A visit to the Daytona International Speedway road course was on tap for the virtual Ford Mustangs and Riley MkXX Prototypes in Week Two of the GRAND-AM iRacing.com Online Sports Car Series; the GRAND-AM sanctioned, online racing championship, open to anyone with a PC, steering wheel/pedal set and a subscription to the iRacing.com service.
With each of the cars competing in its own championship and the virtual drivers average of their best 50% of results counting towards their divisional scores, the series offers a true sense of the challenges faced by the real life counterparts of the GRAND-AM roster with multi-class racing on tracks reproduced with millimetre precision.
Riley Mk XX Daytona Prototypes
Securing the top points of the week, Wyatt Gooden took two wins from as many starts, to earn 245 points, enough to place the American at the top of the Division One standings table. The 2010 SCCA Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup Rookie of the Year, who is aiming to attack the real life GRAND-AM championship next year, overcame an early scare in his toughest race of the week to take top marks.
“Racing at Daytona is always a blast, there’s lots of opportunities for passing which guarantees great racing,” said the Ohio-based sim racer this week. “I had an unfortunate incident in the beginning with Danny Engels that was completely my fault, but otherwise a really enjoyable race once again; I especially enjoyed getting to share some track time with Eric Foss and Jordan Taylor, as they are a couple of guys I could be mixing it up with next year for real.”
Despite the incident with Gooden, Germany’s Engels was able to recover and take the chequered flag in the runners-up spot, a result that awarded him the second highest points tally of the week and maintained his position in the pinnacle division’s top five. Although Kenneth O’Keefe took a victory in his second race of the week, his 221 championship points came from a podium finish behind the aforementioned Gooden and Engels. With the ‘Strength of Field’ factor heavily weighting his score, however, third place was enough to retain his position in the overall standings, just 13 points from the Division One leader.
Another online-racer scoring his highest total of the week on the Daytona ‘Roval’ with a fourth place finish behind Gooden was England’s Blake Townend. Like O’Keefe, Townend also took a class win in another race against a weaker field. Thus he collected fewer points for his victory than for a top five in the week’s ghighest rated “split.” A pole-to-flag Riley Daytona Prototype win for Hans Fredrik Follestad gave the Scandinavian 209 points – the fifth highest of the week – which was enough to promote him to sixth in the GRAND-AM iRacing Sports Car Challenge standings table.
Putting-in the top performance of the week in Division Two of the championship, Keegan Lunsford breezed to a flag-to-flag win in his solitary race of the week, securing the Florida-based sim-racer 151 points. That was ten more than Ronnie Akesson, whose top five finish in his 48 lap race, pipped Iberia’s Pedro Melim to the runners-up position in this week’s divisional total. The result for Akesson promotes him to an overall second position in Division Two, 39 points off the leader, Henrick Carlsson.
Continuing to sit atop of the Division Three standings is Casey Jeszeck, who took the third highest total behind South American Felipe Penna, and Massachusetts’ Steven Rousseau who is now a divisional third overall, nine points from Iker Estefania.
After taking the highest points total of the week for the Division Four Riley Prototype roster with a fifth place finish on the virtual Daytona, Kjell-Einar Svendsen moves in the top spot of the division standings. In Division Five, Tyler A King continues to lead the way, whilst Ed DeVoe (D6), Scott Bennett (D7), James Wallace (D8), William Stroh (D9) and Joshua Friedrichs (D10), have all become new leaders in their respective divisions.
Ford Mustang FRS500
With a brace of Ford Mustang FR500S class wins under his belt, Ilkka Kotisalo strode his way into the GRAND-AM iRacing.com Online Sports Car Series top five standings, after collecting the week’s top score at Daytona. The Scandinavian’s 211 points, saw him pip fellow countryman Samu Snabb by just four marks. However, Snabb also took a class victory and the second highest total of the week, which places him firmly at the top of the Ford Mustang Division One standings.
After taking three wins from as many starts, Marcus Jirak is hot on the heels of Snabb in the championship fight just 40 points behind. However, the European will be looking over his shoulder at New Jersey’s Anthony Roselli who is a slender 19 marks away after a flag-to-flag victory in his lone race on the Daytona road course. Paying the price of Jirak’s, Roselli’s and Koisalo’s charge up the standings is Brian Strodtbeck, who finds himself on the cusp of the top five, despite taking a class victory during the seven days of online-racing.
Maintaining his steely grip on the FR500S Division Two standings, Mathieu Gagnon claimed the third highest total of the week, with a toughly fought victory 39 lap race. The honour of the division’s top points earner at Daytona fell to Chris Keogh, with the Illinois-based entrant’s 167 haul placing him in the shadow of Gagnon in the championship.
Four top five finishes for Dimitar Stefanov sees him leave Week Two with the Division Three lead still in his pocket, and by a greater gap than before. The 114 points Stefanov claimed sees his lead increase to 29 over Nick Neben, who gathered up 107 marks for his podium finish. Another online-racer sustaining his divisional superiority is American Tim Bamburger, who despite collecting the fifth highest total of the week, was able to continue his role as Division Four’s ‘top dog,’ 21 points ahead of Rick Hardin.
Divisions Five, Six and Seven of the GRAND-AM iRacing.com Online Sports Car Challenge sees new faces at the top, with Robert Lowerie, Alexander Khalkin and Brian Labode now leading their respective divisional title fights. Mike Oppenheimer’s position at the top of Division Eight remains unchanged, whilst Lance Nassier and Chris Carter both moved into the lead on Divisions Nine and Ten.