The iRacing GRAND-AM iRacing.com Online Sports Car Series headed to the virtual Watkins Glen for its seventh round of mixed class racing. The highly competitive online-racing series, open to members of the iRacing.com service, brought the digital-replica Riley MKXX Daytona Prototype and Ford Mustang FR500S to New York’s Finger Lakes region to race on the Cup configuration in one-hour length races.
Claiming the highest points score of the week in the top division of the iRacing GRAND-AM iRacing.com Online Sports Car Series, England’s Blake Townend brought home his Daytona Prototype for a relatively simple win, to firmly establish his overall third spot in the series. “I had a great start,” explained Townend, who has made it two weeks running at the top of weekly scores.
Second and third made contact early on so there wasn’t any pressure from behind. I was being cautious throughout the race and won it with no problems.”
The 211 points awarded Townend for his race victory sees him close the gap on the championship second position to 92 marks, as runner-up Jaro Honzik failed to make an appearance for Round Seven. With Honzik absent from proceedings, Wyatt Gooden extends his Division One lead to 217 points, with five rounds remaining and the worst four results still to be dropped from every entrant’s tally.
Stepping back into the lead of the Division Two, Henrik Carlsson’s top points score of the week places the Scandinavian in the overall number one spot of the divisional championship, a place he’s occupied for most of the season. After failing to secure a top five points position at Watkins Glen, Chris Buckley drops to second in the division, 30 points behind Carlsson and 22 ahead of John Payne.
A podium finish for Steven Rousseau in his solitary race of Round Seven, sees the American earn the plaudits with the highest score of the week, a result that moves him into the top five of Division Three. Despite dropping nearly 40 points on Rousseau at Watkins Glen, Matthew Davis continues to sit atop of the divisional standings, albeit by a slender margin of 16 marks over Ilker Estefania, who is a further 91 clear of Casey Jeszeck.
Tightening his grip on the Division Four of the iRacing GRAND-AM iRacing.com Online Sports Car Series’s Daytona Prototype competition, Kjell-Einar Svendsen continued his near-flawless record and took the highest divisional score of the week. Svendsen has been barely challenged all the season, which is reflected in the Scandinavian’s 198 point divisional lead ahead of Jacob Desmarais, and 428 points over Salvatore Rossi in third.
Unabated, the titanic battle for the top honours in Division Five continues, with Tyler A King stepping back to the pinnacle of the divisional standings, following his 121 point haul at Watkins Glen. The Michigan-based sim-racer has traded blows throughout the season with Damien Capelani, and the top points for King sees him back the the top with a four point margin as the championship heads to the Barber Motorsports Park for its next round.
A top five finish for Trae Forsythe sees the American top the Division Six Daytona Prototype standings for Round Seven, but being only his third week of racing in the iRacing GRAND-AM iRacing.com Online Sports Car series, the Mid-South based racer will need to attend all the remaining races to have any hopes of a overall high finish. Should Forsythe claw his way up the standings, he’ll have to deal with the likes of Todd Martelle and Robert Wachter who continue to head the division, separated by 78 points.
Jim Davey’s second place finish was enough to secure 91 points and the highest score of Division Seven, placing him fourth in the overall championship ahead of Brett Bullock. “I was placed third based on qualifying time, but dropped to fourth at the start because I was overly cautious at the beginning,” Davey shared this week. “Laps Four and Five saw two of the cars ahead of me wreck out, placing me in second. For the next few laps I tried to close in on the leader, but every time I would gain ground, I would lose-out big due to lap traffic. Eventually, I just settled in on maintaining consistent lap times.”
As the series heads towards its two-thirds mark, Scott Bennett continues to lead Division Seven, with a margin of 67 points from Samuel Shinakis who is a further 25 ahead of Marty Jefferies in the overall standings.
In Divisions Eight, Nine and Ten, the status-quo remains, with Don Davis (8), Sylvain Delpech (9) and Joshua Friedrichs (10) continuing to head their respective divisional championships.
Ford Mustang FR500S
With the highest points score of the week, Samu Snabb continues to head the iRacing GRAND-AM iRacing.com Online Sports Car Series Ford Mustang class, with a healthy 112 point margin over Marcus Jirak. The Scandinavian had been haemorrhaging points after a run of poor finishes, but Watkins Glen proved to be an ideal tonic for the championship leader.
“I just got lucky after few very disappointing weeks,” shared Snabb post race. “At the start the Mustang pole-sitter, Anthony Roselli and I side-swiped each other at Turn One as there were two Prototypes crashed in front of us. He spun out and caused more mayhem that collected every Mustang driver behind us except Marcus Wurm. I had a tough time to keep him behind me as my right-front corner had took some damage from contact to Roselli’s car. Luckily the Prototypes blazing past us played mostly to my favour and I got this very very lucky win.”
Maintaining his position at the pinnacle of Division Two, Chris Keogh has extended his lead over Matthieu Gagnon to 43 points after claiming the best divisional finish of the week at the Glen. The aforementioned Gagnon dropped 33 points on the leader in Week Seven, and now sees Steven McGarvey closing in on his overall second position.
Marking his first ever appearance in the iRacing GRAND-AM iRacing.com Online Sports Car Series, Tim Claessens secured the highest points total of the week in Division Three, with a finish on the top step on the podium. “This was my first Grand Am week, together with my first Mustang race and I really enjoyed it,”said the Belgian virtual-racer.
It’s a lot of fun dealing with the Prototypes and trying to manage your own race at the same time. I think I’ll be returning for the remaining weeks of the season!”
Matthew Davis continues to lead the overall divisional standings, ahead of Andrew Bakke, who has narrowed the gap to just 16 points.
Another Ford Mustang debutant blazing a trail of glory at Watkins Glen was Joe Selments, whose victory netted the American 109 points and the accolade of top points scorer in Division Four. As the series heads to Barber Motorsports Park for Round Eight, Tim Bamberger has maintained a small advantage in the overall standings, ahead of Jasper Groeneweg.
Sitting at the top of Division Five, Robert Lawrie further extends his lead, after the Englishman collected maximum points for the week. The Englishman now holds a 53 point advantage over Mike Nachtigal who is only two marks clear of Thomas Christian.
Making it two wins and two top points finishes in consecutive weeks, Paulo Ghibaudo now sits at the sharp end of Division Six, with a 13 point lead over early season favourite Alexander Khalkin. “I started in pole position and I saw a strange thing: All the other Mustang drivers will start from the pits. I think for the fear of Turn One with the Rileys on their backs!” wrote Ghibaudo this week. “ On the first lap, in Turn Two the Rileys had a big one but luckily I was able to maintain the control and to leave the accident behind me, unlike the other Mustangs who had stopped for the accident.
After this, my race was only against the overtaking of the Prototypes, which was all well done.”
With an average finish of third place across his four races at the Glen, Ryan Cowley earned finished top of the Division Seven charts to further extend his lead in the Mustang FR500S divisional class. Barely hanging onto his coat-tails, Brian Labode trails by 93 points, after the Englishman dropped 33 marks on Cowley.
Hal Kermite continues to dominate the fight for the Division Eight Championship, whilst Petr Lysec and Mike Hogg maintain the lead in Divisions Nine and Ten, after gaining their respective top spots in week six.