Trailing the big guys
First Grand Am simrace run in Florida

Simracing star-driver Michael Ryhl scored a P9 this week in the first 2011 Grand Am race; a simracing series that follows the reallife sports car series.

Palm trees and high blue skies in Florida
The championship will take place on the same dates as the actual Grand Am at the simulated tracks and each race will last 1h30m (which is half of the actual races). There are two classes: A protoype class with Riley Daytonas (the ITR car has a Pontiac 500bhp V8) and a Ford Mustang FR500S class (325 bhp).

Michael Ryhl reported back to the ITR headquarters in Maranello: 'Because I moved house I didn't get much opportunity to practice, so I just turned up at the venue, but did manage to reel a decent qualification lap of 1:12.609 and ended up
Q10 on the grid among 16 Rileys and 8 Mustangs'.
The ITR Riley looses a position to #21 Geoff Roberts (driving from NJ, USA) right after the start in turn 1, but Michael Ryhl got past him again after a short chase and recorded his best lap time on L14.
'I really tried to conserve the front tires because I had a couple of punctures during practice', admits an annoyed Michael Ryhl, 'And just as I do my best to tiptoe the car I spin and my two worst competitors pass me while I am running P8'. The ITR racer pits as planned and re-enters at P11, fights his way back to P8 but runs wide onto the grass 5 laps before the end a lets mexican Nelson Vergera past.
On the ultimate lap the ITR car gets caught behind a slower Mustang at the hairpin while Nelson Vergera (MEX) manages to slip past and collect P8.
Both the team manager and the sponsors back in Maranello were very satisfied, but the driver will try to avoid the faults in future races. 'It was a good and exciting race, and it leaves me #151 in the grand total standing between 254 drivers', says the ITR star-driver.

Luca Brasi of italian sponsor Bella Lago expresses his satisfaction and mentions that next time he will send some Women's Swim Wear models to support the team - That will keep spirits high, sure enough.