2017 Year in Review
It has come to the end of the year, and a lot of things have taken place over the past 12 months. Many new organizations and drivers entered the competition, along with returning organizations which stepped up to the challenge. All together we had a year full of excitement, drama, and memorable moments.
For 2017 we had a total of 34 drivers and 11 teams, comprised of 7 organizations, participate. Participants this year represented 9 Countries from North America and Europe including the US, Spain, Belgium, Sweden, United Kingdom, Austria, Netherlands, Czech Republic and Canada.
The Competition level increased with NASCAR Peak Antifreeze Rookie, Bobby Zalenski lining up against the 2016 V8STC 2016 runner-ups, Mika Eshuis, and Justin Kruithof while facing V8STC newcomers like Erik Blixt, Aday Coba (Lopez), Borja Valero and Sven Cammaerts. Despite the increased competition, Daniel Thompson and Georg Gruber, who both went without podium a finish in 2016 SOR Competition, captured two podiums in 2017. Martin Kapal showed the greatest improvement last season earning the Most Improved Award in 2017. It will be interesting to see how these 3 continue to progress next year.
The Teams Championship came into its own, putting an emphasis not only on top finishes but had teammates focusing on finishing close together, keeping their team points above the competition. This was illustrated best by the 2017 Teams Champions: Off Camber Motorsport. Justin Kruithof and Daniel Thompson not only captured the Teams Championship but finished in the Drivers Championship 3rd and 6th respectively.
Along with growth comes change, and 2018 will be no exception. The biggest two changes, which many are looking forward to, are the longer schedule and new time slot. The 2018 Season will have 3 additional rounds, with each race held on Saturday at 2100 UTC. With this new time slot, the door opens to drivers and teams from Australia to show their skill set. There are more “home turf” advantages for Oval drivers on the iRacing Service next season. The venues which NASCAR Fans and Oval Drivers would recognize have doubled, featuring Sonoma, CTMP, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Mid-Ohio. However Sonoma and Indy both have a twist. Sonoma will feature the full circuit which was utilized by NASCAR until 1998 and Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be the big challenge, as the Roval for 2018. The Grand Prix Course at IMS provides a flat, and technical infield, which leads onto Turn 1 of the Oval which will put drivers to the test on the banking as they race to the finish.
A longer schedule also means a revised point structure, emphasizing the need not just for wins, but making and holding the race lead throughout the season. Other changes are on the administrative side, with the implementation of the Safe Driver System (SDS) in conjunction with a revised Contact Penalty System (CPS) to encourage drivers to practice good racecraft not just in each race but over the course of the season.
With next season around the corner, there are questions lingering after the 2017 V8STC Championship results. Despite Oval having presentation on top of the Drivers, and Teams Championships, they were unable to capture the Road vs Oval Championship. Will they be able to finally capture the Road vs Oval Championship in 2018 after two seasons of defeat?
The biggest question is regarding Bobby Zalenski, who will be running the coveted #1 on his truck next year. With all eyes will be on him, and drivers turning up the pressure, will Zalenski continue to hold the title in 2018, or will someone rise to be the new champion? We look forward to those answers and many exciting moments in the year to come. Be sure to catch every moment and join us for the Season Opener on February 24 at 2100 UTC for Round 1 of the 2018 V8 SuperTrucks Championship at Interlagos on iRacing.com, Broadcast by RaceSpot. See you then!