Notebook: IMSA iRacing Pro Invitational Round 2 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca


Imsa Iracing Logo

The field for Round 2 of the IMSA iRacing Pro Series is set, as 50 drivers are scheduled to take the green flag in the invitational event at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Thursday, April 16 at 6 p.m. ET.

Following a successful inaugural round three weeks ago at Sebring International Raceway, the drivers will be firing up their simulators again Thursday night for a 90-minute round presented by Motul, The race is available on the iRacing YouTube and Twitch channels, as well as the iRacing Facebook page, with IMSA Radio’s John Hindhaugh again anchoring the commentary team.

A special edition of The Torque Show with Justin Bell and Tommy Kendall will be streamed live starting at 5:30 p.m. ET on the Torque Show’s Facebook page.

Here’s a closer look at some of the storylines heading into the race.

IMSA-Wide Representation

Fans will find a mix of IMSA talent throughout the field this Thursday on iRacing. While the majority of drivers compete in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, there’s representation from the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, IMSA Prototype Challenge and Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama.

Names from the WeatherTech Championship include DPi class drivers Filipe Albuquerque and Harry Tincknell; LMP2 drivers Colin Braun and Cameron Cassels; GTLM class drivers Jesse Krohn and Laurens Vanthoor; and GTD class drivers Jack Hawksworth, Ryan Hardwick and Jeroen Bleekemolen, among others.

From Michelin Pilot Challenge, regulars in the field include Sebastian Priaulx, Gabby Chaves and Gavin Ernstone – who scored his first IMSA victory at WeatherTech Raceway last September.

Riley Dickinson, the 2020 recipient of the IMSA Hurley Haywood GT3 Cup Scholarship will trade his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car for a Porsche 911 RSR on Thursday. Additionally, the 2019 IMSA Prototype Challenge co-champion, Rodrigo Pflucker – who is poised to make his real-life WeatherTech Championship debut later this year – is entered, in addition to the series’ 2015 champion, Kenton Koch.

Real-Life IMSA Winners at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in the Field?

Eight WeatherTech Championship drivers with previous wins at picturesque WeatherTech Raceway are on the entry list for Thursday’s race.

Wt Ferrari Iracing 2
Toni Vilander’s WeatherTech Ferrari

John Edwards and Connor De Phillippi, winners in the GTLM class in 2017 and 2018, respectively, will look to make BMW Team RLL undefeated in IMSA iRacing after teammate Bruno Spengler won at Sebring in March. Edwards also has a WeatherTech Raceway win from 2015.

A trio of Porsche winners at WeatherTech Raceway include Bleekemolen (2010, 2012 GTC) and Nick Tandy (2013 GTC). Meanwhile, Patrick Long is tied for the second-winningest driver at the track with five wins, the most recent in 2011 in the GT class.

Additional winners include Colin Braun (2012 PC), Alessandro Balzan (2017 GTD) and three-time victor Richard Westbrook. Colton Herta, winner of the 2019 IndyCar Series race at WeatherTech Raceway, also is in the field.

Racing Around the World

There is a definite international feel to the race as the entry list features drivers from 15 different countries spanning four continents (North America, South America, Europe and Asia). That number increases to five if you include New Zealand which is part of the Oceanian sub-region that includes various island nations around Australia.

With the race being held at 6 p.m. ET, it’ll be a three-hour shift back in time for those drivers on the West Coast of the United States like NBC commentator Townsend Bell.

Those drivers based in Europe will be racing at or around midnight, with Turkish and Porsche Junior driver Ayhancan Guven taking the late shift in Istanbul at 1 a.m. local time.

Meanwhile, halfway across the world in New Zealand, Shane van Gisbergen will be kicking off his Friday morning at WeatherTech Raceway at 10 a.m. local time.