The BMW Sim Bash came out of seemingly nowhere. Three days notice via social media regarding an event featuring three of the manufacturer’s associated teams in sim racing; BS+Competition, G2 Esports and Team Redline. A teaser video, a date and a time. That was it.
Little did we know that the stream, held in the middle of May 2022, would actually be one of the most unique and entertaining concepts that we have seen in racing esports for quite some time.
Amongst the seriousness of well-established series such as Formula 1 Esports Pro, ADAC GT Masters Esports and more, it seems relatively easy to forget that a lot of competitors actually love what they do for a living. To showcase this was one of the BMW Sim Bash’s objectives.
Three affiliated teams pitted against each other across three races. The twist? Potentially three sims would be utilised; in the end, however, iRacing and Assetto Corsa Competizione would end up being the only two thanks to the viewer vote for the final contest.
This writer personally feels like going all-in would have been ideal. Whipping out rFactor 2 – especially as a sim with recently officially licensed BMW releases – surely couldn’t have been too much trouble.
Nevertheless, the show was well produced with recognisable talents such as Lewis McGlade and Matthew Trivett, so the feel-good factor lasted throughout.
Race 1 – iRacing – Red Bull Ring
Team Redline dominated the first qualifying session. Chris Lulham led Enzo Bonito and Patrik Holzmann although the other two teams would feature inside the top five. BS+Competition would put their faith in Gregor Schill whilst the German’s ex-team, G2 Esports, would see Isaac Price spearhead its efforts.
Straight away the level of teamwork on show from Redline was impressive as the train departed the Niki Lauda Kurve and began its journey away from the rest of the pack.
The calm ultimately preluded a mighty storm as the Redline civil war broke out with ten minutes to go. Some of the racing on show was exemplary, some less so but not once did anything feel vindictive.
Ultimately, Redline would maintain their one-two-three finish as Holzmann took victory ahead of Bonito and Lulham. Maximum points secured.
- Patrik Holzmann – Team Redline – 11 Laps
- Enzo Bonito – Team Redline +0.085
- Chris Lulham – Team Redline +0.895
- Nils Koch – BS+Competition 0.931
- Gregor Schill – BS+Competition +1.966
- Isaac Price – G2 Esports +2.804
- Robbie Stapleford – G2 Esports +9.401
- Charlie Crossland – G2 Esports +10.093
- Arthur Kammerer – BS+Competition +10.544
Race 2 – Assetto Corsa Competizione – Monza
After finishing fifth in an iRacing race, Schill was back on home soil in Assetto Corsa Competizione. He would take pole position at Monza with teammate Arthur Kammerer much improving to take third. Redline still maintained its presence inside the top three thanks to Lulham.
A poor rolling start for Lulham gave Kammerer plenty of incentive to take second. Price meanwhile saved some face for G2 with a fantastic start surging up to fourth. Once again the Redline comradery was impressive as Bonito and Lulham worked together to force Price back down the order.
The centre of everything this time around, Lulham was in the spotlight for the wrong reason at half distance when he dropped the car of his own accord. In unfamiliar territory, it was to be expected that this race would be the most difficult for him.
A BS+ one-two finish was a decent haul of points considering that both Redline and G2 saw retirements during the race.
- Gregor Schill – BS+Competition – 9 Laps
- Arthur Kammerer – BS+Competition +0.699
- Enzo Bonito – Team Redline +3.751
- Charlie Crossland – G2 Esports +9.757
- Isaac Price – G2 Esports +10.044
- Nils Koch – BS+ Competition +15.005
- Chris Lulham – Team Redline +18.359
- Patrik Holzmann – Team Redline – Retired
- Robbie Stapleford – G2 Esports – Retired
Race 3 – iRacing – Nürburgring
With a large helping hand from a certain Max Verstappen on Twitter, iRacing was selected as the final sim destination of the evening. This of course gave a huge advantage to the Dutchman’s colleagues at Team Redline.
The front three spots were once again locked out for the race and Holzmann was on pole position following his non-score in Race 2.
Despite a strong challenge from Koch across the entire fifteen minutes, Bonito’s defence of third allowed his teammates to escape up the road without difficulty. Holzmann converted pole into a second win of the evening and in doing so, helped Redline win the Sim Bash comfortably.
- Patrik Holzmann – Team Redline – 9 Laps
- Chris Lulham – Team Redline – +0.707
- Enzo Bonito – Team Redline – +4.702
- Nils Koch – BS+Competition – +5.860
- Isaac Price – G2 Esports – +12.467
- Gregor Schill – BS+Competition – +19.510
- Robbie Stapleford – G2 Esports – +24.412
- Arthur Kammerer – BS+Competition – +34.896
- Charlie Crossland – G2 Esports – +35.675
Simply put? More of this, please. There were no big prizes, no stresses, no red mist.
The BMW Sim Bash was pure fun and a great example of how a no-stakes event should be run. Whether it comes through manufacturers like BMW or the major event holders themselves, the factor of audience participation and engaging your fanbase can never be underestimated.
More to the point, let us consider this. The worst divider of sim racing fans is the one question nobody can answer. What is the best sim? This event dared to use this split opinion as to the foundation for its driver showcase.
The variety could well become a great strength in the near future should people in the right places be smart enough to capitalise on it.
Images courtesy of BMW Esports.