DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – When BMW Motorsport unveiled its plans for IMSA Sebring SuperSaturday on Friday morning, one point was crystal clear:  the German manufacturer was taking the iRacing event seriously.

“I was nervous! It’s definitely real racing. I was sweating a lot.” – Bruno Spengler

P90386242 Highres Munich Ger 20th Marc
BMW’s factory drivers in today’s iRacing event

It came as no surprise, then, that three of the manufacturer’s entries swept the top three positions in the 90-minute race on the virtual, 3.74-mile Sebring International Raceway, led by Canadian racer Bruno Spengler in the Motul-sponsored No. 25 BMW Team Red M8 GTE.

Spengler, who is embarking on his first full IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season this year in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class, took the lead from teammate Nicky Catsburg in the No. 26 BMW in Turn 7 five minutes into the race and stayed out front the rest of the way. He crossed the stripe 3.172 seconds ahead of Catsburg’s similarly liveried No. 26 machine to get the victory.

“It’s very special, because starting the race event, you feel the pressure building up,” Spengler said. “Between qualifying and the start, I was nervous! It’s definitely real racing. I was sweating a lot. Nicky was pushing a lot.

Vajzadja
Spengler’s BMW M8 GTE taking the checkered and the
Super Saturday Victory

“We have to underline the fact IMSA organized this event with so many incredible cars and drivers at Sebring. It’s safer for everyone to stay home and do the best we can to entertain and still race. Thanks to all involved for setting this up. Passing start/finish, I had goosebumps. I was almost screaming on the radio!

“But I had my dog and wife sitting next to me as I was racing. Normally they are far away. Thanks to BMW and everyone involved.”

Catsburg claimed the lead on the opening lap from yet another BMW – the No. 96 Turner Motorsport machine qualified on pole by Robby Foley – and it became immediately clear that the pair of red BMWs were joining forces to pull away. And that they did, quickly building a healthy margin over the rest of the field.

Catsburg made a slight bobble going into Turn 7, which was all Spengler needed to grab the lead. But neither one of the BMW Team Red cars put a wheel wrong the rest of the way.

P90386241 Highres Munich Ger 20th Marc
BMW Drivers from IMSA Super Saturday led by Jesse Krohn

“I had a couple days of practice with Bruno and Jesse,” Catsburg said. “BMW has been upping its game when it comes to sim racing. It’s so cool to come back with a 1-2-3. To give you a sense how big this was, I just got a message from Jens Marquardt, who is the BMW motorsports director. He was watching. It shows the importance of this event. Maybe it is helping us – and I really enjoyed it.”

Third place went to the third factory BMW in the field, the No. 24 BMW Team Black M8 GTE driven by 2020 Rolex 24 At Daytona winner Jesse Krohn. A second BMW Team Black entry, the No. 23 expected to be driven by IndyCar standout and 2019 Rolex 24 At Daytona winner Colton Herta, did not make the race due to connectivity issues.

Krohn took third place from Sage Karam in the No. 8 Porsche 911 RSR with just over an hour remaining and preserved the BMW podium sweep, finishing 11.746 seconds behind the winner.

“Today I couldn’t match the pace of Bruno and Nicky,” Krohn said. “I pushed as hard as I could. By the time I found some pace it was too little, too late. It was a great experience. It was good to have this on the mind given what else is happening in the world. This has been good for IMSA fans; the feedback has been super good.”

Mirko 3
Bortolotti’s No. 888 Porsche 911 RSR

Karam – a highly rated competitor on iRacing and former Lexus RC F GT3 driver in the WeatherTech Championship – wound up fourth in the No. 9, finishing 36.659 seconds behind the winner. Mirko Bortolotti, a 2019 GTD class winner at both the Rolex 24 At Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts, came home fifth in the No. 888 Porsche.

Foley was the only other driver to lead the race, which he did for the first three corners, but an opening-lap incident removed him from contention.

IMSA Sebring SuperSaturday on iRacing Results

Fin.

St.

No.

