Three Takeaways: Michelin Presents IMSA iRacing at VIR

Late-race drama, a new winning manufacturer and a quest for the inaugural, virtual championship were just a few of the highlights from last Thursday’s Michelin Presents IMSA iRacing at VIRginia International Raceway.
With only one race remaining in the six-round IMSA iRacing Pro Series – Konica Minolta Presents IMSA iRacing at Watkins Glen International on Thursday, June 11 – there’s more of an idea about what to watch for … Or is there?
Following the penultimate round last week, the championship isn’t settled and there seems to be more manufacturer parity in the series than ever before. Here’s a look at some of what we learned in Round 5.
Championship Scenario
We can definitively say a BMW driver will win the IMSA iRacing Pro Series title. It’s going to either be Bruno Spengler or Nicky Catsburg. However, the math does show how each driver would need to perform at Watkins Glen to win.
Catsburg can overcome his current, 31-point deficit and win the championship if he wins the race and Spengler finishes no higher than fifth. Should Spengler finish fifth, the two drivers would tie.
A note to remember is that the IMSA iRacing Pro Series allows each driver to omit his lowest finish of the six rounds and only tally up the five best results. Currently, Spengler’s poorest finish was sixth place in Round 3 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, while Catsburg struggled in the most recent VIR round, finishing 28th.  
Manufacturer Parity
It may have taken five races, but Ford, Ferrari and Porsche finally found a way to topple BMW from the podium. BMW had a stranglehold on the IMSA iRacing competition initially, sweeping the podium in the first three races. And while the manufacturer didn’t win in Round 4 at Road America, it did finish second and third.
However, that podium luck went missing at VIR and Spengler was the highest finishing BMW in fifth. Winner Kenton Koch piloted his pink Ford GT to the win, New Zealander Shane van Gisbergen swapped to a Porsche 911 RSR from a BMW earlier in the morning to finish second and Argentinian Agustin Canapino earned Ferrari’s first podium of the championship in third.
Which of the four manufacturers will have the final say at Watkins Glen? We’ll have to wait until next Thursday to find out.
Juncos Delivers
While Juncos Racing competed in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2019, the team had not joined the field for 2020. However, the team has been participating in the IMSA iRacing Pro Series and showed up in a big way last Thursday.
Delivering Ferrari’s best finish of the championship in third was Agustin Canapino in the No. 66 Ferrari Ford GT with the familiar Juncos Racing green, orange and white livery. Juncos has joined in several other virtual racing competitions and to find success in IMSA’s series meant a lot to Team Owner Ricardo Juncos.
“Tonight’s IMSA race at VIR was truly amazing,” said Juncos following the race. “Agustin Canapino did an incredible job putting the No. 66 Juncos Racing eSports Ferrari on the podium for the first time. This was a great moment for our team and Agustin as we put in a lot of time on the setup together. Tonight’s performance shows what we have been working so hard to achieve with our eSports program.”
Konica Minolta Presents IMSA iRacing at Watkins Glen International marks the final round of the IMSA iRacing Pro Series. The 90-minute race on Thursday, June 11, will stream live beginning at 6 p.m. ET on the iRacing Facebook and YouTube channels with the voice of IMSA Radio, John Hindhaugh, leading the race commentary.
The Torque Show will stream a pre-race showing at 5 p.m. on its Facebook page.
Adam Sinclair