Inaugural Virtual Racing Series for Pro Teams and Drivers Finishes at Daytona International Speedway
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Apex Racing Team once again dominated proceedings at the finale of the IMSA Esports Michelin Global Championship and was rewarded for a virtually flawless season with the overall race win and GT Daytona (GTD) class title. Apex was also the winner in the Touring Car class Sunday at virtual Daytona International Speedway, but SimRC took second place to secure the class championship after the fourth and final race for professional sim drivers and teams.
In keeping with IMSA’s real-life racing series, the IMSA Esports Michelin Global Championship consisted of multi-driver, multi-class racing featuring iRacing’s meticulously modeled GT3 and Touring cars. Eight manufacturers competed: BMW, Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Lamborghini, McLaren, Mercedes-AMG and Porsche.
The No. 98 Apex Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R shared by Alejandro Sanchez and Kevin Ellis Jr. took the checkered flag first in the two-hour, 40-minute race but was assessed a postrace time penalty that dropped the car to seventh in the official results. That moved up the sister car, the No. 97 Porsche driven by Yohann Harth and Jamie Fluke to the race win. Despite the penalty, the No. 98 retained the GTD season championship by 97 points over the No. 97, as the two Apex cars split the four race wins.
The four Apex drivers dominated the action in GTD from the word go. Only after the driver changeover did the two crews briefly drop down the field, but neither wasted any time making their way back to the front on fresh tires. Patrik Holzmann and Maximilian Benecke from BMW Team Redline came home a full 19 seconds behind the two Apex cars, who could only be separated when Race Control intervened at the end of the race.
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In the Touring Car class, the title went to Kieran Harrison and Corentin Guinez in the No. 176 SimRC Hyundai Elantra TC N with their runner-up race finish Sunday. They finished behind Gael Valero and Nicol Foggie in the No. 199 Apex Racing Team Hyundai. The No. 108 R8G Esports Honda Civic Type R shared by Florian Lebigre and Valentin Mandernach placed third in the race to wrap up second in the Touring Car standings.
Reactions from the overall winners:
Kevin Ellis Jr. (No. 98 Apex Racing Team, overall and GTD champion): “We did not expect it to go the way it did. We were expecting a hectic start. After the pit stop, we were pretty calm, even when we had to do the overtakes.”
Alejandro Sanchez (No. 98 Apex Racing Team, overall and GTD champion): “I am really happy. One of the best decisions I have ever made was to join the team. This win was definitely one of the highlights of the year. I think we really deserve this because we put a lot of effort into it.”
Kieran Harrison (No. 176 SimRC, Touring Car champion): “It was scary towards the end of the race. I think R8G Esports were trying to slow us down as much as possible. In the end, I was happy for Apex Racing Team to lead the race, as it meant R8G had to chase them. The overwhelming emotion on the line was relief.”
Corentin Guinez (No. 176 SimRC, Touring Car champion): “I was stressed and biting my nails after we changed drivers. I just tried to give Kieran some information to help him a bit. I guess it was even more stressful for him, but I am very happy that we got it done.”