Jordan Pepper says he’s undeterred by a “frustrating” SRO Esport GT Series race at the Nürburgring in which he failed to score points.
The K-PAX Racing Bentley driver entered the third round in a healthy position in the championship with one win to his name at Silverstone and pole position for the race at the Nürburgring.
Pepper’s race unraveled at the first corner of the opening lap, however, after a ‘netcode’ incident reportedly caused the Bentley Continental GT3 to spin while in close proximity with title rival Ben Barnicoat.
While Barnicoat went on to win the race and score maximum points Pepper finished the one-hour race outside of the points, a setback in the South African’s title bid.
“He told me his side of the story, I knew mine and I went back and watched the replays and I was caught out by netcode as people like to refer to it,” Pepper told Sportscar365.
“It was a frustrating Nürburgring and it may be something that means the difference between us winning the championship or not.
“Missing out on those 25 points to one of my championship rivals isn’t easy but the competitive side is there and that’s what makes it so great, the rivalry and respect.”
Pepper says he’s even more motivated for the next round at Barcelona and has stepped up his sim preparation.
“Again the racer in me has taken over and I’ve added a couple of more hours to my prep leading up to Barcelona,” he said.
“After getting the victory at Silverstone the target was on my back; I put in a lot of effort for that race and I realized the only way I’m going to stay on top is put in more effort.
“Going to Spa I put in a crazy amount of effort but with the BoP plus penalty weight it didn’t make it easy in qualifying but we have a better race car also on the sim.
“It was a bit frustrating two laps into the race after making up a whole bunch of positions to get taken out there as well and I was kicking myself for the effort I put in and if it was worth it.
“The next day I was back on the sim prepping for Nürburgring, three, four hours a day that whole week and I think I ended up putting in 35 hours in the lead up to the race.
“It really paid off getting the pole and to get taken out Lap 1 corner one by something I wouldn’t even blame – I know Ben really well and we’re good mates – I wouldn’t even blame him.
“It’s a part of motorsport you’re going to have ups and downs, and yes sometimes it is more frustrating than the real thing because you’ve put in hundreds of hours.
“I was looking at my stats the other day and I think I’m up to 130 hours on Assetto Corsa Competizione alone.”
The factory Bentley driver is pleased by the way drivers and the motorsport community as a whole has gotten behind the esports scene.
While sim racing and the real world have their differences, like first corner incidents being more regular when “no one is paying for the damage”, Pepper says it’s all part of the fun.
“I still spend a lot of time just doing races and having fun with mates because that’s also important,” he said.
“When racing stopped there was that hole to fill and it’s great we’ve got a professionally run championship based on what we do in real life. Speaking from a real driver’s point of view coming into the esports world it’s a totally unknown world – it’s got many characteristics that are the same but it’s got it’s own style and philosophy.”
The SRO Esport GT Series continues on Sunday in Barcelona.