Munich. In the third BMW SIM 120 Cup race of the season on the virtual Nürburgring (GER), two more drivers secured their tickets to participate in the BMW SIM Live Event at the end of the year. Laurin Heinrich and Alexander Voß (both GER) celebrated victory in the #089 BMW M8 GTE, claiming prize money of 1,200 US dollars each. After two hours of racing, second place went to Kay Kaschube and Nils Koch (GER), who completed the one-two result for the BS+COMPETITION team and won 600 US dollars each.
In a repeat of events at the fourth race in the Digital Nürburgring Endurance Series powered by VCO a few weeks ago, the order in which the team-mates would finish only became clear on the final lap. Maximilian Benecke (GER) and Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen (NED) from Team Redline finished in third place. BMW works drivers Bruno Spengler (CAN) and Philipp Eng (AUT) claimed 16th place for ZF BMW Team.
The BMW SIM 120 Cup on the Nürburgring Grand Prix circuit featured 46 teams competing just in the top split. This saw the drivers with the best overall ratings battling for victory on the iRacing platform in a competition that featured Romain Grosjean (FRA) as the second Formula 1 driver alongside Verstappen. There were more races within the race, referred to as splits. The BMW Junior Team appeared in one of these splits for starters with lower ratings. Dan Harper (GBR) and Neil Verhagen (USA) shared a BMW M8 GTE, while Max Hesse (GER) enjoyed the support of former BMW Motorsport Junior and current BMW works driver Erik Johansson (SWE).
Heinrich and Voß were able to secure pole position after a close-fought qualifying session in the top split. They were able to defend thar position until just a few minutes from the end. However, Voß then had to let Koch pass in the #7 BMW M8 GTE after sliding out. Koch then received a ‘slow down’ penalty after putting all four wheels off the track when driving through the NGK chicane for the penultimate time. That allowed Voß to pull level with his team-mate once again and regain the lead on the first turn of the final lap of the race.
The result means that Voß and Heinrich are the third duo to confirm their participation in the BMW SIM Live 2020 event. Benecke, Maximilian Wenig (GER), Josh Rogers (AUS) and Mitchell deJong (USA) had already booked their BMW SIM 120 Cups tickets at Daytona and Sebring (both USA).
Spengler secured a superb sixth place on the grid for the #25 BMW M8 GTE from the ZF BMW team. However, he was then involved in two collisions early in the race, which pushed him back down the field and damaged his car. Eng took over driving duties at the halfway point of the race, crossing the finishing line in 16th place. In addition to the two BMW works drivers, Beitske Visser (NED) was also competing in the main race. Driving alongside Florian Woithe (GER), she crossed the line in 31st place for the Williams JIM Esports team.
As the year progresses, three further BMW SIM 120 Cup races will give drivers the opportunity to secure their places on the grid for BMW SIM Live 2020. They will take place at the circuits of Spa-Francorchamps (BEL, 5th July), Road Atlanta (USA, 20th September) and Interlagos (BRA, 8th November).
Reactions to the BMW SIM 120 Cup at the Nürburgring:
Alexander Voß (#089 BMW M8 GTE, BS+COMPETITION, 1st place): “My heart was really racing when I made that error just before the end but then Nils made a similar mistake in the same chicane and I was able to get past and claim the victory. I am delighted to be competing at BMW SIM Live. That is much more important to us than the prize money. We worked really well with our team-mates Kay and Nils during preparations for this race and we found the perfect set-up.”
Laurin Heinrich (#089 BMW M8 GTE, BS+COMPETITION, 1st place): “Claiming that ticket for BMW SIM Live is also the most important aspect of today’s win for me. I finished second at last year’s finale, just missing out on the win, which means I have some unfinished business with the event. Just like in the last DNLS race, the final phase of this event was really dramatic for us and our team-mates. Alexander reacted very well after his incident to prevent a 360-degree spin. That meant that he only lost a few seconds and was able to regain first place at the finish.”
Philipp Eng (#25 BMW M8 GTE, ZF BMW Team, 16th place): “Firstly, congratulations to our team-mates from BS+COMPETITION on their one-two result in such a competitive race. Bruno also deserves praise for beating so many professional sim racers in qualifying to claim sixth place on the grid. Unfortunately, those early incidents in the race put paid to any chances we may have had of securing a top finish. The race went well for me after the car had some quick repairs during the pit stop. However, 16th place was the best we could do. As mentor for the BMW Junior team, I am also happy that the guys were able to compete against some strong competition in their split to gain some more experience.”
Bruno Spengler (#25 BMW M8 GTE, ZF BMW Team, 16th place): “My qualifying lap was really great. It felt good to claim sixth place when competing against some of the best sim racers in the world but it was an unbelievably close-run thing. Just one or two tenths of a second slower would have seen me in 15th. The level of competition in the BMW SIM 120 Cups really is unbelievably high. We had a perfect set-up for our BMW M8 GTE. Congratulations to BS+COMPETITON on their win. Unfortunately, I was hit from behind twice during the race and the car suffered quite a bit of damage. When you consider everything that happened to us, we can be pretty pleased with finishing 16th. In any case, it was great fun.”