Mirko Bortolotti broke through to claim his first IMSA iRacing Pro Series presented by SimCraft victory in Thursday’s 60-minute, two-class battle on the virtual WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
After qualifying second overall and in the LMP2 class to pole-sitter Daniel Morad,Bortolotti deftly maneuvered his No. 888 GRT Grasser Racing Team/GazX Dallara P217 Gibson around Morad’s No. 70 Alegra Motorsports/Moradness machine in the hairpin – otherwise known as Turn 2 – just after the green flag dropped.
It took Bortolotti a little while to open that gap, however, as Morad kept the pressure on throughout the first quarter of the race before the No. 888 machine finally got a little bit of breathing room.
With 19 minutes left, Bortolotti came to pit road for his lone stop of the race, handing the lead back to Morad.
The Canadian brought his Dallara into the pits one lap later, but his efforts to overtake Bortolotti were hampered somewhat by slower traffic on his in-lap.
Then, a brief slide into the dirt navigating the pit lane hairpin while exiting gave Bortolotti a bit more comfort and he went on to win by 2.449 seconds.
Although he didn’t win the race, Morad’s runner-up result – coupled with his second-place run two weeks ago in the season opener at Sebring International Raceway – moved him atop the LMP2 driver standings by one point, 64-63, over Bortolotti heading into the final race of the season in two weeks at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
James French completed the LMP2 podium at WeatherTech Raceway with a third-place showing in the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Dallara.
Eng Goes Back-to-Back in 1-2 BMW Sweep
The GT Le Mans race followed a similar arc to LMP2, albeit with some subtle differences. Rodrigo Pflucker qualified on pole for the fourth time in his IMSA iRacing Pro Series career dating back to last season and the Peruvian racer was looking for his second series win – and first of the season – aboard the No. 47 Forty7 Motorsports / PRT Ronin Simsport Ferrari 488 GTE.
It looked good early for Pflucker, who kept the field at bay for the first 17 minutes until Austria’s Philipp Eng found his way past in – you guessed it – the Andretti Hairpin and into the lead in his No. 89 BMW Team RLL / BMW Team IMSA M8 GTE.
Eng never looked back from there, making a clean pit stop with 12 minutes to go without relinquishing the lead.
He went on to win by 8.332 seconds over his BMW teammate, Connor De Phillippi in the No. 25 machine. Eng also won the season-opening race at Sebring and now has a 12-point advantage, 70-58, over De Phillippi in the championship.
De Phillippi wrested second place from Pflucker on the penultimate lap of the race to make it a 1-2 sweep for BMW. Pflucker held on for third in his Ferrari.
The IMSA iRacing Pro Series Presented by SimCraft Powered by VP Racing Fuels season finale is set for Thursday, May 6 at 6 p.m. ET from Road Atlanta.