Trans-Am Resurrects Virtual Riverside Raceway for Latest Esports Race
The Trans Am by Pirelli Esports Championship held its fifth round at Riverside International Raceway in southern California on Saturday afternoon, resurrecting the historic track which closed three decades ago.
The historic track held a number of NASCAR, IMSA and IndyCar races between 1957 and 1989, and a virtual recreation of it brought racing back last weekend.
Edward Sevadjian and Tyler Kicera each won one race, cementing Kicera’s second place in the championship standings behind Josh Hurley, who finished third and fifth.
Sevadjian claimed his maiden esports victory with a win from pole position in Race 1 and survived a charge from fourth to second by Ernie Francis Jr., who was unable to close the gap to challenge for the lead during the 12-lap race.
Carl Rydquist started the second race from pole on the inverted grid, but soon fell down the order due to a hefty 80 kg weight penalty, allowing Devlin DeFrancesco, who has never raced a real Trans-Am car, to take the lead by the end of the opening lap.
DeFrancesco later ended up in a battle with Cameron Lawrence that sent the former wide and made way for Kicera to assume the runner-up position. Kicera made a move for the lead stick by going high and wide on the banked Turn 9, before DeFrancesco made a mistake and spun across the track, ending his race prematurely.
Esports News & Notes
***Arthur Kammerer claimed his first win of the season in the SRO E-Sport GT Series Silver Series race at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Sunday, driving a McLaren 720S GT3.
***The location for the final round of the SRO E-Sport series’ Pro and Silver competitions will be decided by a fan vote, which opened last night and will run until 8 p.m. CEST on Friday. The options are Bathurst, Kyalami, Laguna Seca and Suzuka.
***Brian Lockwood took a lights-to-flag win in Tuesday evening’s Ricmotech iRacing Global Mazda MX-5 Cup esports race. This win at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course allowed Lockwood to close to within seven points of championship leader Matt Cresci heading into the season finale tomorrow night at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
***Fans can tune in to the final MX-5 Cup esports race at 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday night and watch on either the Mazda USA Facebook page or its YouTube channel.
***Lars Brugman and Bence Banki each took one win in the final round of the DTM Esports Classic Challenge, held on Sunday afternoon on the full Nürburgring Nordschleife. Race 1 used 1992 era DTM cars, while Race 2 showcased 2016-spec machinery.
***Philip Ellis and Jack Segdwick won the most recent three-hour Nürburgring Langstrecken Serie digital race in a Mercedes-AMG GT3. BMW IMSA driver Bruno Spengler and his co-driver Nils Koch finished second in round five of the series.
***Premier League club Wolverhampton Wanderers will sponsor Gulf Racing’s entry in this month’s virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Gulf WEC team’s Porsche 911 RSR will feature a special Wolves livery for the esports enduro, evoking memories of the Newcastle United-backed Lister Storm GTLs that raced at Le Mans in the late 1990s.
Other News & Notes
***Organizers of the CAMS Australian GT Championship expect a strong grid when racing resumes, having surveyed teams and found an almost unanimous response of commitment to the series despite uncertainty surrounding the effects of the pandemic.
***Australian GT category owner Jim Manolios is confident he can run races between July and December, as long as Australia’s lockdown restrictions are eased and travel is permitted across state borders. “The great thing from my perspective is that we have options and we’re pursuing all of them to ensure that we will crown a 2020 Australian GT champion!” he said.
***The Automobile Club de l’Ouest has opened its doors for the first time today, and is welcoming visitors at the 24 Hours of Le Mans Museum, its karting track, its driving instruction centers and the Porsche Experience Center. Additional health and safety measures are in place, along with social distancing in certain areas.
***Hyundai’s N brand will be the title sponsor of the IMSA race weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Sept. 4-6, which has been named Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship. The brand will be represented by three Veloster N TCRs and six drivers in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race.
***More teams and drivers have been confirmed for next month’s 24 Hours of Portimao. HTP-Winward Motorsport is set to field a Mercedes-AMG GT3 for Americans Bryce Ward and Russell Ward, as well as Indy Dontje and Philip Ellis.
***ProSport Racing has also named its lineup. The team’s Aston Martin Vantage GT4 will be driven by Rodrigue Gillion, Tom Heeren, Laurent de Meeus and Nico Verdonck.
***Portimao organizer Creventic has announced that it will hold the ‘Tourenwagen Legenden’, a classic touring car race, as part of the support package for the new 12 Hours of Zandvoort event in November.
***Team WRT has revealed the livery that is set to adorn Fabio Scherer’s Audi RS5 Turbo in this year’s DTM series. Scherer will use car No. 13 during his debut season.
***GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS outfit Classic and Modern Racing returned to the track last week with a testing session at Ales in southern France. The team tried out its new Bentley Continental GT3 with Jules Gounon and Nelson Panciati taking turns behind the wheel.
***Ferrari Challenge has updated its European and North American calendars. The Europen season is set to begin at Imola in July, while the North American series will resume at Indianapolis Motor Speedway later in the same month.
Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report