The Forza Race Championship finishes Rounds 2 & 3 over the past couple of weekends of a quickly cooling Autumn. While the weather may be cooling, the top-notch drivers in the highly competitive FRC Invitational Series, arent cooling off as the competition continues to heat up. Round 2 ended last weekend and also started Round 3, meanwhile, this past weekend we see Round 3 conclude. We witness Lazarus and FRF both step up their game and deliver unbelievable performances in their opposing weekends. We also see a giant cracking as the pressure mounts and other teams pick up their game in a competition where $250,000 is up for grabs by eight teams in a Finale that happens at a closed LAN in Burbank, California.
The racing we watched last week, October 12th, brought us some of the fastest and sketchiest cars that you can pack race. The GT Icons in week 4 brought in Elite Factory Racers with most teams opting for the 1998 Porsche GT1 Strassenversion for the weekend. The GT Racing Reborn division had a majority of drivers picking 1990 #15 Whistler Radar Cougar XR-7 while RDE Hydra would once again go against the grain and pick the 1991 Mazda #62 Mazda Motorsport RX-7. This weekend‘s division of cars would also include a Supercar Renaissance with everyone opting in and going with the sleek and beautiful 2004 Saleen S7. Today, the racing we watched, revolved around Classic Muscle Cars and this made Week 5 a great one. Not only for the FRC caster team but also the viewers who gasped in awe as these huge displacement behemoths duked it out across three races. In the Historic Road Racing, we saw a majority of the field pick the 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Super Sport Coupe, with a couple opting to go with the 1971 Plymouth Cuda 426 HEMI. My favorite class in all of Forza was showcased with the always OP and nimble all-arounder 1969 Chevrolet Nova Super Sport 396 while no one opted-in for boat racing, skipping on the Olds 442 and the Buick GSX. The last division saw teams pick all three of these classic American icons in the Hot Rod Revivals. Teams picked between the 1958 Plymouth Fury, the 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air & the 1949 “Lead Sled” Mercury Coupe, all of which remarkably shined on the six different circuits the teams well challenged each other on.
Week 4 - Laige Roars & Lazarus Pours on the Points
Round 2 began and we saw JOTA Esports try to take down Redbull Racing over three races. At Watkin Glen, RBR Laige would win the race while his teammate RBR Venom would find himself at the tail end of the field. He would also end up serving a stop-and-go penalty for the team because of a Forza Race Regulations (FRR) exploit his teammate RBR b0x made in their final race at Sebring International Raceway the week before. JOTA Esports would see plenty of turmoil this race with JOTA Commando going from the front to the mid-pack due to some excessive rubbing and racing. To add to their woes, we see JOTA Bowkett get spun (again) on lap 1 in the FRC Invitational Series. Even though we see JOTA struggle a bit, they end up with a great finish and are only 2 points behind Redbull Racing after one race. While Ryze Motorsports was only 4 points behind Redbull Racing!
Race 2 for the day was an absolute joke in terms of racecraft and proper etiquette. Plenty of hard hits and bumper bashing passing took place all race long. RBR b0x would push his way to the front and along the way, he would move JOTA South out of his race line. Sensing that this didn’t sit well with JOTA South we catch a glimpse of RBR Venom being manhandled, to be polite, by South and this, in turn, pushes RBR Venom to the back of the field. JOTA Commando and RZM Chris would battle each other all race and in the same place where we see b0x eliminate South from contention for further positions, we see Mando get into Chris and punt him. Being the gentleman driver, he is he gave back the position to Chris. After RBR Laige secured his 8th win in the series and his second of the day, we get a close finish with JOTA Commando ecking out RZM Chris by 0.050 (five one-hundredths of a second!!)
After a bit longer than normal adjudication due to all the Wreckfest style driving at Indy GP, we head over to the last race of Round 2 and the action at Road America would lead to even more contact as the points battle heated up. While the race was pretty tame with minimal contact we do get one heck of a show as we see JOTA Commando and RZM Chris battling in the final race of their round. While rubbing and racing to go hand in hand, it’s hard to forgive and forget being pitted. This is exactly what we see happen as RZM Chris pits and spins JOTA Commando on lap 6. It was announced that he would serve a penalty for wrecking Commando. They elected to serve the penalty on this round of racing with 10 seconds of penalty time added to RZM Chris for the day. They then serve this penalty on last week’s results and do not have to do a stop-and-go penalty for their next race (October 19th).
RBR Laige would end up sweeping the weekend and acquiring his 9th overall win in this year‘s FRC Invitational Series. This wouldn’t be the only sweep of the weekend, as we kicked off Round 3 of the series. TX3 would go head to head against an already stronger looking Lazarus, who had one heck of a run the week before battling Williams Esports. As strong as TX3 Lightning looked it was essentially prior week penalties and race penalties that stop him from winning a race in the first races of Round 3. Instead, we see one of the strongest performances by a team, as a whole and individuals from each driver from Lazarus.
