Porsche Carerra Cup racer Phillip Eng drove his Chevy Impala and McLaren MP4-12C GT3 to a convincing in in last night’s iRacing.com Pro Race of Champions. The Austrian parlayed a third place finish in the opening online race of the contest at Iowa Speedway with a dominant win in the nightcap at iRacing’s virtual Circuit Gilles Villeneuve to top Peter Dempsey (Indy Lights) and Timmy Hill (NASCAR) in the aggregate standings.
The iRacing Pro Race of Champions enables racers from different disciplines around the world to compete against one another online. The inaugural event was won by NASCAR K&N West driver Brandon Davis, while last year saw V8 Supercar standout Shane van Gisbergen take the top prize. Eng’s victory not only makes three different nationalities to take top honors in the event, he represents the third very different discipline to emerge victorious in the all star event.
“It was a great event and a lot of fun.” — Philipp Eng
Eng wasn’t the only winner last night. iRacing.com will make a $2500 donation to his favorite charity – the Christiane Herzog Foundation which focuses on treatment, care and research for those suffering from cystic fibrosis.
“The Christiane Herzog Stiftung has been a partner in my racing,’ said Eng. “With their help, last year we were able to bring four or five kids to all my races and enjoy themselves.”
The opening round of the evening saw Hill jump to an early lead over former NASCAR Sprint Cup/Formula One driver Scott Speed, with Ryan Truex (NASCAR), Nick Tandy (Porsche Carerra Cup Asia) and Eng in hot pursuit. Hill and Speed would strike trouble – or rather trouble would strike them in the form of wayward lapped traffic – as they crashed out of the race. Truex assumed a lead he would keep to the finish, fending-off a bold last lap bid from Tandy who fell just .023s short of the victory with Eng taking third from Parker Kligerman (NASCAR) and Tommy Milner (ALMS/Grand-Am).
The racers quickly reassembled on Montreal’s Ille de Notre Dame for a ten lap race of Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in their McLaren MP4-12C-GT3s. Eng got the better of Truex on the start, then took advantage of some first lap carnage to establish a comfortable lead over Truex, Patrick Dempsey, Milner and Chris Dymond (Porsche Carerra Cup Great Britain). Truex and Dymond would get together in the famed “Wall of Champions” leaving Dempsey to lead the pursuit of Eng. Although Dempsey managed to whittle the leader’s advantage to less than five seconds at one point, Eng crossed the line comfortably in front while Milner held onto third despite Speed’s great charge from the back of the field.
“It was a great event and a lot of fun,” said Eng. “I have to thank my coaches Matthias (Reuner) and Robin (Mundhenk). The key was qualifying well for the first race. Then I got a little lucky when the two guys (Hill and Speed) ahead crashed, but you have to have a little luck in racing. At Montreal, once I got in the lead it was just a matter of being cautious as it’s easy to make a mistake there, and just pay attention to the gap to second place.”