Race two of the Digital Nürburgring Endurance Series, powered by VCO was held on Saturday, April 4 with the Williams Esports team taking the chequered flag after three hours of virtual racing.
A total of eight virtual BMW Z4 GT3s are registered in the series, including BMW Team Green Hell with BMW works drivers Martin Tomczyk and Jens Klingmann (both GER), the BMW Bank team with BMW works drivers Bruno Spengler (CAN) and sim racing YouTuber Jimmy Broadbent (GBR), as well as the BMW Junior Team with Dan Harper (GBR), Max Hesse (GER) and Neil Verhagen (USA).
BMW Group MotorsportdDirector Jens Marquardt says, “In the current situation, motorsport events at the racetrack are unfortunately inconceivable. We established sim racing as an additional pillar in our motorsport programme last year.
“This basis has given us the opportunity to run virtual motor racing from home right now. It is really exciting to see our BMW works drivers take on other professional racing drivers, as well as some of the best sim racers in the world, particularly when they do so in our virtual race cars, like the BMW M8 GTE or the BMW M2 CS Racing in the BMW Sim Cups.
The race was broadcast live via the internet with drivers sitting at home on their own race simulators. During the virtual driver changeover, the driver hands over the car to his team-mate, who could be sat in a different city, country, or even continent. Apart from the g-force, the physical demands are almost as great as in a real racing car. In the case of a crash, the car must return to the garage for repairs and wait an amount of time appropriate to the damage before it can return to the track. Race control can also impose time penalties.
Jens added, “I find it fascinating how similar animation and TV images sometimes are to a real race. Our drivers keep telling us that sim racing helps them to permanently improve some of their real racing skills as well. I think sim racing is a great addition to our motorsport involvement and a welcome distraction for fans and drivers, particularly these days.”