We find ourselves traveling to Suzuka GP for the first race of Round 3 and it was pretty much from the get-go LZR Racerz defending THR Rich, a theme we constantly see over these three races. TX3 Lightning serves a stop-and-go penalty for infractions from the week before but that does not deter him! Dead last and with a large gap we end up with Lightning in the fifth position. That is one incredible run from the TX3 driver, but this wouldn’t be the only flat tire we see TX3 Lightning suffer on the day. We head into Silverstone where the penalties would once again cost Lighting time and positions. Due to the FRR and his track cuts, he would lose out in first place and it would go to LZR Racerz. After two races Lazarus sat at 72 points while TX3 was barely ahead of THR. This lead on THR would be shaved to 1 point after race 3!
Heading into Spa we see the troubles for AMS continue to stack up. AMS Huracan, who was running the strongest all day long for AMS found himself spun and sent to the back of the pack after a crazy turn 1 debacle. The end of the race would once again boil down to LZR Racerz & THR Rich going back and forth. Both these boosted cars fought hard all day long, but Racerz would take the weekends second sweep of the day by beating out Rich. TX3 sat at 63 points and THR closed the gap to 1 point with 62 points. Lazarus would score a HUGE 110 points on the day securing more points than Williams (108), Redbull Racing (109) & Sauber Esports (109) who have each set the bar with each respective team taking it up one point higher with each preceding week.
Week 5 - Redbull Stumble & Fast Racers Humble
Nothing more American than street classics tearing up the circuits we all love to race on. RBR Laige would be stepping away from the team as he gets set to compete in the World’s Fastest Gamer and in his place would be their coach RBR ASIX. Asix would show to be a strong performer throughout the day. Race 1 would take place on the Circuit of the Americas, but not the full circuit. RBR b0x would get out front and not relinquish it while his teammate RBR ASIX would secure a second-place finish for Redbull Racing. Penalties would push RBR Venom from dead last to 9th position, where he sat most of the race. Venom’s woes would not end here, and his teammate’s success would be short-lived. RBR would net 38 points in that first race while one point separated Williams (23) and Sauber (22).
Race 2 would not bode well for RZM, once more, as their struggles continued to pile on as the day continued at Sonoma Raceway, a shorter version, like COTA. RBR b0x stayed out front and RBR ASIX was on the attack and defend all race long. RBR Venom would post his best finish of the day helping to push RBR to 69 points after Race 2. Williams Mitch would hold off Sauber Chemical for a second-place finish yet it was Sauber Zoom with the hard charger push and finish that helped keep the points between Williams (49) & Sauber (45) extremely close. Ryze Motorsport would have only 9 points after two races but there was a bit of hope going into Race 3.
Homestead would show the power of boosts, in which, the Lead Sled Mercury Cougar would finally shine with its OP acceleration. RBR b0x who sat on the pole and would soon be passed by Williams Seven and Williams Mitch. Joining in pushing Redbull completely off the podium we have RZM Renaud with the only bright side of RZM’s weekend. By lap 4 we see Redbull Racing collapse and no longer showing a strong, dominating performance like in previous weeks. By the end of the race, we see the worst performance we’ve seen by Redbull Racing. (Which has nothing to do with Laige not being there. b0x was VERY strong and so was ASIX. Also, Venom scored 9 points and only Williams RR scored more with 11. RBR was outshined and outdrove in Race 3.) With a lot of shock and dismay in the caster’s voices, we see Willaims knock off Redbull Racing by five points in the last race of Match 1. Williams hit 87 points and inched RBR out by 5 points but Sauber did net 60 points on the day (doubling RZM who scored 29.) This is also the first race of the series, wherein, not a single Redbull Racing driver was on the podium. Williams Seven would comment in Twitch stream chat after the last race and say, “I actually drove a PB (personal best) twice in a row.”
Match 2 would finish out Round 3, in which, the titans came to battle. While everyone expected JOTA Esports to hit 100 points I don’t think everyone expected FRF to come out and showcase some top tier driving by a team that is representing Brazil in the highest form of competitive racing that Forza has to offer. We also have two teams who are fighting to stay off the chopping block and fight in the Last Chance Qualifier: Raging Dragons Esports & Mordor Gaming Club. But if you judged FRF on race one, you would think I’m speaking madness. RDE Hydra would show a strong performance but his pass on JOTA Bowkett won’t sit well with other drivers if he tries to pass them in this same manner. The 8-second penalty did not take away the second-place finish of RDE Hydra, who showed his car was faster than JOTA Bowkett. It was a young driver making moves and I hope we see him continue to learn and improve in his racecraft. JOTA would put South & Bowkett on the podium, sandwiching RDE Hydra in second place.
