365体育备用网站Simon Pagenaud fought his way to the front from a fifth-row start to claim victory at a virtual Twin Ring Motegi oval. The Frenchman was the benefactor of a late collision with other frontrunners with just a couple laps remaining and was able to hold off a charging Scott Dixon to win his second consecutive virtual race.
Robert Wickens qualified on pole with his specially-modified simulator rig and led the field away at the green flag. There were a few dicey moments throughout the opening laps, with Wickens and Will Power bumping wheels at one point while fighting for fourth position.
365体育备用网站The race continued with a few minor spins until a big crash on the backstretch on lap five collected four cars and brought out the day’s only caution. Helio Castroneves, in his iRacing debut, came out the worst of those involved and was relegated to the back of the field early on, a position that he would not be able to recover from.
365体育备用网站The early crash didn’t collect as many cars as last week’s opening lap catastrophe, but as in Michigan, a few drivers took advantage of the early caution and made a quick pit stop. The gamble did not prove to be the advantageous move that it was in the past, however, with those drivers still requiring two more stops to make it to the end.
365体育备用网站Once the race went back green, it never looked back. The remaining 104 laps produced fantastic action throughout the field, and the battles at the front was the best ones of the day.
365体育备用网站By the halfway point in the race, the front four drivers had decided they were going to sort out the victory among themselves, pulling away from the rest of the field. Will Power, Scott McLaughlin, Scott Dixon, and Simon Pagenaud continually battled back and forth for the top spot lap after lap.
Dixon in particular made a habit of running very close to the other drivers, getting himself comfortable with the dynamics of the iRacing simulator. By lap 75, he was in the middle of a five-lap, side-by-side battle with Power for the top spot.
365体育备用网站Dixon lost a few seconds during a second round of green flag pit stops for fresh tires and fuel, losing concentration and overshooting his pit box. He resumed the battle in fourth place and two seconds off the leaders.
With ten laps to go, McLaughlin and Power were fighting for the lead amongst the lapped car of Oliver Askew. Askew pushed too hard and forced a three-wide entry into turn three. The leaders were not expecting the space to be so tight, and bounced into each other. Power lost part of his front wing and McLaughlin was sent spinning into the wall, ending his run of good finishes and resulting in a 24th365体育备用网站 place finish.
365体育备用网站The chaos brought Pagenaud and Dixon back into the mix as the laps wound down, both drivers able to easily pass Power’s damaged Penske machine. On the last lap, Dixon tried a bold move to get past Pagenaud into turn one, but was pinched down and had to back out and was not able to mount another charge before the checkered flag.
365体育备用网站The win marks Pagenaud’s second victory in a row, a stat that he is very proud of. He has been taking the virtual series very seriously, practicing for approximately five hours per day and once again raced in his full firesuit to help get in the mood.
Dixon earned his first podium of the iRacing challenge series and Power was able to nurse his damaged car to the finish line in third. Marcus Ericsson and Robert Wickens ran event-free races to come home fourth and fifth respectively.
365体育备用网站Jack Harvey was able to stay up near the front all day, converting his third-place start to a sixth-place finish. Sage Karam, one of the field’s most veteran iRacing drivers, fought back from a poor qualifying effort to finish in seventh place.
Reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch was this week’s ‘guest driver.’ This was Busch’s first attempt at open-wheel racing, and was even driving with a gated shifter on his simulator rig, but still managed to come from the back of the field to earn a solid 13th place finish.
365体育备用网站The IndyCar iRacing series returns to road course racing next weekend with a visit to a virtual Circuit of the Americas. Most of the drivers got a chance to sample the new Aeroscreen on the track in real life during preseason testing, so it will be interesting to see how that translates into online action.