The 2019 Forza RC Invitational continues to heat up as Autumn continues to rapidly cool down for the season. Over the past two weekends, the ForzaRC held Week 6 (October 26) & Week 7 (November 2) of qualifying for the Finals that take place this November 23-24th. Week 7 Match 1 was the final qualifying match for one of the seven secure seats into the Finals. While Match 2 of the day was the Last Chance Qualifier for teams positioned 8th-11th. The racing throughout both weekends was tight, contentious and every mistake cost teams dearly in the final races of this qualifier. Week 6 we were entertained by Gabby LeTigeress as our Host Analyst & in Week 7, we were once again graced with Katie Osborne setting up the talking points for our Analysts Desk. For both weekends we got to see Brian Mechberg Ekberg and Andy Flipmode Berg really come together and finally have some great synergy. This clicking moment for me is great because we see both of them ease into bantering with one another even when they disagree. They seem a lot less at odds as this chemistry between them has started to blossom.
Heading trackside for both weeks we get the always fun and delightful commentary of Alie Taqc and the ever insightful track knowledge of Shea Adams. These two have also really started to come into their own. They banter so naturally and awkwardly at the same time. As the weeks went on their chemistry and Shea’s ability to adapt to this format of race commentary has shown her craft for race commentary. Alie has done a great job working with Shea and helping her adjust, as well. This reflects well on Alie to work with someone who is new to Forza and the ForzaRC and get them up to par after 6 weeks of in booth time. The broadcast team this year has done an amazing job of calling the races. While we talk about top drivers in most of this article, we honestly also have the top commentary in the community calling the action and giving us some in-depth analysis.
Throw Some D’s On It
Week 6 racing we were entertained by Stockcars. Division 1 was NASCAR and all 3 cars drive exactly the same. Raging Dragons Esports would go against the grain like we’ve grown accustomed to and put 8PI into RDE Hydra’s NASCAR, shaving weight and putting on race brakes. Division 2 every single team picked the 2014 AUDI #45 Flying Lizard Motorsports R8 LMS Ultra. Not a single team opted-in for the 2014 Maserati #35 M.Calamia Swiss Team MC Trofeo nor the 2014 Lamborghini Dragonspeed Gallardo LP 570-4 Super Trofeo. Division 3 brought the brash power from down under of the Australian V8 Supercars.
Week 7 was comprised of cars that can only be summed up as Dream Cars. Division 1 brought us the popular and LCQ dominate 2015 McLaren 650S Coupe. Six drivers would pick this car with two drivers jumping in the street-legal race car from Porsche, a 2019 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. No one wanted the 2015 Ferrari 488 GTB and when you have a McLaren to pick from it makes sense to see teams predominantly pick the more stable option in terms of handling and braking. Division 2 would also see another car get the snub. No one would pick the 2017 Aston Martin DB11. Five drivers would pick the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 and the other three jumped in a 2016 Jaguar F-Type Project 7. Division 3 would show some love to a few All Wheel Drive Dream Machines. MGC Mango would be the only 2015 BMW i8 out there today. Three drivers would show us the power of the newest generation of the NSX by getting behind the wheel of the 2017 Acura NSX. Fleshing out the other half of the field, four drivers picked the 2014 Lamborghini Huracan LP 610-4 (and to everyone’s dismay AMS Huracan was NOT in a Huracan.)
JOTA Esports Answers Any Doubters
Last week (October 26) was the start of Round 4 and in Match 1 of the day, it was the performance we have been waiting to see from JOTA Commando. Once he launched off the line at COTA GP, it was a Mando Hot Lapping session. Pretty much for the rest of the race, it’s JOTA Commando #DoingABrad. The midpack racing behind our leaders is a battle between the Aussie V8 Supercars and the Murican V8s of NASCAR. There would be plenty of rubbing and racing as these cars were a lot to contend with in the esses of the first half of the track. Sauber had a strong performance this race with Chemical defending THR Virus for a majority of the race. Virus looked to be faster but made an ill-advised pass attempt that would not stick. With a bit more patience Virus could have had the Sauber driver but Chemical also showed resolve defending the pokes and prods of Virus before he made a mistake in trying to overtake him. Sauber Zimdog would end up with a hard charger boost upgrade, and JOTA would net boosts off a clean sheet.
