VRS Coanda, Team Redline crowned IMSA Esports Global Championship champions

The 2023 IMSA Esports Global Championship season concluded on Saturday with night-to-day action from Daytona International Speedway. Two class champions were crowned following a final two-hour and 40-minute battle in the Michelin 240.

The faster GTP class crown awarded to the #91 VRS Coanda Porsche duo of Charlie Collins and Julien Soenen, also piloted by both Laurin Heinrich and Michael Romanidis throughout the season, after finishing in second at Daytona. In GTD, the #170 Team Redline Ferrari, with Ole Steinbraten and Gianni Vecchio behind the wheel, won the final race and scored the championship in doing so. The GTP race itself was won by the #95 XSET Cadillac duo of Casey Kirwan and Owen Caryl.

Neither champion came into the finale leading their respective standings. GTP had about a seven-way battle entering, with two BMW entries, the #71 BMW M Team Redline and #11 Williams Esports machines, in the top two positions. VRS Coanda entered in third with the #43 Altus Esports Cadillac right behind in fourth. In GTD, it was down to two, with the #101 Mercedes-AMG Team Apex Racing Team leading on entry by 23 points over the #170 Team Redline duo.

The #11 Williams Esports BMW GTP took the overall pole while the #71  was mired in 10th, the championship lead already swinging in favor of Josh Lad and Matt Farrow at Williams. It swung even further in their favor when the #71, with Diogo Pinto behind the wheel, was crashed out of contention on the second lap following contact with the #69 Drago Racing Acura. The #11, with Lad behind the wheel, was feeling the immediate heat in lapping the GTD traffic as Kirwan, in the XSET Cadillac, was sniffing for an opening.

On Lap 15, disaster struck for the leading Williams entry as the #196 BS+Turner BMW GTD went around after contact with the #199 Apex Racing Team BMW GTD in the infield, resulting in heavy damages for the #11 GTP as Lad had nowhere to go. Kirwan in the #95 XSET Cadillac breezed through on the right side to take the lead, with the #43 Altus Esports Cadillac, with Edoardo Leo in the seat also passing through unscathed. This set up a three-way battle for the top spot in the race among the #95, the #43, and the #91 VRS Coanda Porsche, who had just taken third from their #92 teammates.

Meanwhile in the GTD ranks, the #120 Dörr Esports Porsche of Damon Woods and Jesse Jones were looking to play spoiler in their own class, taking the pole position while the championship teams struggled in qualifying. The #170 team ranked ninth while the #101 was marred back in the 21st position in class. That shrunk the #101’s lead down to 11 points as the race went green. The duo of Luke McKeown and Alejandro Sánchez in that #101 would have a long way to go to even catch the #170.

As pit stops began, the GTP race consisting of four quarters of racing while the GTD would have three periods, the racing would settle out with a clearer picture of who was in it to win it in both classes. There were six GTDs under a blanket by the time the final stops came around. The #120 led the way. The #170, #101, and #199 were also still in the mix. Both the #155 Mercedes-AMG Williams Esports team and the #178 Maniti Racing Lamborghini were also right there, also looking to play their own bit of spoiler.

In GTP, the lead would change hands a few times through the cycles. Before the first stop, the #43 managed to take control, but an elongated pit stop gave it back to the #95 for the second run. To start the third run, the #91 managed to leap ahead and pull out to a gap as the #95 swapped over from Kirwan to Caryl, the XSET strategy being an even split of driving duties, Kirwan in first with Caryl in to close. The #91 VRS Coanda opted to swap drivers every pit cycle, with Collins taking the start and the third run while Soenen ran the second and final stints.

The #43 was also on the same type of strategy as XSET, with Leo passing the second half over to Oscar Mangan. Disaster struck for the #43 on the final round of stops, however, as Mangan was caught speeding on pit entry, essentially eliminating the team from championship contention. Up front, it was down to the #91 and the #95 for the overall win, but for the title, it was comfortably in the #91’s hands now with the #43 out of the equation.

