With the dust barely settled on its inaugural championship, the GRAND-AM iRacing.com Online Sports Car Series got its second season under-way with a visit to the virtual Watkins Glen Cup circuit. The mixed class online-racing series open to subscribers of the iRacing.com Motorsport Simulation service, brings the Riley MkXX Daytona Prototype and Ford Mustang FR500S back for 12 rounds of ‘mini endurance’ racing on millimetre precise renditions of some of the world’s greatest race tracks.
Becoming the first name to sit atop of the Daytona Prototype standings this season, Dennis Douna heads the top division and overall championships by a slender seven points. The European sim racer, who is making his début in the series this season, secured victory in his second race of the week to claim 216 points and a lead over Danny Engels at the Watkins Glen Cup layout. Although, Engels had beaten Douna on-track when he took an overall win earlier in the day, the “Strength of Field” points balancing meant he fell shy of the top spot. Although Matthijs Ottenhoff didn’t make the winners rostrum in the opening week of the GRAND-AM iRacing.com Online Sports Car Series, a pair of podium finishes puts the Benelux sim-racer in overall third position, and a handful of points off the lead.
In Division Two, Josh Berry leads the standings by a mere five points, after claiming 151 points from his five starts, which included an outright race victory at the virtual Glen. Chasing the shadow of Berry, Illinois-based Matt Bussa and Texan Trey Witherspoon share second position in the divisional standings, with the two Americans both claiming 146 points in the opening week of online racing.
With 140 points to his name, Carolina-based Niles Jones tops the Division Three standings ahead of Richard Hasenhuetl and Richie Davidowitz. The week’s top finish for Jones included an overall race victory and an average finish position of second from his four races. A pole-to-flag victory sees Stefan Plomitzer lead the Division Four Daytona Prototype standings by nine points over Joshua Gudorf on 101 marks. Gordoff sealed two wins in the opening week of the GRAND-AM online racing, giving the American a five point margin over his countryman Scott Heckert in the divisional third spot.
By the skin of his teeth, Massimiliano Biekar leads the Division Five standings by a single point. In fact the chasing pack of Reed Froehlich, Nate Perron, Mike Nachtigal and Edward Van Velsen are separated by a mere five points, as the championship heads to its second round at Virginia International Raceway. Conversely, Jordan Erikson has established a healthy 13 point lead over Chris Owens and Ron Hart in the battle for Division Six honours. A brace of top five finishes during the week’s racing at ‘The Glen’ sees European Benjamin Koch lead the seventh Division ahead of James Cathers, who sits seven points adrift, despite chalking-up an overall race victory. In Divisions eight, nine and ten, Gary Warren Ullrich (8), Edward Caranci (9), and Marc Docteur (10) carry slender advantages over their divisional foes, after securing top scores in their respective Daytona Prototype championships.
Ford Mustang FR500S
Dennis Grebe took ‘first blood’ in Division One of the GRAND-AM iRacing.com Sports Car Series Ford Mustang class, to head the overall standings by 20 points, ahead of current champion Scott Michaels. In his solitary race of the week, Grebe claimed 208 points as a result of a class victory, whilst Michaels secured a “mere” 188 marks for his win against a weaker field. Just two points behind the erstwhile champion, Paulo Valente earned his overall third position with a ‘pole-to-flag’ class win at the digital version of the Watkins Glen Cup Circuit.
Continuing where he left off from his first season in virtual GRAND-AM competition, Alexander Khalkin sits atop of the Division Two table with a 17 point advantage over Tyler A. King. Despite a big promotion up the series ladder following his outright Division Six championship last season — which saw him move all the way up to the second division — Khalkin was still able to post the division’s highest score of 169 points for the week.
The top five of Division Three all took class victories during the week of racing at Watkins Glen, but by virtue of the Strength of Field system balancing the points assigned, Billy Smith II was awarded the honour of the divisional lead in front of Lance Snyder, Jeffrey Moyer, Alex Gomes and Alexandre Fornieles. Likewise, the leading duo of Marc Bechmann and Jim Davey claimed victories at the virtual ‘Glen’ to occupy first and second respectively in the Division Four of the Ford Mustang standings.
Not content with his top four position in Division Five of the Daytona Prototype standings, Mike Nachtigal also made several outings in the opening week of the Championship in the Ford Mustang FR500S. With a pair of class victories from his three starts, the American now heads the division with a five point margin over John Andrade III and Tom Czarny. As the only driver to secure a class victory in Division Six, Ron Hart carries a single point advantage over Paul Bujnowski with the series heading to ViR for Round Two.
Dustin Peterson (7), Evgeny M. Garanin (8), Michael Hogg (9) and Trevor Hill (10) all carry healthy leads in their respective Ford Mustang divisional championships following the opening week of the GRAND-AM iRacing.com Sports Car Series and look to maintain their advantage as they head to the Piedmont region of the country for a date with Virgina International Raceway.