Race 2 takes us to Homestead, a track that is the final race in the NASCAR championships. JOTA had a 5 point lead over Sauber after Race 1, sitting at 29 and 24 points respectively. THR who is fighting to secure a 7th seed position and avoid the LCQ is 7 points ahead of AMS with 20 points and AMS sits on that unlucky 13. Mando would continue to put his team on his back and show us why JOTA is here to compete. While everyone else fought each other JOTA Commando starts out front and stays out front. His great race would be overshadowed by THR Virus, who THR invested heavily in this week. Lap 3 Virus would give up his position to AMS Tiqoo heading into turn 1. Same turn next lap Virus misjudges the timing of braking and can’t avoid the wall. The heavy damage from the impact would result in THR heading to next week’s Last Chance Qualifier. JOTA would get another clean sheet along with AMS. Sauber Zimdog would see a 3-second penalty drop him from 4th to 6th but he would still get the hard charger boost.
Race 3 would secure a spot for two teams in the finals and send two other teams to the LCQ next week. Heading into Road Atlanta JOTA sits strongly at 64 points. No longer nipping at their heels we have Sauber Esports with a good 49 points. Followed up by THR and AMS who have just three points separating them, with 31 and 28 points respectively. It was during this race we get some interaction in the chat from Redbull Racing’s RBR Laige. He was in California at Laguna Seca competing in the finals of the World’s Fastest Gamer for a chance to drive professionally in real life for a race team next season. This match would continue to be JOTA Commando’s and he would sweep the podium getting a huge 60 points! JOTA Esport’s lowest round performance this season was 64 points. THR Virus would continue to see his luck sour on the day as the midpack battles would push him farther back in the field. Two rounds in a row we see JOTA score 100 points and put any doubts about their team to rest. Sauber Zimdog stepped into race for Dave and really shined as a coach subbing in for a driver. While Sauber wasn’t a winner today, Zimdog was for sure the MVP of the day in terms of points hauled in and driving against some tough and formidable foes. JOTA hits 100 points for a second time and Sauber Esports nets 73 points after a few missteps had them on their back foot for most of the day. Just one point would separate THR (43) and AMS (42). JOTA & Sauber are secure in the final 7 while THR and AMS would head into Week 7 and have one more chance to get into the finals with the Last Chance Qualifier.
Williams Makes A Statement
Match 2 of the day was a curious battle because Willaims was secure in their seeding but a strong performance today could mean the number one seed in the competition. It was really about FRF trying to keep Raging Dragons Esports and Ryze Motorsports from taking their 7th spot and bumping them into the Last Chance Qualifier. Ultimately the things that hurt RZM today would also haunt them in the LCQ next week in the Dream Cars. Watkins Glen would be the first stop for our drivers and since its Stock Car week, it’s the NASCAR variant of Watkins. Williams invested heavily in Mitch and that investment would pay dividends today. Mitch would pretty much hot lap it all race and #DoABrad while comfortably coming in the first place. A penalty from FRF Bull would take away his second-place finish and give him third instead. This, in turn, would push Williams RR from third into second. RDE Hydra would show us why his NASCAR got the PI and why he is one of the most impressive of the newcomers in the ForzaRC. He started last and got the hard charger boost for his team finishing in 5th place.
Bathurst is crazy enough in V8 Supercars but when you throw in the Audi R8 and some American NASCARs you know it‘s going to be one heck of a battle up and down the mountain of Mount Panorama Circuit. Williams Mitch would be starting out front and would not be running a boost this race. But don’t let that fool you because it had no impact on his dominating performance of the day. Williams would sit nicely with 39 points after the first race. 9 points separated FRF (21), RDE (14) and last place RZM (12). RZM Chriz and FRF Bull would end up getting together in the cutting of the track, and we see Bull spun after the contact ended. It’s here we are hit with a disconnect and in turn, a DNF by RZM Renaud. This guts any chance Ryze had to try and knock FRF from the 7th spot and avoiding the Last Chance Qualifier next week in the Dream Cars. While most of the series we have talked about how impressive RDE Hydra is we get a glimpse of why RDE Chazmo was selected as one of their drivers. He is also another young talent who is having his first appearance in the FRC. Chazmo would end up succumbing to Williams RR but not before he makes Roadrunner work for it. From the kilometer straight after coming down the mountain we see Chazmo side by side, door handle to door handle not giving RR an inch. It isn’t until the straight leading up the mountain after turn 1 that Chazmo has to back off. But for a short moment, he was battling one of the greatest and hanging in there like Hydra. Fantastic to see, even after a disconnect guts any chance they have of avoiding the LCQ. Williams Seven would get the hard charger, and Williams would get a clean sheet this race, as well.
