Over the last 12 weeks, we have been watching an intense battle on virtual race tracks around the world, as the first ever SCCA Spec Racer Ford Challenge Presented by the Skip Barber Racing School ran its course on the popular iRacing.com online racing simulator.
Larry MacLeod took an early lead in the opening weeks, keeping it until Zachary Le Vey caught up. They swapped the lead back and forth several times until Le Vey began to pull away to a lead that lasted until mid-season.
But the race wasn’t over: Tommy Bordeaux made a run for the top and, in a matter of a few races, toppled the entire podium as he worked his way into first place, with MacLeod right behind and soon back to second.
There was another upset brewing, though, as Paul Darling began his own ascent. In the final three weeks, Darling climbed from deep in the top five to the top step of the podium and holding on to become the very first online SCCA Spec Racer Ford Challenge champion.
For his win, Darling gets an entry to the Skip Barber 3-Day Racing School.
Darling has been an active SCCA flag marshal for a number of years, and is glad to be able to jump into racing alongside many of his peers.
“Naturally, I am very excited to squeak out a close win in the championship,” Darling said after being informed of his winning effort. “It is great to see the SCCA jumping into sim racing esports. I don’t think it could have gotten much closer at the end there with the point differential between Tommy and I.
“I hope the series continues to grow with the SCCA’s continued involvement.”
Asked what it was like to win an SCCA championship as a flag marshal, Darling replied, “Flaggers can drive well, too! Honestly, though, whether you’re a flagger or a regular SCCA competitor, iRacing is another outlet for competition. I don’t think winning this virtual series would feel any different if I had years of on-track experience.”
More than 300 drivers registered to support the new Skip Barber School-backed iRacing series.
“The SCCA has been around for 75 years, but to continue relevance across the next 75, we must continue to grow and evolve,” said Michael Cobb, SCCA president and CEO. “With this effort, we are excited to be actively participating in the digital future of motorsports — and even more excited that our first winner also happens to be an active SCCA flag marshal. We can’t think of a better way to kick off our new series.”