Driver

Car

Laps

Led

Interval

Best

1 3 25 Bruno Spengler BMW M8 GTE 46 34 0 1:57.056
2 2 26 Nicky Catsburg BMW M8 GTE 46 12 -3.171 1:57.070
3 5 24 Jesse Krohn BMW M8 GTE 46 0 -11.746 1:57.218
4 4 8 Sage Karam Porsche 911 RSR 46 0 -36.688 1:57.455
5 9 888 Mirko Bortolotti Porsche 911 RSR 46 0 -40.412 1:57.706
6 8 63 Kenton Koch Porsche 911 RSR 46 0 -48.17 1:57.749
7 10 86 Shinya Michimi Porsche 911 RSR 46 0 -53.604 1:58.048
8 13 7 Daniel Morad Porsche 911 RSR 46 0 -1:12.848 1:58.158
9 19 85 Tristan Vautier BMW M8 GTE 46 0 -1:20.405 1:58.337
10 11 33 Gabby Chaves BMW M8 GTE 46 0 -1:36.855 1:58.035
11 26 102 Daniel Clarke Porsche 911 RSR 46 0 -1:37.716 1:58.079
12 15 95 Tom O’Gorman BMW M8 GTE 46 0 -1:47.900 1:57.671
13 12 101 Corey Lewis Porsche 911 RSR 46 0 -1:56.119 1:58.046
14 24 47 Benjamin Waddell Porsche 911 RSR 45 0 -1 L 1:58.019
15 20 54 Dakota Dickerson Porsche 911 RSR 45 0 -1 L 1:58.227
16 17 31 Felipe Nasr BMW M8 GTE 45 0 -1 L 1:57.911
17 22 103 Filipe Albuquerque Porsche 911 RSR 45 0 -1 L 1:57.915
18 23 198 Michael Lewis6 BMW M8 GTE 45 0 -1 L 1:58.224
19 31 108 Nico Rondet Ferrari 488 GTE 45 0 -1 L 1:58.944
20 42 69 Jeffrey Segal Ferrari 488 GTE 45 0 -1 L 1:59.325
21 46 67 Dalton Kellett Ford GT GTE 45 0 -1 L 1:59.851
22 29 9 Gregory Liefooghe Ford GT GTE 44 0 -2 L 1:59.226
23 44 81 Seth Thomas BMW M8 GTE 44 0 -2 L 2:00.145
24 45 40 James pesek Ford GT GTE 42 0 -4 L 2:00.785
25 30 98 Mason Filippi BMW M8 GTE 42 0 -4 L 2:00.433
26 18 76 Paul Holton Porsche 911 RSR 39 0 -7 L 1:58.390
27 38 106 Michael Johnson21 Porsche 911 RSR 38 0 -8 L 2:00.347
28 37 16 Ryan Hardwick Porsche 911 RSR 37 0 -9 L 2:04.047
29 25 18 Santino Ferrucci BMW M8 GTE 35 0 -11 L 1:59.553
30 33 82 Tyler Cooke BMW M8 GTE 34 0 -12 L 1:59.518
31 28 107 Nicholas Boulle Porsche 911 RSR 32 0 -14 L 2:00.757
32 34 19 Parker Chase BMW M8 GTE 29 0 -17 L 1:59.277
33 39 110 Jeroen Bleekemolen Porsche 911 RSR 26 0 -20 L 2:01.040
34 43 55 Harry Tincknell Ford GT GTE 22 0 -24 L 1:58.897
35 41 43 Stevan McAleer BMW M8 GTE 21 0 -25 L 1:58.519
36 35 32 James Vance Porsche 911 RSR 13 0 -33 L 1:59.469
37 21 17 Alex Premat BMW M8 GTE 12 0 -34 L 2:00.745
38 6 14 Richard Heistand Porsche 911 RSR 11 0 -35 L 1:58.081
39 36 105 Mark Wilkins Porsche 911 RSR 10 0 -36 L 2:02.296
40 7 15 Sebastian Priaulx Ford GT GTE 8 0 -38 L 1:57.708
41 14 109 Richard Westbrook Ford GT GTE 8 0 -38 L 1:58.426
42 32 79 Roman DeAngelis Porsche 911 RSR 6 0 -40 L 2:00.235
43 40 104 Mark Allen9 Porsche 911 RSR 4 0 -42 L
44 27 169 Harold Gottsacker IV BMW M8 GTE 1 0 -45 L
45 1 96 Robby Foley BMW M8 GTE 1 0 -45 L
46 16 27 Jarett Andretti Porsche 911 RSR 1 0 -45 L
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