Once again the Ardennes is the focus of international attention, particularly a thin sliver of asphalt snaking through the hills of Belgium. This ribbon of tarmac has seen champions born, and careers ended. Spa Francorchamps is regarded as one of the most challenging motor racing circuits in the world. Every year the Formula One circus descends on the fabled circuit for the Grand Prix of Belgium and GT competitors test themselves against each other and the circuit for the 24 Hours of Spa.
One of the premier laser-scanned tracks on iRacing, the digital Spa is also the scene of a virtual 2.4 hour race, Round Nine of the iRacing Road Warrior series.. This year the competition had a choice between the McLaren MP4 GT3, BMW Z4 GT3, and the RUF RT 12 Track. The new balance of performance was clearly evident, as the previously dominant BMW did not win a single top split.
At 1:00 GMT Saturday the first race launched, with 39 drivers taking the green flag in the top split. Aday Coba Lopez took the win in a RUF by a mere half a second over Jörn Jens in his McLaren. Yuta Saito garnered the last spot on the podium, and claimed the best BMW finish after swapping the lead with Lopez and Jens through pit cycles. Patrick Pilcher and Andreas Allmannsberger finished out the top five in McLarens. Attlia Papp Jr improved an impressive 17 spots from 25th to eight place in his RUF. Thomas Stockmans finished in tenth, but only had three incident points over the 61 laps.
Julian Rodriguez Moreno was victorious in the 20:00 GMT Saturday race, leading a RUF podium sweep. He also claimed the most points, as this was the highest SOF (Strength of Field) race of the weekend. Marcus Jirak took a distant second place trailing a minute and five seconds behind Moreno with Christiaan Tanahatoe six seconds behind Jirak to grab the final podium spot. Karel Vorechovsky was the top McLaren finishing fourth just ahead of Jens’ similar car. Jaroslav Honzik took the proverbial hard charger cake for the weekend, crossing the line in P11 his BMW after Honzik starting the race 36th.
Only one driver won a race in anything but a RUF, namely Ville Ojakoski who won Sunday’s 1:00 GMT race in the McLaren MP4 by a small margin. After 144 minutes of racing Ojakoski edged- out the BMW of Yuto Saito by only seven tenths of a second. Luis Rodriguez brought this BMW home third and set the fastest lap of a race that saw Tamás Szabó come home fourth as the the highest finishing RUF driver. Raffaele A Di Palo brought his BMW home fifth after starting in tenth, while Mauricio Lastres improved 21 spots in his BMW, finishing 13th from 34th on the grid.
Sunday’s weekend finale was won by Mack Bakkum in his RUF, with Alexander Voß and Egil Sandfeld completing another RUF podium sweep. Matthew Daniels and Mert Uzel rounded-out the top five in BMWs. Gerard van Langevelde started in 37th and improved to 13th place, claiming the largest gain in the field.
Next weekend whether by plane, train, or automobile we will make our way to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington Ohio for Round Ten of the Road Warriors series. This will be the first official week of competition for the Dallara DW-12 Indycar on iRacing, and it is shaping up to be a competitive and unpredictable weekend of sim racing. Don’t miss the action August first through the third in Ohio.