Valle car during gpvwc test at Mugello

GPVWC Formula Challenge 2021 Midseason Report

An eventful first half of the season came to a close at Silverstone – let’s see how we did.

8 rounds gone, 8 more to go. A disappointing first season in GPVWC has already been forgotten – our second Formula Challenge campaign has been a satisfying one so far.

To show how much we improved this year, we only need one statistic: we have beaten our 2020 points tally (90 points) in just 5 rounds. Let’s review our first 8 rounds of 2021 then, shall we?

Season start

Our season started at Melbourne with Adrian Faber and emergency driver Guyon Branten, who won both races in Academy the day before the FC opener. Pace looked very good, and we got double points in race 1, with Adrian just missing out on a podium on his Valle debut and Guyon ending up in P7. Sadly, race 2 was a bit unlucky: Guyon jumped the start and had to comeback (but he still finished P8), while Adrian, who had pace to win, was taken out. Still, a very good first round.

Round 2 saw a landmark moment, as we got our first ever pole position in GPVWC thanks to Adrian. Our Polish driver had to fight a lot, but had to settle for P3 in race 1. In the other car, Chris Gitsov finished in P13, scoring points on his debut. Once again, race 2 was far from ideal: Adrian misjudged his braking point at turn 1 and crashed, while Chris was taken out a lap later.

Adrian had to start last in round 3 in China due to a penalty after his race 2 crash in Bahrain. Quite sad, considering how good his pace was. Still, he managed to gain 21 places in race 1, ending in P9. Chris finished in P13 once again, but was unlucky not to finish in the top 10. Or was he?

For race 2, Chris got reverse grid pole, and kept it clean until he got hit by another car. With some damage on his car, he lost some pace but was still in P3, until a screen freeze took him out of the race. Heartbreak for the Bulgarian, who deserved better luck. This was our first non-scoring race of the season – Adrian had a brilliant start, but retired on lap 1 after been involved in a crash.

First win!

We move to round 4, hoping for better luck. For this round, Andrew Waring returned to the team to reserve for Chris, who wasn’t able to race. Adrian was fighting for the podium once again, but contact with Morris with 2 laps to go meant he finished out of the points. Andrew had a grid penalty to serve from last season, so he had to start last, but he still managed to finish just outside of the points. And in race 2, he displayed his pace once again: from 18th on the grid, the Canadian went to win the race in dominant fashion. Our first ever win in GPVWC, what a moment.

Adrian had a crash in race 2 too and had to retire. With this crash, he got a penalty, which forced him to miss round 5 at Baku. Once again, Andrew was called up to race, while team manager Massimiliano Ribolli had to step in to replace Chris. This was a quite eventful race, but Andrew managed to finish 2nd in both races. On his 2021 debut, Massimiliano was able to get a double points finish, even if he got forced on the walls multiple times.

Round 6 in Austria was probably the most lacklustre performance from the team. Both Adrian and Chris weren’t available, so Massimiliano had to step in once again with almost no practice. In the other car, Sean Jones had his FC debut. Massimiliano got another double points finish, but low top speed forced him to miss out on the fight for the top positions, while Sean’s debut was a difficult one.

Adrian returned for round 7 in Canada, alongside Andrew, who reserved for Chris for the last time this season. Adrian had to serve his grid penalty from round 4, while Andrew got an amazing pole position on his home race. Starting on the wet part of the track was tricky, but Andrew kept his lead and went on winning his second race of the season. Adrian was able to comeback once again and finished in P12. Race 2 saw Adrian nailing his start from P4 on reverse grid, getting P2 almost immediately, while Andrew started his quest to reach the top once again. It didn’t take long for Adrian to get the lead of the race, while Andrew got up to P6, but sadly a crash on the Wall of Champions took him out of contention. But it was still an amazing moment, as Adrian got his first win of the season, putting the icing on the cake in what was an extrordinary evening for the team.

Two weeks ago, round 8 took place at Silverstone. Adrian impressed once again, getting another podium in race 1 (P3), and winning on track in race 2 after an outstanding last lap. His move on Andrei was deemed illegal, though, so he dropped off to P9 after getting a 20-second penalty. Chris returned driving the 36 car, but he had to retire after an incident.

What now?

Tomorrow, the second half of the season will start at Hockenheim, where we hope to mantain our run of form going. After 8 rounds, we are P4 in the teams standings with 189 points, 32 points behind Kings Racing in P3. We want to challenge for that P3 finish, and we’ll do our best to try to achieve that goal.

Down below, you can find our season stats:

GPVWC Formula Challenge 2021
P3, 189 points
Adrian Faber – P9 – 83 points, 1 win, 3 podiums, 1 pole position
Andrew Waring – P10 – 83 points, 2 wins, 4 podiums, 1 pole position, 1 fastest lap*
Guyon Branten – P23 – 21 points (17 with Valle)*
Massimiliano Ribolli – P24 – 18 points*

Chris Gitsov – P39 – 6 points
Sean Jones – P41 – 0 points*

*in italics, reserves or emergency drivers

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