Max wins final race of Real Racers Never Quit
Published on 09 February 2024 by Misha van der Kroon
Max won the last race of Real Racers Never Quit. At Fuji Speedway, Verstappen managed to keep Gianni Vecchio and William Chadwick behind. It was Max’s third victory in the championship.
The sixth and final race of Real Races Never Quit is held at Fuji Speedway, in the GT3 class. All drivers get twenty minutes of free practice, after which they have four laps to qualify. Max starts qualifying as favourite for the win. The 3-time Formula 1 World Champion is the fastest during training, and during qualifying he also finds the speed. In his final lap, Max sets a time of 1:34.762, just under a tenth faster than the number two, Gustavo Ariel. This laptime is also the fastest time in qualifying. Gianni Vecchio completes the top three.
The thirty-minute long race starts with a rolling start. Max is off to a good start and has no problems. The same does not apply for the Norwegian Ole Steinbroten. He spins in the first corner after a touch and has to stop the race. After the first lap, Max has a half-second lead over Vecchio, who is in P2 after overtaking Ariel at the start.
“During the race, I quickly realized that Gianni [Vecchio] had a good pace. After Gustavo’s [Ariel] incident, I saw that the battle for the lead could get very exciting. I decided to lower the pace a little, so it would be a three-man fight for the lead, which would make it more interesting. Gianni was pretty heated, which allowed me to wait for the moment when he tried to overtake from the outside. This is technically impossible, so he lost that spot. I still had to push a lot, and it’s a lot of fun to race like that.”
There’s more bickering going on in the back. Elkemann and Martin crash into each other in the second lap, causing Martin to spin. Fortunately, the British Irishman can continue the race, but he has to make up a gap of ten seconds.
At the front of the field, the first part of the race is mainly a fight for a good slipstream. Due to the long straight, more than a kilometer, the slipstream plays a major role in getting more speed. This causes some difficulty for Max to create a gap and get away from the rest.
Around a third way through the race, the top three seem to have created a gap to the rest of the field, until Ariel spins when coming onto the straight. The Brazilian driver, who had qualified second, has lost his chance of the victory. All eyes are now on Verstappen and Vecchio. Both men are within a few tenths of each other. William Chadwick, running in P3, is two seconds behind them.
With ten minutes to go, Verstappen and Vecchio are still fighting for first position. Due to Max’s defensive work, Chadwick manages to close the gap and join the battle. Vecchio goes for another move on Max, but slightly loses control of his car, which gives Chadwick the opportunity to overtake him and climb to P2.
In the last lap of the race, Vecchio lets Verstappen and Chadwick go as the two continue to battle for the win. The Brit comes very close, but Max keeps the lead and wins the last race of Real Racers Never Quit. It wasn’t enough to win the championship, as the Dutchman missed two races. Chris Lulham wins the Real Racers Never Quit championship.