The penultimate round of the IMSA iRacing Pro Invitational Series is upon us.
Michelin Presents IMSA iRacing at VIRginia International Raceway is set for next Thursday, May 28 at 6 p.m. ET. It will see 50 virtual IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Le Mans race cars battle around the 3.27-mile, 18-turn circuit.
As with previous races, Thursday’s race will stream live beginning at 6 p.m. ET on the iRacing Facebook and YouTube channels and IMSA Radio’s, John Hindhaugh, will once again lead the race commentary. In addition, The Torque Show will stream a pre-race showing at 5 p.m. on its Facebook page.
Will Thursday’s race paint a better picture for which driver is primed to take the title? It still may be too soon to tell. Although leader Bruno Spengler has an eight-point gap over Nicky Catsburg and a larger, 20-point margin over third place Shinya Michimi, the rules of the championship may bring the fight down to the last lap of Round 6.
While the IMSA iRacing Pro Series will feature six races, points will only be awarded for five, allowing a driver to drop his lowest points result from the final tally. Poor finishes in both of the upcoming Rounds 5 and 6 could see one of the leaders tumble from the top, so be sure to stay tuned.
Double Back-to-Back Opportunity for Tandy
Fresh off a win in the fourth round of IMSA iRacing at Road America, Nick Tandy should be considered a heavy favorite at VIR. Not only will he be searching for consecutive victories in the iRacing championship, he’ll also be seeking consecutive IMSA wins at VIR.
Tandy is one of the most recent, real-life GTLM class winners at VIR after scoring the Michelin GT Challenge win last August alongside Patrick Pilet in the No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR. And while he doesn’t need coaching help in the real world, the Brit has been working with 2019 Porsche Esports Champion Joshua Rogers to up his iRacing game.
"I got to know him at a sim event that Porsche put on a couple years back," said Tandy. "We actually teamed up to race together so we’ve kind of held a friendship since… He’s been really helpful, and it was great to have Josh in my corner during the race and calming me down. It makes it so much easier when you’ve haven’t got to think about your own pit strategy when you’ve got someone else that can do it and you can concentrate on trying to keep it on the track."
Wickens Reflects on First Race, Returns for Round 5
Was Robert Wickens’ IMSA iRacing debut a baptism by fire, finishing on the lead lap albeit in 27th-place?
"It was a baptism of something," Wickens joked after the race. "It was fun. I mean honestly, it went about what I was expecting. I knew I wasn’t going to have the pace to really fight up front, but I was just trying to keep clean and try to stay out of trouble. I can happily say that I did not spin on my own the entire race. I don’t think I went backwards the whole race either, it was just crash avoidance the whole time."
Wickens’ discussed his appreciation being able to participate in the IMSA iRacing Pro Series, as he uses these races as another opportunity to become closer to getting back in the race car in real life following his harrowing IndyCar incident at Pocono Raceway in August 2018.
"This was just the first step of many to getting back into the real thing. I can’t thank SimCraft enough for giving me this awesome simulator in my basement because it’s passed a lot of time during this pandemic. I’m very grateful to have this down here, my wife maybe not so much."
IMSA iRacing Challenge Series – Round 2 at VIR
Don’t forget before next Thursday’s IMSA iRacing Pro Series event at 6 p.m. ET, tune in to watch the second round of the IMSA iRacing Challenge Series at 3 p.m. earlier in the afternoon. The race will stream live on the Global SimRacing YouTube channel and will feature additional IMSA drivers competing for the win at VIR.
An entry list for the event will be provided next week.