BMW M Motorsport customer racing teams have been competing in virtual races, including the iRacing 24h Nürburgring, while real motorsport is postponed for the foreseeable future.
The Nordschleife has been the home of Walkenhorst Motorsport, and moving to virtual racing made sense when real racing at Green Hell was not feasible.
Team manager Niclas Koenigbauer said, “At that moment, when it became clear, we immediately took a good look around and considered what we could do instead. After all, we are all positively mad about motorsport.
“We very quickly hit upon sim racing on the Nordschleife. E-sports has been on our list for a long time. However, for time reasons, it has never made it to the top of the list.”
Walkenhorst assembled two teams and are fielding BMW Z4 GTEs in all races in the Digital Nürburgring Endurance Series (DNLS). Regular drivers David Pittard, Mikkel Jensen and Christian Krognes are being supported by sim racers Scott and Sam Michaels.
The team is investing time in getting up to the standard of the top sim racers who compete on the virtual Nordschleife every week.
Pittard commented, “I did used to sim race as a hobby, but had to face the fact that I was miles behind the real sim racers when I started to get involved with Walkenhorst Motorsport. I have trained incredibly hard for the last four weeks and spent at least four to five hours a day on the simulator.”
Turner Motorsport, which uses BMW M6 GT3s and BMW M4 GT4s in various North American series, has turned to the BMW M8 GTE for the virtual races. The M8 is running the team’s blue and yellow livery for the IMSA iRacing Pro Series.
Turner Motorsport’s team boss, Will Turner, said, “We have always looked for new ways of presenting our passion for racing, our brand and our partners. As such, e-sports was already on our radar before the current situation developed. We have been monitoring the market for years and believe that it has not yet peaked.”
Sim racing pro Robby Foley has been driving alongside BMW works drivers Bruno Spengler, Philipp Eng, Jesse Krohn, Nick Catsburg, John Edwards and Connor De Phillippi. Foley started competing in iRacing in 2011 and has worked with Turner Motorsport since 2018.
Last year Foley won the IMSA races in Mosport and Road Atlanta alongside Bill Auberlen, and finished runner-up in the GTD drivers’ championship.