A pit issue would also decide the title among the GTD class. Just before the final pit stops of the day, the #170 managed to take the class lead from the #120. The #101 followed through, but not without making slight contact and a nifty save. The #170 was the first to strike for pits as the #101 pitted a lap later, and that’s when it all came undone.

As McKeown exited the car and Sánchez went in, fueling was interrupted. Sánchez backed up and re-pitted to get fuel in, but the damage was already done, and their chances at a repeat title were dashed. The #170 entered the final stint as the leader with the #120 and the #178 still in the lead group, but Steinbraten would not be denied both the victory and the championship.

Back in GTP, Soenen put the #91 back into the lead following the final pit cycle, but on the 84th lap, with just under 40 minutes to go, Caryl stuck the #95 Cadillac in deep to take the lead. The #91 seemingly backed off and accepted their fate to finish second and score the title as the #95 XSET Cadillac cruised in for their first IMSA Esports victory.

IMSA Esports Global Championship GTP results from Race #4 at Daytona were as follows:

Fin.

St.

No.

Team

Driver 1

Driver 2

Manufacturer

Pts

1295XSETCasey KirwanOwen CarylCadillac382
2891VRS CoandaCharlie CollinsJulien SoenenPorsche343
3315Race ClutchPeter ZubaBalazs RemenyikAcura330
41690URANO eSports DatagroupDominik HofmannDaniel Alves LourencoBMW295
5134CrowdStrike Racing #4Samuel MichaelsScott MichaelsAcura278
673CrowdStrike Racing #3Marcus HamiltonFraser WilliamsonAcura274
72116Puresims Esports GTPDaniel CraftNathan A MooreAcura250
8643Altus Esports GTPOscar ManganEdoardo LeoCadillac255
91264Satellite RacingAlex EllisAlex GalCadillac239
101546Orion Race TeamBence NémethiIlkka HaapalaPorsche226
11177PRIVATE LABEL Team HypeConnor HarringtonAdam BlockerCadillac214
122034RISE eSportsNick OttingerMatt BussaCadillac0
13111Williams EsportsJosh LadMatt J. FarrowBMW215
14999Apex Racing TeamPeter BerrymanMaxime BrientBMW192
151071BMW M Team RedlineChris LulhamDiogo C. PintoBMW181
16492VRS CoandaZac CampbellMichael RomanidisPorsche178
171189BMW M Team BS+COMPETITIONPedro Sanchez AlbertNiklas BeuBMW160
181462HydroRace Geodesic RacingAustin J YoungGraham SandersCadillac147
191918WAVE ITALY Racing TeamMìchael MarianiPablo EspesPorsche132
20569Drago RacingArturo MelgarJaidyn LadicAcura136
211896Obsidian RacingSergio Gurdiel FerreiroPablo LazarPorsche113

IMSA Esports Global Championship GTD results from Race #4 at Daytona were as follows:

Fin.

St.

No.

