Williams Esports, Apex Racing Team take IMSA Esports Global Championship class wins at Sebring

The third round of the 2023 IMSA Esports Global Championship took on the twists and bumps at Sebring International Raceway on Sunday. Despite some early race mayhem, the field put on another spectacular two hour, 40 minute show around the 3.74-mile, 17-turn facility in Florida. The Williams Esports combination of Josh Lad and Matt Farrow in the #11 BMW dominated the day in the GTP class. In the GTD field, the #101 Mercedes-AMG Apex Racing Team entry of Alejandro Sanchez and Luke McKeown became the first multi-time winners on the season after another convincing victory, vaulting the pair back into the championship lead.

Things didn’t start off too smoothly in either class. Lad led the field to the green in GTP, but Race Control took issue with his start. Right off the bat, the #11 had to race against a 10-second disadvantage for a penalty to be issued post-race.

With the jumble, the middle of the field collided, affecting the championship leaders on the #71 BMW M Team Redline entry of Diogo Pinto and Chris Lulham. With only four races in the championship, one bad race could take a team out of the running. The damages cost the #71 team seven laps, and that would result in a 16th place finish in class. The #3 CrowdStrike Racing Acura and the #89 BMW M Team BS+COMPETITION entries were forced to retire before completing a lap in the same incident.

A few moments later, the GTD field took the green with the #153 Mercedes-AMG Team Williams Esports entry of Vasilios Beletsiotis and Daniel Pasztor leading the way. Their pack would make it into Turn 1 before everything unraveled, as the #114 Simufy eSports Porsche went for a slide after contact from the outside pole position. The next corner, multiple cars tangled in another incident, including the #120 Dörr Esports Porsche and the #110 MAHLE Racing Team BMW.

Once the chaos cleared, both Williams Esports class leaders had taken control. In GTP, the #11 began extending the lead, growing to two seconds before the lapped traffic of the GTD field came into play. As for the GTD, the #153 found the #101 on their tail from the third starting spot, waiting for the right opportunity to pounce. As the GTP field lapped the GTD leaders on Lap 7, the #101 was able to take advantage and move into the lead, where they would stay for the remainder of the event.

Last in the GTP standings through two rounds, the #69 Drago Racing Acura, this week driven by Przemyslaw Marek Lemanek and Jakub Maciejewski, joined the battle for the victory throughout the evening. From 15th on the grid, Lemanek, the Grand Prix Turn Racing iRacing Series champion, weaved through the traffic to get up into the top five before the first round of pit stops. Staying in the car, Lemanek’s pit road delta was about seven seconds shorter than Lad in the #11, as well as the rest of the field. This moved the #69 up into second following the cycle, and with less fuel in the tank, Lemanek moved into the lead easily and began to pull away from the Williams team through the second stint.

On the midway pit cycle, due to having less fuel, the #69 pitted earlier than anyone else and spent more time on pit road as a result while the team swapped from Lemanek to Maciejewski. Lad was able to go five laps longer before he pitted in and handed the keys to Farrow. When the cycle completed, the #69 was in third, fighting with the #43 Altus Esports Cadillac of Edoardo Leo and Marcos Nunez through the traffic. It didn’t matter who was driving the #69—impressive moves were a constant, as Maciejewski took Nunez three-wide with a GTD down the frontstretch to clear back into second place.

Disaster struck another GTP title contender around the same time, as the #90 URANO eSports Datagroup BMW of Dominik Hofmann and Daniel Alves Lourenco were forced to retire after contact with the #99 Apex Racing Team BMW of Peter Berryman and Maxime Brient in the final corner. Winners in the first round of the series at Road Atlanta, the #90 team was in position to capitalize greatly from the #71 team’s early misfortunes. After retiring on lap 53, the #90 ended up finishing behind the #71 in 17th.

With the top two in the points out of contention, the championship battle for GTP was blown wide open. At this point, the #11 had gapped the lead to over 10 seconds, nullifying the post-race penalty. The #69 just wasn’t able to hold pace this run, and as the field entered the final round of stops, the gap between first and second was nearly 15 seconds. Through the final stops, the #11 team managed to gap more than 20 seconds over the rest of the field. The #69 wound up with a drivethrough penalty with only minutes to go, resulting in an eighth place finish. The battle for second fell to the #91 VRS Coanda Porsche team of Charlie Collins and Julien Soenen, outdueling the #99 for a step higher on the podium.

Back in GTD, the #101 cruised home to their second win of the season, catapulting the team back on top of the GTD standings over the #170 Team Redline Ferrari duo of Gianni Vecchio and Ole Steinbraten, who worked from sixth on the grid to finish in second. Those two teams have the best chance at walking away as the GTD champions in two weeks after the finale at Daytona, with the pair separated by only 23 points.

The same cannot be said for the GTP championship, somehow still led by the #71 BMW M Team Redline group, but only by 10 points over the winning #11 Williams Esports BMW. A total of seven teams are within 65 points entering the finale, including the #91, #43, #99, #90 and the #4 CrowdStrike Racing Acura team of Sam and Scott Michaels, that duo finishing ninth at Sebring.

IMSA Esports Global Championship GTP results from Race #3 at Sebring were as follows:

Fin.

St.

No.

