With a number of races and competitions in motorsports closed due to the Coronavirus, people are finding different ways to feed their hobbies and keep practicing at the same time. BMW has been involved in a number of SIM Racing competitions for some time now and this past weekend was filled with such events. BMW drivers even took part in some, alongside other big shots, some even from Formula 1.
Maximilian Gunther, one of the drivers competing for BMW i Andretti Motorsport took part in Sunday’s ‘The Race All-Star Esports Battle’ against sim races and other professional racing drivers. The virtual race took place on the legendary Nurburgrig and Max managed to finish in second place during the qualifying rounds, being only beaten by Formula 1 driver, Max Verstappen.
Max wasn’t the only BMW driver involved in the action. BMW Team RLL driver Colton Herta also competed, managing to qualify third and finish the race on the 10th place. Unfortunately for Max, he didn’t finish the race.
Nevertheless, he enjoyed the experience, saying: “In the current situation, where it is impossible for real racing events to take place, sim racing is a fantastic opportunity for all of us to stay involved and compete in more races. It is great to compete against other drivers who I would otherwise never meet on the racetrack, and to go up against such unbelievably fast sim racers, who I have a lot of respect for, in this way. I think that we all put on a great show for the fans. I can see myself taking part in more events like this in the future.”
Other professionals taking part included António Félix da Costa, currently heading the Formula E drivers’ standings, former Formula 1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya, as well as IndyCar drivers Felix Rosenqvist and Simon Pagenaud.
In the main race, the two BMW drivers Günther and Herta put on another strong performance as they battled for top ten positions. Herta’s finish made him the second-best professional racing driver, behind Rosenqvist.
Victory and prize money of 4,000 US dollars were claimed by sim racer Jernej Simoncic.
Sunday featured yet another interesting Sim Racing event, this time in Romania. The local BMW branch is one of the sponsors if the local Romanian Racing League, which is a sim-racing championship now in its fifth season. The maiden race of the season took place last night and featured pilots and VIPs at the starting line, as well as a professional commentary and live feed on social media platforms.
Over 80 contestants and 20 teams signed up for the challenge and only 30 could qualify for the actual race, so the fight was on.
All racers competed using BMW E30 M3 models just to keep things interesting and the hostilities were carried out on the virtual version of the Red Bull Ring GP track in Austria, with over 11,000 people tuning in, to check out the race.