay behind him until the last lap; because the draft is so big you can get a run and make a pass fairly easily. Now it’s the last lap. I am just waiting to make a move down the back straight. I was right on Cole. In fact I was to close to him and it did not allow me the run that I was expecting to get down the back straight. Cole and I are in a drag race side by side heading into turn 14. I out broke Cole just by a bit, and I thought I had it, but I was on the outside for the next turn and I just barely hit some marbles which did not allow me to get good exit speed out of the corner and Cole got the lead back and won the race. It was a very good clean race between the 3 of us. I was happy to finally get some descent points and be on the podium.
Also, everyone at SBRS did a great job dealing with all the issues that came up through the weekend and I just want to say Thanks!