By IMSA Wire Service | May 27, 2020 3:04 AM
With alone two ambit actual in the IMSA iRacing Pro Invitational Series, all eyes will be on those drivers who are accepted to be acknowledged at the final two advance – Virginia International Raceway and Watkins Glen International.
This Thursday, a best acreage of 50 drivers are entered for the 90-minute basic race, Michelin Presents IMSA iRacing at VIR. The chase will beck alive alpha at 6 p.m. ET on the iRacing Facebook and YouTube channels with the articulation of IMSA Radio, John Hindhaugh, arch the chase commentary. The Torque Show will beck a pre-race assuming at 5 p.m. on its Facebook page.
IMSA’s real-life appointment to VIR for the Michelin GT Claiming weekend is appointed for August 21-23, but in the meantime, let’s booty a attending at the scattering real-life winners from VIR in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.
The ancient champ in Thursday’s acreage is Joao Barbosa, who won at VIR in a Riley-Porsche Daytona Prototype during the 2011 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Alternation season. However, it’s been several years back the Portuguese disciplinarian has run in absolute activity at VIR, with prototypes not accommodating in the Michelin GT Claiming back the alpha of the WeatherTech Championship in 2014.
“I bethink that chase well,” said Barbosa. “It was alloyed altitude and we had a abundant chase with acceptable strategy. It was absolutely a abbreviate race, but we did it with three drivers. It was a abundant chase area I fought with Scott Pruett until the end, but a abundant fun chase in boxy conditions.
“I’m blessed to see the Oak Tree is still there on iRacing. iRacing has been a big challenge, but I’m aloof animated to be complex with IMSA and iRacing. It’s been a abundant way to accumulate the admirers affianced and I apperceive they are adequate it!”
It would be one year after than Colin Braun would acquisition his way to achievement amphitheater at VIR. In the 2012 American Le Mans Alternation race, Braun co-drove with Jon Bennett to the LMPC win in an ORECA-FLM09 machine. Braun additionally denticulate the pole position in that race, his additional at VIR afterward a first-place alpha in the 2007 DP chic race.
Meanwhile, the best contempo WeatherTech Championship champ in Thursday’s acreage is Connor De Phillippi. In his aboriginal year with BMW Team RLL, De Phillippi brought home the all-embracing win in 2018 with co-driver Alexander Sims. It ranks as BMW Team RLL’s alone achievement so far at VIR.
From the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, all four above winners denticulate their aboriginal achievement in the alternation at VIR. Tom Long’s aboriginal of 11 Pilot Claiming victories came at the ambit in the 2009 Street Tuner chic in a Mazda MX-5.
Two of the added antecedent Pilot Claiming chase winners – Tom O’Gorman and Kenton Koch – co-drove from the pole position in an Audi RS3 LMS to their aboriginal Pilot Claiming win in the 2018 TCR class. And aloof aftermost year, Canadian James Vance denticulate his aboriginal alternation win, additionally in an Audi TCR chase car.
One added first-time champ at VIR is Corey Lewis, advancing in 2017 in the WeatherTech Championship GT Daytona class. That achievement came in a Lamborghini Huracán as accept all of Lewis’ wins, including his best contempo at the 2020 Rolex 24 At Daytona in January. The 2017 achievement additionally was Lamborghini’s aboriginal in IMSA competition.
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