In this final race, two teams will secure their spot in the final seven and two teams will head into the Last Chance Qualifier next week. Williams would now be sitting pretty heading into Indy GP with 73 points. 37 points separated Williams and FRF who had gained a total of 36 points after two races. One point separated RDE (32) and RZM (31) and at the end of this race, one point will still separate these two teams. Williams and Raging Dragons Esports would come into the race with all three drivers boosted. This would lead to the third straight win by Williams Mitch who had the three fastest laps of the day, as well. Chazmo would see the jitters overcome his sensible driving from race 2 and end up getting into Williams Seven. Much of the day we see Seven on the receiving end of some unfortunate racing. RDE Kami would make one little mistake on Lap 6 when his tire hit the grass on braking and the sim twitches off. While he beat himself up the community, really rallies around him in the chat and encourages him to not let it get him down. Moments like this make the Forza community great and that we encourage one another in success and failure. Williams would go on and tie Lazarus for the highest match score and bring in 110 points, thus, securing the number one seed in the finals. But the real story is the three teams below. Ryze Motosport would come in at 50 points but both RDE & FRF would tie only one point behind RZM. RDE & FRF would both score 49 points after 3 races. FRF and Williams won’t race again until the LAN finals but RZM & RDE would race again in the LCQ of Week 7.
Lightning “The Disruptor” & Lots of Lasers
The final match of Round 4 (November 2) would be an early preview of the Finals that take place November 23-24th. Lazarus every week has continued to impress and improve. Redbull Racing would again be without RBR Laige who was competing in the finals for World’s Fastest Gamer. TX3, another team that is in the finals, would bank it all on Lightning today and hope he can disrupt both LZR & RBR. Mordor Gaming Club would see their time in this series end after today. MGC showed up and battled hard with the best teams in Forza. While they didn’t perform as best as we would hope it was still great to have a Chinese team compete and represent their nation against the best in the world.
Race 1 would take place at a track we’ve already been to a few times this season, Catalunya GP. RBR b0x would start 10th and as soon as the first turn came he was already up to 5th position. However, he would soon stop moving forward and finish in third. Racerz would hold off Lightning while his teammate, ForceOne, who is also on the defense, is trying to keep RBR Venom behind him. At times you are holding your breath as these two dances with one another in each turn. If Venom could have got around Forceone, it would’ve given Redbull Racing a perfect form finish with a 3-4-5 finish. Venom’s best attempt would come on Lap 7 but Forceone wasn’t just about to give it up and fends him off. This would not be the last battle we see between Venom and Forceone, but it would have to wait until race 3.
Le Mans Bugatti circuit in race two of the day and it was MGC Mango who is putting a wrench in the Venom vs ForceOne battle we got to watch in the first race. Mango would eventually make a mistake on Lap 2 releasing ForceOne to chase down Venom. With a hard charger boost from the last race, we see RBR b0x slip from second to third place as Lightning plays chase Racerz for the second race in a row. After two races we have Lazarus 6 points ahead of Redbull Racing who have 58 points. TX3 has 42 points with Lightning earning 30 of those points in two races. MGC would finish the day all together with 12 points. Heading into race three Redbull racing needed 103 points to take the number one seed. While Lazarus needed 108 points to take the number one seed. However, in order to take the number two seed from Redbull Racing the Lazarus team needed to beat them by 6 points and going into race three, they are 6 points ahead of RBR. But in order to secure the second seed, they also need to score 88 points. Lazarus 64 – Redbull Racing 58 — TX3 42 — MGC 8.
Sebring International Raceway would be our final race of the qualifying matches to get a spot in the finals. Racerz would be looking for a P1 sweep and starting in first on the pole. RBR b0x would be starting in second place with Lightning in third. The battle up front between b0x, Racerz and Lightning would heat up around lap 2 and lap 3. As we come into the final turn on lap 2 Racerz makes an inside move on both b0x and Lightning and comes out side by side with Lightning. The next lap on the same turn Lightning puts the moves on b0x in a similar fashion as Racerz had done the lap before. Lightning decides this race it’s time for him to #DoABrad and he proceeds to hot lap the rest of the race. Lightning would make sure that LZR Racerz doesn’t get a P1 sweep and secures himself a win for the day. With TX3, Lazarus & Redbull Racing all running boosts on all three of their cars, Mordor Gaming Club is left in the dust. Like we had the pleasure to watch in race one, we get the same great action from RBR Venom and LZR ForceOne. These two fellas put on one heck of a show and at one time were teammates on F4H which is now Lazarus Esports. Watching these two battle is definitely a top tier highlight from the first seven weeks. In the end, we have Lazarus with 97 points and Redbull Racing ending their qualifier with 81 points. TX3 would round out the day with 68 points and MGC would earn 12 points against the world‘s toughest drivers on the day.
