Christopher Hill and Chris Braun scored closely contested race wins at Road America in the first official broadcast event of the BMW CCA Club iRacing Series.
The first BMW CCA sanctioned Club iRacing Series brings professional drivers, club racers, sim racers, and BMW enthusiasts together in competition on tracks pulled from the real BMW CCA Club Racing schedule in one of the latest machines added to the iRacing platform, the BMW M4 GT4.
The first of this fall’s three events powered by the Podium eSports network was broadcast Live on October 27 from Road America and is available to watch right now on the BMW CCA Facebook page and YouTube channel. The next event on the calendar goes live from Road Atlanta on BMW CCA channels, Thursday, November 5 at 9PM ET/6 PM PT.
“I got enough of a gap, so I was feeling a bit more comfortable,” said Hill after his win in race one. “Just had to click off the laps…not make any major mistakes.”
BMW Performance Center driver Christopher Hill began the first of two twenty-minute virtual club races at the 4.048-mile Road America circuit from the inside lane after a strong 2:17.2 pole time. Buckeye Chapter driver Kurt Polter held the front row’s outside line with Dave Heinz from the Allegheny Chapter close behind.
Separated by less than a second, the top three BMW M4 GT4s showed strong pace as a group while they quickly extended a gap of several seconds on the rest of the field. All three were nose-to-tail through the first ten minutes of race one, no driver gaining a distinct advantage over the others, until a solo spin by Heinz dropped him back to eighth as Boston Chapter driver Chris Braun avoided the incident to inherit the third place position.
Behind the top three, Ismel Sierra, on a hard charge through the field after starting ninth, was hot on the rear bumper of fourth place Matt Kalish. The two New York Chapter drivers battled closely, with Sierra slowly gaining tenths as the race approached its final lap. Capitalizing on a fast run down the front straight, Sierra positioned himself on the outside into the sweeping turn one right-hander with Kalish defending inside. Down the hill and along the straight they fought, with Sierra finally sticking the pass in the tight turn five left-hander to firmly take fourth.
Ahead, Hill took the advantage in the now two-way battle at the front, the Performance Center driver opening a 1.5-second lead on Polter through the penultimate laps; a lead he would maintain to the flag.
Rounding out the top ten in race one were Adam Poll, Rafael Omar Rivas Espinal, Dave Heinz, Peter Eacmen, and Peter Lanik.
Identical in format to the previous round, race two at Road America was a second twenty-minute sprint around the historic 4.048-mile road course. The finishing order of race one would be carried into the start for race two.
“Once I had the lead, I was gonna keep it,” said Braun about his victory in race two.
The early stages of race two featured an immediate continuation of the first race battle between Polter and Hill. The two leaders fiercely faced off in the first frame of the race, with Braun close behind ready to capitalize on any mistakes. His opportunity came just past the race’s halfway point, when Hill made contact with Polter’s rear bumper in the heavy braking zone of turn one and sent both drivers wide as Braun slipped past into the lead.
Hill and Polter rejoined the track just ahead of fourth place Sierra and a dialed in Heinz, the latter driver making up positions from his spin and eighth place finish in race one. As the clock ticked below five minutes, the group of four jockeyed for position as Braun extended his lead beyond the 2 second mark. Hill passed Polter for second position a lap later as Sierra grew more aggressive close behind.
As the white flag waved, Sierra made a late-braking move down the inside of Polter into turn one, but overshot the corner entry. Contact between the battling BMWs sent Polter into the dirt again as Heinz passed both to seize the final podium spot with Kalish and Adam Poll of the Trillium Chapter slotting into fourth and fifth, respectively.
Ahead of the incident, Hill pushed hard through the final lap in a bid to catch first-place Braun. He made up ground, but not enough. Braun took the race two win by 1.25 seconds.
The top ten in race two was rounded out by Kurt Polter, Ismel Sierra, Peter Eacmen, Alex Perry, and Peter Lanik.
Next up, the BMW CCA Club iRacing Series takes a trip south to Georgia for two races through the rolling hills of Road Atlanta on Thursday, November 5. The stream begins at 9 PM ET/6PM PT on the BMW CCA Facebook and YouTube pages, as well as on Podium eSports network. For more information on BMW CCA Club iRacing visit BMWCCAClubRacing.com/iracing.—Matt Kalish
Watch live on the BMW CCA YouTube Channel.
Full BMW CCA Club iRacing Series results from Road America are as follows:
Finish Start Car # Driver Chapter Interval
1 1 1 Christopher Hill Pacific
2 2 44 Kurt Polter Buckeye -2.182
3 4 17 Chris Braun Boston -2.617
4 9 19 Ismel Sierra New York -10.874
5 5 54 Matt Kalish New York -11.454
6 6 11 Adam Poll Trillium -14.824
7 17 82 Rafael O Rivas Espinal North Atlantic -21.624
8 3 57 Dave Heinz Allegheny -27.087
9 10 488 Peter Eacmen New Jersey -27.114
10 11 294 Peter Lanik National Capital -29.934
11 12 35 Colin Kortanek National Capital -34.754
12 13 141 Yakov Bielak National Capital -48.728
13 15 33 Charlie Copper Buckeye -51.465
14 8 176 Cameron Evans Tejas -58.286
15 22 50 Jose Williams Tarheel -1:02.234
16 21 507 Matthew Scott Boston -1:25.615
17 7 609 Robert Gagliardo Blue Ridge -1:31.925
18 18 142 Matthew Kogan San Diego -2:02.151
19 16 22 Steven Flanagan National Capital -2:17.090
20 20 26 Alex Perry Golden Gate -1L
21 19 28 Tyler Perry Roadrunner -2L
22 14 77 Brooks Ezell Tarheel -2L
Finish Start Car # Driver Chapter Interval
1 3 17 Chris Braun Boston
2 1 1 Christopher Hill Pacific -1.148
3 8 57 Dave Heinz Allegheny -3.558
4 5 54 Matt Kalish New York -10.196
5 6 11 Adam Poll Trillium -15.142
6 2 44 Kurt Polter Buckeye -17.834
7 4 19 Ismel Sierra New York -19.335
8 9 488 Peter Eacmen New Jersey -23.361
9 20 26 Alex Perry Golden Gate -34.024
10 10 294 Peter Lanik National Capital -40.962
11 15 50 Jose Williams Tarheel -47.019
12 21 28 Tyler Perry Roadrunner -48.344
13 13 33 Charlie Copper Buckeye -48.958
14 11 35 Colin Kortanek National Capital -55.602
15 12 141 Yakov Bielak National Capital -56.642
16 14 176 Cameron Evans Tejas -56.981
17 18 142 Matthew Kogan San Diego -1:07.403
18 19 22 Steven Flanagan National Capital -1:08.942
19 16 507 Matthew Scott Boston -1:11.904
20 7 82 Rafael O Rivas Espinal North Atlantic -1:24.111
21 17 609 Robert Gagliardo Blue Ridge -2 L
22 22 77 Brooks Ezell Tarheel -2 L
[Photos courtesy Matt Kalish.]