Team

Driver 1

Driver 2

Manufacturer

Pts

19170Team RedlineOle SteinbratenGianni VecchioFerrari372
21120Dörr EsportsJesse JonesDamon WoodsPorsche355
33178Maniti RacingTim MatzkeMaxime MariotteLamborghini330
42143Altus Esports PurpleJordan CarusoDino LombardiPorsche312
525190Mercedes-AMG URANO eSportsLuca KitaAlexey NesovMercedes-AMG266
66114Simufy eSportsGabi MontoroTristan IglesiasPorsche275
713199Apex Racing TeamJimmy AntunesSalva TalensBMW258
811169Drago RacingKira WolfManuel TroncosoFerrari250
917175Team75 Bernhard by SimRCAdam J IsakssonAntti AholaPorsche234
1016155Mercedes-AMG Team Williams EsportsAlessandro BicoDaniel LafuenteMercedes-AMG225
1115116Puresims Esports GTDRoss MacfarlaneLukas PradaBMW216
1222157Impulse RacingBalazs PallaChris T ShorterFerrari199
1323192Mercedes-AMG URANO eSportsConstantin TscharfNiclas LaubischMercedes-AMG188
1412163DeltaSportGregory HovesenCarl ModoffLamborghini189
1521101Mercedes-AMG E-Sports Team ARTLuke McKeownAlejandro SánchezMercedes-AMG170
1624111Arnage CompetitionJames T ArmstrongDavid TothBMW157
1718153Mercedes-AMG Team Williams EsportsDaniel PásztorVasilios BeletsiotisMercedes-AMG153
1810144Altus Esports GreenCarlos FenollosaSimone Maria MarcenòLamborghini151
1920188VRS CoandaOscar PyXander ReedPorsche131
2019102Virtualcoach.gg by GnGSven HaaseNicolás RubilarFerrari122
214171Team RedlineJosh ThompsonFlorian LebigreFerrari128
228103Grid-and-Go.com eSportsGovand KeanieJakub KwiatkowskiLamborghini113
237110MAHLE RACING TEAMOskari RinneFelix QuirmbachBMW104
245196BS+TURNERRainer TalvarPhil DenesBMW96
2514162Brabham EsportsHunter McdanielStephen McDonaldLamborghini77

Final IMSA Esports Global Championship GTP points through Round 4 are as follows:

  1. #91 VRS Coanda, 1213
  2. #90 URANO eSports Datagroup, 1136
  3. #43 Altus Esports, 1120
  4. #4 CrowdStrike Racing #4, 1100
  5. #11 Williams Esports, 1092
  6. #15 Race Clutch, 1086
  7. #71 BMW M Team Redline, 1068
  8. #95 XSET, 1064
  9. #99 Apex Racing Team, 1055
  10. #16 Puresims Esports, 924

Final IMSA Esports Global Championship GTD points through Round 4 are as follows:

  1. #170 Team Redline, 1451
  2. #101 Mercedes-AMG Team ART, 1272
  3. #190 Mercedes-AMG URANO eSports, 1143
  4. #199 Apex Racing Team, 1046
  5. #178 Maniti Racing, 929
  6. #192 Mercedes-AMG URANO eSports. 888
  7. #196 BS+TURNER, 853
  8. #143 Altus Esports, 834
  9. #114 Simufy eSports, 834
  10. #102 Virtualcoach.gg by GNG, 832

IMSA ESPORTS iRACING OPEN CHALLENGE

Prior to the start of the IMSA Esports Global Championship finale, a 20-minute support race utilizing the GT4 class took place for iRacing members that qualified through Time Attack sessions the week prior. Dubbed the IMSA Esports iRacing Open Challenge, 25 drivers took part in the sprint race for bragging rights to open the show in place of the Countdown to Green.

William Chadwick, in a Porsche 718, took the pole position and led a good chunk of the way, but on the final lap, he made contact with Corentin Guinez, also driving a Porsche 718, as they exited Turn 4 and charged towards the checkered flag. Chadwick crossed the line in first, by 0.008 seconds over the Aston Martin of Lukas Lindqvist, but following post-race penalties, Lindqvist was declared the winner by 0.055 seconds over the Porsche of Ian Gagnon-Renaud.

IMSA Esports iRacing Open Challenge results from Daytona were as follows:

  1. #99 Lukas Lindqvist, 11 LAPS
  2. #18 Ian Gagnon-Renaud, -0.055 seconds
  3. #214 Alvar Gomez, -0.291 seconds
  4. #128 James F Beumee, -0.868 seconds
  5. #200 Eric Grove, -0.906 seconds
    ———————————————-
    15. #88 William Chadwick, -29.000 seconds (PENALTY)
    17. #19 Corentin Guinez, -50.228 seconds

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.