Last Chance Qualifier: The Heartbreaker Match
Mordor Gaming Club would see their time in the Invitational end today and three more teams would join MGC and their tenure in the series would conclude after these next three races in the LCQ. Team Highland Racing, Raging Dragons Esports, Ryze Motorsports & Alien Motorsports would have their scores reset and the winner today secures the 8th and final spot at the LAN finals November 23-24. Every team in the Last Chance Qualifier has not won at the Invitational, and this would be a chance for a team to get their first win and secure their place at the finals. Mugello would start us off, and everyone would be watching THR. Rich had full PI on the McLaren, the only team to do this today. RDE Hydra and RZM Chriz take turn 1 but it’s THR Rich, who sure enough, gets out in front of the All-Wheel Drive machines and posts a dominant P1 finish. THR was highly favored to win so when we see THR Europa get booted off due to some netcode abnormalities the fear starts to set in for THR as RZM was nailing their performance today. Other than this incident here we don’t see much contact but it’s a penalty from RZM Renaud that sees Ryze Motorsport stutter. Renaud drops from 5th to 8th place but RZM was just seeing the first of many incidents plague their LCQ and a chance to be in the finals in Burbank, California.
Given the missteps due to networking issues we see THR gain 27 points and the penalty of Renaud surely played a factor in RZM (24) being 3 points behind THR instead of ahead. RDE (19) would be 3 points ahead of AMS(16). THR earned a clean sheet last race but they are not running any boosts this race as we take our racing over to Watkins Glen. Heading into the bus stop we witness the carnage from contact between RZM Renaud and AMS Tiqoo. Their cars were badly damaged, and they had to limp slowly back to the pits while everyone else raced. Lap five we see RDE Chazmo pull off into the penalty box at the end of turn one to serve a stop and go penalty. The reason Tiqoo killed Renaud was due to the reckless driving of RDE Chazmo. Lap six we are all gutted as a team suffers a DNF due to a disconnect. RZM Renaud was plagued last week by a DNF disconnect which cemented them in competing in the LCQ. This week RZM Chriz, who was running in first, is disconnected in the most gut-wrenching fashion. At the time RZM was ahead of THR in points and was looking to secure that 8th and final qualifying spot. THR Rich would now be in first after the disconnect from RZM Chriz. Race three would not be any gentler either for the LCQ teams competing today.
Heading into the final race at Hockenheim we realize the only way THR would lose this is if one of their drivers suffers a DNF disconnect. To give RDE even a glimmer of hope Flipmode says this is when Hydra needs a win for his team to push them up and over THR and RZM. However, this young, talented lad from Ireland would not have a boost and would have to try and fend off THR Rich who was behind Hydra after lap one. When we next catch a glimpse of Hydra, he is recovering from a mistake and THR Rich makes sure to pounce on him and take away that first spot position. THR Rich would ensure his team‘s dominating finish by securing a P1 sweep in the Last Chance Qualifier. But THR finds themselves losing a driver to a disconnect on lap four and the same problems that have plagued RZM now show up and take THR Virus out of the race. RZM Chriz decides to turn up the heat on THR Rich and makes one heck of a pass attempt at the hairpin and then eventually takes Rich on the next series of turns. RZM Chriz is now ahead of THR Rich and looking poised to dethrone THR and send them home. Sloppy driving leads to Chriz getting 2.5 seconds of FRR penalties and subsequently finishing first but giving up first to THR Rich due to time penalties from FRR. After three hard races emotionally and mentally, THR hits their stride with 90 points. Ryze Motorsports (61) bests Raging Dragons (60) by one point! While AMS came in to finish with 47 points.
For a moment Team Highlands Racing was looking to go home, and Ryze Motorsport was going to head to the LAN. Disconnects are an unfortunate side of gaming. Much like mechanical failures in real-life racing, these incidents can be summed up similarly. In today’s race, I think it was the amazing driving of RDE Hydra that should have some of these top teams looking to recruit this young talent. In my eyes, he was not only the MVP for his team today, but the overall MVP for the underdogs in this series. He showed us how young talent can compete with those in their mid-20s with a decade or more of Forza experience. What a bright future this Irish kid has in the ForzaRC!
The Final Lap
After 7 weeks we have 8 finalists who will compete in a SemiFinal on November 23rd and four of those eight teams will go to the final on November 24th and compete for a slice of that $250,000 prize pool! Don’t miss the action and if you have, you can always go back and watch the VODS embedded in this article. But I promise you that the FRC Finals are not something you want to miss. High caliber, top tier, the edge of your seat racing. As the world’s top Forza teams compete for money, recognition and bragging rights as the best ForzaRC team in 2019. See you for the finals November 23-24 over on Twitch, Mixer & Youtube. Be sure to stay up to date with the ForzaRC by giving their Twitter a follow, as well. GGs all around after seven weeks of hard racing! I cant wait to see how this ends the weekend before we celebrate Thanksgiving here in the States.
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