JOTA Commando would find some relief of being bumped and pushed around as we head into race two at Long Beach. There was a lot of rubbing & racing and almost an entire completed lap between RDE Chazmo and JOTA South running side by side, panel to panel, door handle to door handle, synchronized and dancing in and out of the turns. It would later be marred by a bone-jarring crash by RDE’s strongest driver. Eating a wall on Lap 8 while running upfront. RDE Hydra would see the momentum of race 1 dwindle down even further as the racing headed to Sebring. JOTA Commando would find himself in even more boxing matches. MGC Mango was showing a stronger performance in Race 2 with higher expectations now being cast on him. However, it was FRF Handicap who would push his team higher with his first win at the series. JOTA now sat with 69 points with FRF trailing by 17 points, having gained 52 points on the day thus far. RDE would secure 39 points while MGC would score their highest points of the series after two races, showing that MGC Mango has what it takes to compete and hang with some of the best!
Mango had his ups and downs and he slid down a bit as we head into Sebring, also the shorter version, much like COTA & Road America. Mango would get into FRF Handicap who would then push JOTA Bowkett off the track. In due time it was the Mercury Cougars out front but Bowkett just couldn’t catch up to Handicap who would secure his second win of the day. FRF would finish with a very dominating points grab with their drivers coming in at First-Third-Fifth scoring a huge 40 points and shooting them up to 92 points on the day! JOTA has just enough on the day to grab the 100 points mark and sneak past FRF by 8 points. MGC would end the day with 15 points and while Mango looked off at Sebring he was looking a lot stronger than the previous racing weekends he took part in. RDE would end the day looking okay with 51 points.
FRC Broadcast Team Shines the Brightest in 2019
Week 4 we had Gabby LeTigress as our host analysts and in Week 5 we have Kate Osborne setting up questions for our analysts Aaron Mellish and Andy Flipmode Berg. The chemistry between these two YMTV All-Star commentators is always enjoyable to watch. Mellish really hits the finer points and with his blunt approach, he leaves nothing to be questioned in his expert analysis. Andy is relaxing more into the role as the weeks continue on and I hope this means we get to keep him around, like Mellish & Alie. Kate is back for her second year in the ForzaRC and that means when she is there she is scouring the chat for questions and also those cheering on their favorite drivers. Not only do we get a spot on analysts from community members, but we get Katie interacting with us. What I like about Kate is she is a car lover all the way, through and through. Her excitement just lights up her eyes when she talks about cars. The same, I think, can be said as LeTigress has started to really settle into her role when she is the host analyst for the week. Her inviting smile and passion for competitive racing that she gets to talk about feel natural and unforced. Even though she is new to this, I think she has really stepped into the FRC and done just as well as Kate did in her first season with us.
Week 4 we got to meet a new commentator who sat with Alie Tacq. Shea Adams was not present for the week, of doing real-life motorsports commentary, we get the pleasure of a real-life Le Mans racer, Charlie Martin. What I’ve come to love about Shea are her track knowledge and track insights. Charlie also did this but from the racer’s perspective. When penalties took people down in positions post-race, she talked about how her team gained positions for the same reasons in real life. Another interesting remark that Charlie Martin made was about being strapped into a Le Mans car and how she couldn’t breathe or move once she was strapped in. It’s these cool talking points that make the FRC feel real and authentic. Alie also shines when paired with anyone he does commentary with. From ducks to armadillos we can always expect Alie to make us smile and laugh when he is on air commentating. It’s also been a bit of a learning curve as Alie has to develop chemistry with his new partner commentators, to which he has done very well. Another community member who is well revered and also shining at the highest form in this esport. The best part about Alie isn’t his racecraft but in his commentary (but he is no slouch behind the wheel either.) His Forza knowledge and insight that proven over and over how valuable he is to the success of the FRC today and tomorrow. YMTV has brought us more than just great racers over the last few years it’s also turning out great talents like Alie, Mellish, and Andy.
The replays, the overlays, the insane amount of information on drivers, their builds, their thoughts; literally everything about this year‘s production is continually being stepped up every week. I am always left happy and pleased with the broadcast and production side of the ForzaRC. The team has done a lot to truly make it feel like real autosports racing by including top-notch commentary from the community and those involved in real-life auto sports. I hope we get this continuation and growth not only in the FRC but also in the community. There are also other race orgs in the Forza community who cast races and commentate over them. Who knows in the future what real-life commentators and racers will join the FRC along with other top-notch commentary talents from our extremely talented community.
The Final Lap
Round 4 will take place next week and the first weekend of November will wrap up Round 4 in Match 1. The first weekend of November will also host Match 2, which will be, the Last Chance Qualifier. Seven teams will secure their place in the Final 8. With an LCQ left to secure one of the final four teams a chance to get the 8th and final spot in the Finale that takes place November 23-24th. With 3 weeks off before the finale teams will have plenty of time to prepare and strategize how they can take the biggest cut of a $250,000 prize pool. Be sure to tune in on Twitch, Mixer & Youtube for Forza Race Championship’s Invitational Series for the next two weeks to see who makes the cut into the Final 8. If you miss the action, you can rewatch the battles that take on the Twitch VOD over on the Forza channel and also get a quick summary of events in my FRC articles. The next two weeks will be scrappy as the teams on the bottom fight and claw to stay relevant. I hope to see you over the next two weeks and for the Finals at the end of November.
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