The latest iRacing Special Event for 2023 took place over the past weekend with four timeslots of the Nürburgring 24h. Top esports organizations lined up for the third timeslot, which launched at 12:00 GMT, and was broadcasted live via RaceSpotTV on their own channels as well as the official iRacing Twitch channel.
After a long day and night (and back to day) at The Green Hell, Mercedes-AMG took the top two steps of the podium with Team Williams Esports on top of it all, but just slightly over Team URANO eSports. BMW would round out the final step of the podium with Team Redline in third place of the top GT3 class.
There were five total classes in the special event weekend. There were two multi-car classes in the GT3 (Mercedes-AMG, BMW, Porsche) and GT4 (Aston Martin and Porsche). There were three single-make classes with the Porsche 992 Cup, Audi RS 3 LMS and the Toyota GR86.
A LONG BATTLE OF ATTRITION
A total of 54 teams of at least two drivers were registered for the Top Split event. There were 11 teams per class except for the slowest class, the Toyota GR86 Spec class, which mercifully had only 10. Rainer Talver put Team BMW Bank, one of the BS+COMPETITION rides together with Kay Kaschube and Phil Denes, on the pole position.
Sami-Matti Trogen qualified for the Williams Esports Chillblast #150 and put it on the outside pole. The eventual winners in the Mercedes-AMG Team Williams Esports entry would start from the sixth position.
In the lower classes, the top qualifiers were Alessandro Bico for Williams Esports Razer in the 992, Sven Haase for Grid-and-Go.com eSports #001 in the GT4, Michael Polasek for 24 Hours For World Central Kitchen #45 in the Audi and Jaden Munoz for the #16 HydroRace Geodesic Racing Gold team in the Toyota GR86.
Less than half of the teams that started the race would finish with the necessary fair share completed. None of the fastest qualifying teams for each class would find overall victory, and only one of them (Williams Esports Razer) would even finish the race, as they finished second.
CONTROVERSY STRIKES AGAIN
One of the more controversial incidents that made its way to social media was the incident involving the eventual winners at Mercedes-AMG Team Williams Esports and the leaders of the GT4 class at that time, the MAHLE RACING TEAM which was also racing under the BS+COMPETITION banner.
During the night shift in sim, the faster Mercedes-AMG GT3 pulled in swiftly on the back bumper of the #10 GT4 Aston Martin. In a spot on the Nordschleife not usually known as a passing zone, the Williams took a look to the inside as the MAHLE machine gave just enough for a car to fit.
There was surely netcode contact, but as the announcers alluded to, it looked like the contact was likely to happen one way or another. This took out the leading GT4 before halfway. Williams Esports was embroiled in controversy back during the Daytona 24 as well, but this looks more to be a racing incident more than anything.
Still, with the continued correlation of controversy with the team, their reputation is not being helped by yet another stained victory on their hands. On the other hand, in 24 hour events on iRacing in 2023, Williams Esports is undefeated.
VERSTAPPEN AND TEAM REDLINE FINALLY FINISH ONE
Speaking of netcode contact and controversy, in the last endurance event on the iRacing Special Events calendar at Sebring, Two-Time Formula 1 World Champion Max Verstappen’s race was ended early due to collecting a meatball from netcode contact, ending his and his Team Redline teammates’ chances.
This go around, it looked to be a smooth race for the real-world superstar who sim races. Verstappen was teamed up with Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup champion Diogo Pinto as well as fellow Team Redline standout Ole Steinbraten.
The Redline trio were able to finish all 176 trips around the combined ring, albeit just about three and a half minutes behind the winners. Max did put down the fastest lap for the team, on lap 67, at 7:59.117 secs. Apparently those watching on the Team Redline stream had some decent storytelling from Max as well.
GT3 CLASS PODIUM RESULTS
- #55 Mercedes-AMG Team Williams Esports: Vasilios Beletsiotis / Daniel Pásztor / Daniel Lafuente | 176 Laps
- #190 Mercedes-AMG Team URANO eSports: Luca Kita / Alexey Nesov / Jonas Wallmeier | +15.492 secs
- #71 BMW M Team Redline: Diogo C. Pinto / Max Verstappen / Ole Steinbraten | +3:27.769 secs
PORSCHE 992 CUP PODIUM RESULTS
- #1 SCHERER eSPORT Red: Luca Alpert / Raphael Rennhofer / Fabian Hochstatter | 172 Laps
- #2 Williams Esports Razer: Alessandro Bico / Moreno Sirica / Kamil Grabowski | +2L
- #8 WAVE ITALY Racing Team #16: Max Humbert / Jeremy Lamier / Matteo Kuenzer | +3L
GT4 CLASS PODIUM RESULTS
- #969 WAS COOKIN Racing Adventures #969: Josh Thompson / Sindre Setsaas / Jack Sedgwick / Will Tregurtha | 162 LAPS
- #116 Puresims Esports: Steen Ledger / Daniel Ferguson / Nathan A Moore | +3:30.915 secs
- #114 Team PGZ 114: Marlon Duczek / Samuel L Ward / Alvar Gomez / Loïc Rabier / Jorge D.Garcia | +4:03.409 secs
AUDI RS TC PODIUM RESULTS
- #404 Team Heusinkveld #404: Fabian Siegmann / Marcel Tie / Stefan Schella | 157 Laps
- #122 Impulse Racing $122: Norbert Leitner / Martijn Asschert / Chris T Shorter / Szilard Nagy | +1L
- #62 Brabham Esports Hissing Sid: Stephen Warcup / Kristof Kerekes / Jordon Bachmeyer / Harald Stadler / Andy X Fox | +2L
TOYOTA GR86 SPEC PODIUM RESULTS
- #15 Astro Racing VGD: Jesus Rato / Yasiel Hernández / Darwin Romero / Javier Chaves | 142 Laps
- #21 Pride & Pinion By Schinkenwagen: Jordan Burrows / Andy Gschwind / James Bacon2 / Reuben J Simmonite | +7L
- #245 WS Racing eSports #245: Dominic Nöckel / Tobias Krichenbauer | +10L
NEXT UP ON THE SPECIAL EVENT CALENDAR
In just about a week’s time, the NASCAR iRacing Series will start their longest race week of the season with the 600 miler at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The second NiS special event is the iRacing Coke 600, and there will be multiple open and fixed setup races to get into starting 24th May.