IMSA’s first organized iRacing event was dominated by the factory BMW GT Le Mans team as Canada’s Bruno Spengler ruled the 90-minute virtual Sebring SuperSaturday race.
The field of 46 drivers took the start using BMWs, Fords, Porsches and Ferraris from the GTLM class, and within moments, polesitter Robby Foley of Turner Motorsport found himself embroiled in contact which dropped the BMW M8 GTE to the back of the field and a swift exit from the event.
The rest of the GT Daytona race winner’s company soon filled the head of the field, BMW factory driver Bruno Spengler moving from third to first where he led former BMW teammate (now a Corvette Racing factory man) Nicky Catsburg and Jesse Krohn in a thorough stomping that gave the German brand a dominant 1-2-3 finish.
Spengler’s 3.172s margin of victory over Catsburg represented a wider gap than the two held for a fair portion of the race; Krohn was 11.746s back.
Fourth-placed NTT IndyCar Series driver Sage Karam (+36.689s) was the leading light for Porsche, while double Rolex 24 At Daytona GT Daytona class winner Mirko Bortolotti (+40.413s) completed the top 5 in another Porsche.
“It’s great to organize such an event,” Spengler said. “It’s amazing for IMSA to organize something like this. When I crossed start/finish, it felt real. I have goosebumps from this. It’s a whole team result. I’m sweating, but I really enjoyed it.”
Catsburg lamented an error that turned his front row start next to Foley into second on the road.
“I made a mistake and Bruno was the stronger man today,” he said. “This was so much fun today and I never mind losing to Bruno.”
At its peak, IMSA’s SuperSaturday iRacing event had more than 8500 viewers on YouTube, and on Twitch, 2000-plus fans followed the virtual version of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s March date at its oldest endurance racing venue.
“In the face of challenge, so many people have rallied around this,” a beaming IMSA president John Doonan told RACER at the event’s conclusion. “From our teams to our fans to our office in Daytona, we’ve all treated this like it’s no different than any other race. You can feel the momentum building for IMSA’s iRacing events already. And we hope to get back to racing as soon as possible.