Last Sunday capped off a dominant close to the season for VRS Coanda Simsport, with both participating cars securing the top two positions and adding to the previously qualified pairings, for a total of four Coanda machines heading to Munich later this year.

Rewinding back to the start of the year, however, things got off to a rocky start in January for round 1 at Daytona. Despite scoring pole position, the #8 VRS Coanda Simsport M8 GTE of Josh Rogers and Mitchell deJong found themselves out-smarted on track with the two rival Team Redline cars working together to stay in front. Other cars from Coanda also qualified well, but fell back early on. Josh and Mitchell would eventually take 3rd at the line after a disappointing day.

At Suzuka in March, it was an unfortunate continuation of the same antics from Daytona, with Team Redline once again scoring the victory after controversial driving earlier in the race from the sister car driven by Max Verstappen. Josh Rogers took his 2nd consecutive pole position for Coanda and led the first seven laps of the race, but contact with Max soon after dropped both cars out of contention for the win. This came after lap 1 contact between Max and Dayne Warren, piloting the #88 Coanda car, into turn one pitched the latter into a dramatic spin into the wall. For the #81, Mitchell would eventually recover to another 3rd place at the line.

Things took a significant turn for the better at Silverstone, two weeks later. Josh Rogers once again put the #8 car on pole position to keep up his 100% record, only this time his pairing with Mitchell managed to successfully translate that pace into their first victory of the season, and thus punched their tickets to the finals in Munich to join the two Redline cars. The duo dominated the race, leading 61 out of 63 laps at the British circuit.

Josh: “Awesome to finally get a win in this series and lock ourselves in for the finale at Munich at the end of the year! Massive thanks to Mitchell and everyone in the team for their effort this week, wouldn’t be possible without this crazy bunch of guys!”

Road Atlanta brought much of the same dominance, with Josh securing 4/4 pole positions, before going onto lead every lap together with Mitchell. Given that the pair already qualified for Munich in the previous round, this time it was the turn of Coanda’s Charlie Collins and Jeremy Bouteloup to punch their tickets. Engaged in a race-long battle with Team Redline Red for 2nd place – who were also qualified already – the Englishman and Frenchman, respectively, ultimately had to settle for 3rd at the line. That didn’t matter though, as the duo were the first unqualified car to finish the race.

Jeremy: “Great run today teaming up with Charlie. Things went smoothly for once and it feels good to be able to punch our ticket for the Munich event! Stellar job by the entire Coanda crew as usual”

This brings us to Sunday’s race a few days ago at the Nürburgring, in its Grand-Prix-Strecke configuration. Operating slightly differently to previous rounds, this was a last-chance race for two further teams to qualify for Munich. Only cars finishing top 5 (of non-qualified runners) in earlier events would be permitted to grid up, resulting in a small but strong attendance from 15 teams, including two representatives from Coanda.

Qualifying was a dominant display for the #88 and #8, with Dayne Warren delivering pole position despite the Australian struggling to put together a tidy lap. Heading into this round, Dayne had been plagued with bad luck in earlier races, unable to avoid getting caught up in collisions. Starting immediately behind him was David Williams, who was paired up with Paschalis Gkergkis for the race.

Once the green flag dropped, Dayne scampered off into the distance, pulling well over 10 seconds in the first hour from David, before Mack Bakkum took over and increased it to 30 at the chequered flag, cementing the spot for the 3rd VRS Coanda Simsport car in Munich.

Mack: “Yes!! For once Dayne & I had some better luck and we made it to lap 2! Awesome job by Dayne in Q and the first stint. Taking over the car with such a lead took the pressure off.”

At the hands of the #8 machine, however, things were far less straight-forward. David found himself defending his 2nd position against what appeared to be a faster R8G Esports’ Thibault Cazaubon for the entirety of his stint, before the Brit handed the car over to Paschalis. From here the Greek driver had to assert his position as soon as he exited the pits, before having to continue to defend thereafter from various threats in the form of R8G, BS COMPETITION and Team Redline. The latter of whom actually bumped their way past before later being ordered by the stewards to give the place back again, which they did so eventually but not without backing the pack up first. On top of this, the #8 car spent the last few laps at the incident limit, where a single off-track would result in instant disqualification.

Despite all this adversity, Paschalis held his nerve brilliantly to hold onto P2 at the line by the skin of his teeth, to secure the 4th Coanda car for Munich. It’s here where the grand final at BMW SIM Live 2021 will be held, sometime near the end of the year.

Pash: “Feels surreal that I’ll be going to Munich for the finale of the BMW SIM GT CUP. Dave did well in Q and in the first stint so I could manage to keep the car in 2nd that gave us the ticket! Thanks & grats to Mack and Dayne for their hard work. Can’t wait!”

Stay tuned!