Free agency announcements for the eNASCAR Coco-Cola iRacing Series continued into a second week as big names began to settle into place.
William Byron eSports led the charge with its powerhouse line-up of Nick Ottinger and Logan Clampitt remaining with the team. Ottinger, the 2020 series champion, and Clampitt, the runner-up in the 2021 season, will once again form one of the strongest line-ups in the series.
Another significant move came from Jim Beaver eSports, who announced it had signed Blake Reynolds, a final four contender in the 2019 season, to replace departing sim racer Caine Cook. Michael Guest, who finished second in last year’s season opener at Daytona, re-signed with the team.
“Blake and Michael are no stranger to the front of the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series pack, but that’s just one of many reasons I’m excited to name them to Jim Beaver eSports’ 2022 eNASCAR lineup,” team owner Jim Beaver said.
Reynolds moves over from McLaren Shadow, who elected not to participate in this year’s season. JTG Daugherty Racing also elected not to field a team. The Charlotte Phoenix, a traditional eSports franchise, has announced it will field a team but has not revealed its driver line-up.
One significant hole remains in the free agency puzzle: the 20th team. At the start of free agency, drivers were presented with a list of teams, that list contained only 19 teams. According to multiple sources that spoke to RACER, the identity or even existence of the 20th team remains a mystery.
Williams eSports, meanwhile, signed Vicente Salas and rookie Donovan Strauss. Salas became the first driver to lead every lap of an oval race in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series when he dominated at Richmond last year.
— WILLIAMS ΞSPORTS (@WilliamsEsports) January 14, 2022
The rest of the series’ 19 teams have either announced it will field a team or its driver line-ups. Driver announcements must be made before February 1.
The 2022 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series will begin on February 15 at Daytona International Speedway and end on October 25 at Phoenix Raceway. Highlights of the 18-race schedule include a race on the dirt at Bristol , along with trip to World Wide Technology Raceway that will serve as a preview of the NASCAR Cup Series race that is slated for June 5.
There will also be an exhibition race at the Los Angeles Coliseum on February 1 as the series’ version of the Clash.
“With a refreshed schedule, led by our opening exhibition at the L.A. Coliseum, a track developed in iRacing, the pursuit of this year’s championship will take some exciting new turns this year,” said Tony Gardner, president of iRacing.
“We’re excited to kick off the chase for one of the largest purses in sim racing, with well over $300,000 on the line, and look forward to crowning a champion in Phoenix.”
All eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series races will be held on Tuesday nights, and all but two cases will run on the same track that the NASCAR Cup Series is scheduled for that weekend.