This week witnessed the premier of the Premier GRAND-AM iRacing.com Online Sports Car Series, a 10 round championship spread across 26 weeks featuring the digital versions of the Riley MkXX Daytona Prototype and the Ford Mustang FR500S on millimeter-accurate virtual versions of most of the tracks on the GRAND-AM Rolex Series calendar. The championship is open to subscribers of the iRacing.com Motorsport Simulation service, who are all battling to get their hands on some serious prize money and a VIP trip to the final round of the GRAND-AM Rolex Series at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 28.
Establishing himself as one of the first two leaders of the Premier GRAND-AM iRacing.com Online Sports Car Series, John Mallia sits atop of the Daytona Prototype standings after claiming a victory from his second race of the week on the Homestead B configuration circuit. The New York sim racer achieved maximum points by clawing his way from fourth position on the grid to the front of the pack to take the chequered flag from New Englander Jacob Desmarais by 2.872s. Mallia earned 146 points for his efforts, giving him an opening week advantage of six marks.
Chasing the championship leader, Dutch sim-racer Andras Kiraly, German Richard Hasenhuetl, Desmarais and European Norbi Kiss also claimed race wins this weekend, resulting in the top five competitors spread over a slender 16 points. Although Iker Estefania failed to make it to the top step of the virtual-Homestead podium, the Iberian did take a second place finish behind Kiraly in his final race of the week, which was enough to secure the Iberian sixth position overall in the standings on 131 points. Similarly, Ken Leach was the only other virtual-racer in the top ten who failed to secure a mark in the win column, placing him seventh overall, a mere 18 points off the series lead.
Whilst Wyatt Gooden scored a perfect 100% success rate, with two wins from as many starts, the multiple iRacing.com champion and 2010 SCCA VW Jetta TDi Cup Rookie of the year did so against a relatively weaker field. Thus the the Ohio-based racer netted 127 points for the week to occupy eighth position in the standings. Equalling Gooden’s points tally, Danny Engels shares a slender single digit advantage over Stephane Schodduyn in tenth spot.
With two podium finishes, including a win to his name, Dylan Sharman established himself as the early championship leader in the Ford Mustang FR500S class of the Premier GRAND-AM iRacing.com Online Sports Car Series. The antipodean’s haul of 177 points at the Homestead-Miami circuit gives Sharman a 16 point margin over Norbert Rebelski as the series heads to Round Two. Rebelski also claimed in victory in one of his first round races, placing the Polish sim-racer ahead of Hungary’s Daniel Sinka, who is a further 12 marks behind in the overall standings.
A comfortable pole-to-flag win in his only race of the week sees Dave Gelink occupy third in the championship table, with the Dutchman carrying a slender three point margin over Corey Slade. Just a single point behind Slade, American Jason Lisner earned 140 points from his pair of class victories, whilst fellow online racers David Graulty, Mike Young and Ohioan Brian Strodtbeck all claimed 136 points, each with a Ford Mustang class win to their names at the Homestead ‘roval.’ Four drivers currently find themselves in a tie the tenth spot, with Dustin Peterson, Evan Maillard, Antony Roselli and current GRAND-AM Online Mustang Champion Scott Michaels all earning 134 points at Homestead.
Round Two of the mixed class Premier GRAND-AM iRacing.com Online Sports Car Series heads to Barber Motorsports Park where the standings can be expected to begin the inevitable “shake-out” process.