Team

Driver 1

Driver 2

Manufacturer

Pts

1111Williams EsportsJosh LadMatt FarrowBMW385
21191VRS CoandaCharlie CollinsJulien SoenenPorsche340
3299Apex Racing TeamPeter BerrymanMaxime BrientBMW332
4615Race ClutchPéter ZubaBalázs RemenyikAcura305
5343Altus Esports GTPEdoardo LeoMarcos NunezCadillac290
6595XSETCasey KirwanOwen CarylCadillac276
7492VRS CoandaZac CampbellMichael RomanidisPorsche268
81569Drago RacingPrzemyslaw Marek LemanekJakub MaciejewskiAcura246
9194CrowdStrike Racing #4Sam MichaelsScott MichaelsAcura232
101346Orion Race TeamJoão VazIlkka HaapalaPorsche228
111664Satellite RacingAlex GalAlex EllisCadillac215
12716Puresims Esports GTPRobin GlerumDaniel CraftAcura214
131718WAVE ITALY Racing TeamPablo EspesNathan OlsonPorsche194
14187PRIVATE LABEL Team HypePhil KrausAdam BlockerCadillac183
15996Obsidian RacingSamuel GrañaPablo LazarPorsche182
16871BMW M Team RedlineDiogo PintoChris LulhamBMW173
172090URANO eSports DatagroupDominik HofmannDaniel Alves LourencoBMW151
181262HydroRace Geodesic RacingAustin YoungGraham SandersCadillac149
19103CrowdStrike Racing #3Marcus HamiltonTimo RoordaAcura141
201489BMW M Team BS+COMPETITIONNiklas BeuPedro SanchezBMW127

IMSA Esports Global Championship GTD results from Race #3 at Sebring were as follows:

Fin.

St.

No.

Team

Driver 1

Driver 2

Manufacturer

Pts

13101Mercedes-AMG E-Sports Team ARTAlejandro SanchezLuke McKeownMercedes-AMG380
26170Team RedlineGianni VecchioOle SteinbratenFerrari345
31153Mercedes-AMG Team Williams EsportsVasilios BeletsiotisDaniel PasztorMercedes-AMG335
410155Mercedes-AMG Team Williams EsportsAlessandro BicoDaniel LafuenteMercedes-AMG301
515190Mercedes-AMG URANO eSportsLuca KitaConstantin TscharfMercedes-AMG276
614144Altus Esports GreenYannick LapchinSimone Maria MarcenoLamborghini267
75102Virtualcoach.gg by GnGSven HaaseNicolás RubilarFerrari266
823178Maniti RacingLuca WunschTim MatzkeLamborghini238
920192Mercedes-AMG URANO eSportsNiclas LaubischAlexander ThiebeMercedes-AMG231
1021116Puresims Esports GTDRoss MacfarlaneLukas PradaBMW220
1119111Arnage CompetitionDavid TothJames T ArmstrongBMW212
1216199Apex Racing TeamSalva TalensQuentin VialatteBMW205
134196BS+TURNERRainer TalvarPhil DenesBMW208
147171Team RedlineJosh ThompsonFlorian LebigreFerrari194
1524162Brabham EsportsHunter McDanielStephen McDonaldLamborghini167
1618175Team75 Bernhard by SimRCAntti AholaMarvin StrehlPorsche163
1717177Lys EsportsAndrew CaronGuillaume LévesqueMercedes-AMG0
1822188VRS CoandaBryn CollinsXander ReedPorsche139
1912157Impulse RacingChris ShorterMatthieu VictorinoFerrari139
208143Altus Esports PurpleJordan CarusoDino LombardiPorsche133
2113163DeltaSportGreg HovesenCarl ModoffLamborghini118
222114Simufy eSportsTristán IglesiasGabi MontoroPorsche122
2325103Grid-and-Go.com eSportsGovand KeanieJakub KwiatkowskiLamborghini86
2426169Drago RacingRicardo RicoManuel TroncosoFerrari75
2511120Dörr EsportsDamon WoodsJonas RüttenPorsche80
269110MAHLE RACING TEAMFelix QuirmbachOskari RinneBMW72

Each class has a maximum of 385 points available per race, with 350 going to the class winners and an additional 35 points for the top qualifying team. Mathematically, there are about 13 teams in GTP that still have a chance. Realistically, it should be decided amongst the top seven entering Daytona. As for the GTD class, that battle is a bit clearer; only the top three teams have a mathematical shot, but the #190 Mercedes-AMG URANO eSports entry in third is a huge longshot at 225 points behind.

IMSA Esports Global Championship GTP points through Round 3 are as follows:

  1. #71 BMW M Team Redline, 887
  2. #11 Williams Esports, 877
  3. #91 VRS Coanda, 870
  4. #43 Altus Esports, 865
  5. #99 Apex Racing Team, 863
  6. #90 URANO eSports Datagroup, 841
  7. #4 CrowdStrike Racing #4, 822

IMSA Esports Global Championship GTD points through Round 3 are as follows:

  1. #101 Mercedes-AMG Team ART, 1102
  2. #170 Team Redline, 1079
  3. #190 Mercedes-AMG URANO eSports, 877
  4. #199 Apex Racing Team, 788
  5. #196 BS+TURNER, 757

The IMSA Esports Global Championship will once again head to the high banks of Daytona International Speedway to wrap up another season. Last year, it was all Apex Racing Team, as the #98 GTD and the #199 TC won their respective classes. Two of the Apex Racing Team entries, one in each class, have a shot to win both titles should they accomplish this feat once again.

Each race of the IMSA Esports Global Championship will be broadcasted live on IMSA’s and iRacing’s YouTube, Facebook and Twitch social media channels with the “Countdown to Green” pre-race show beginning at 1:45PM ET.

For more information on the IMSA Esports Global Championship, visit iracing.com/imsa-esports. For more information about the Virtual Competition Organisation (VCO), visit vco-esports.com. For more information on iRacing and for special offers, visit iracing.com.