Munich. “Super Sim Saturday”, which featured three major sim racing events, was a successful one for BMW works drivers. In the “IMSA Sebring SuperSaturday” race, Bruno Spengler (CAN), Nick Catsburg (NED) and Jesse Krohn (FIN) claimed a one-two-three in the virtual MOTUL BMW M8 GTE. In the second staging of “THE RACE All-Stars Esports Battle”, Philipp Eng (AUT) and Maximilian Günther (GER) produced impressive performances to progress to the “Grand Final”. Meanwhile, Martin Tomczyk, Jens Klingmann (both GER), Dan Harper (GBR) and Neil Verhagen (USA) lined up in the BMW Z4 GT3, sporting a special “#STAYHOME” livery at the digital season-opener in the Nürburgring Endurance Series.
“IMSA Sebring SuperSaturday”: One-two-three for the BMW M8 GTE.
After the MOTUL BMW M8 GTE took victory on the real racetrack at the 24 Hours of Daytona (USA) in January, it was the turn of the virtual version of the car to taste success at “Sebring International Raceway”. Bruno Spengler won the 90-minute race on the iRacing sim racing platform, and was followed home by fellow BMW works drivers Nick Catsburg and Jesse Krohn. The three cars bore the hashtag #STAYHOME. In total, the grid included 20 BMW M8 GTE although BMW Team RLL driver Colton Herta (USA) was unable to start due to a technical issue. Pole position went to BMW M Customer Racing driver, Robby Foley (USA), whose BMW M8 GTE bore the Turner Motorsport livery. He failed to finish the race.
“THE RACE All-Stars Esports Battle”: Both BMW works drivers in the final.
BMW works drivers Philipp Eng and Maximilian Günther both impressed at the second staging of “THE RACE All-Stars Esports Battle”, which was this time held on the virtual Grand Prix circuit at Indianapolis (USA). They finished third and fifth in one of the two qualifying races for professional racing drivers. This was good enough to see them qualify directly for the “Grand Final”, which featured the best professional drivers and sim racers. Günther came home 10th in the final. Eng was also on course for a top-10 finish for much of the race, but dropped back to 13th after receiving a penalty.
NLS: Seven BMW Z4 GT3 at virtual season-opener.
Race one of “Super Sim Saturday” was also the virtual opening round of the Nürburgring Endurance Series. The four-hour race on the Nordschleife featured a field of more than 50 cars, including seven BMW Z4 GT3s. Among those in action were BMW works drivers Martin Tomczyk and Jens Klingmann (both GER), as well as BMW Junior Team members Dan Harper (GBR) and Neil Verhagen (USA). They were all making their debut in a GT3 car in a major sim race, and performed well against a strong line-up of sim racers. Tomczyk and Klingmann finished 12th, while Harper and Verhagen came home 17th. The two BMW Z4 GT3s were sporting a special design, featuring the hashtag #STAYHOME.
Reactions to “Super Sim Saturday”:
Bruno Spengler (BMW Team Red, #25 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE, 1st place): “I actually had goosebumps as I crossed the finish line. I am delighted with the victory, as that was a really tough race. Nicky was very quick and put me under pressure the whole time. Generally speaking, I must say that sim racing is really demanding. I have the utmost respect for the sim pros. Thank you very much to the IMSA for organising such a great event in such difficult times.”
Nick Catsburg (BMW Team Red, #26 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE, 2nd place): “The race was really very intense. I felt just like I would in a real IMSA race. I was possibly even a little more nervous before qualifying. Despite this, I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I made a small mistake which allowed Bruno to overtake me. However, he was extremely quick and fully deserved to win.”
Jesse Krohn (BMW Team Black, #24 MOTUL BMW M8 GTE, 3rd place): “I am pleased with the strong displays of the BMW drivers, and for the fans: at least we were able to put on a good virtual show for them in Sebring. Thank you to iRacing and IMSA for this event.”
Maximilian Günther, 10th place: “That was a very good evening for me. I am very happy with my performance and the results in such a top-class field. I am still very much a beginner when it comes to sim racing. However, the races have made me hungry for more. In these times, they provide the perfect opportunity to stay in race mode.”
Philipp Eng, 13th place: “The race was great fun. I had good pace in the final, but unfortunately dropped out of the top ten as a result of a penalty. The distraction that comes with being able to race from home is extremely valuable.”
Jens Klingmann (#112 BMW Z4 GT3, 12th place): “I am very happy with my sim racing debut. Pretty much everything was new to me, and the standard is extremely high in sim racing. Given all that, I think 12th place is a good result. Martin Tomczyk was a great team-mate, with whom I will be happy to drive alongside more often from now on. Sim racing is really the best possible alternative for us racing drivers in the present situation – and for the fans, who I would like to thank for the interest they have shown in our virtual race.”
Martin Tomczyk (#112 BMW Z4 GT3, 12th place): “It is fantastic to go racing again! Even though it was a virtual event, it really set my racing driver pulse racing. The standard of the competition is incredibly high, and the racing is astonishingly close to the real thing. Bearing in mind that this was our first race together, it worked out well with Jens Klingmann and me. We had a few minor teething problems – including with the amount of fuel, which ultimately cost us a top-ten result. All in all, however, it was great fun.”
Neil Verhagen (#113 BMW Z4 GT3, 17th place): “That was a really exciting experience with an extremely steep learning curve. Unfortunately, the odd mistake here or there kept costing us time, which was eventually shown in the result. However, Dan and I gained a lot of experience, which will help us in the next sim race and, hopefully, in the first real race on the Nordschleife.”
Dan Harper (#113 BMW Z4 GT3, 17th place): “That was hard work, but also great fun. We had a few minor incidents on the track and also lost ground quite a lot of ground in the pit lane as a result of time penalties. However, our raw pace was pretty good. I think we could aim for a top-10 result, if we were able to start the race again and avoid some of our driving errors. As such, I am already really looking forward to the next race. I think, with the experience we gained, we will do much better.”