Jan Magnussen escaped from his rivals on a wild first lap of The Race Legends Trophy opener on former IndyCar track NOLA.
Magnussen lost his pole advantage to last week’s Silverstone winner Dario Franchitti off the line but regained the lead by braking extremely late into the first corner and holding on despite running very wide.
David Brabham then tried to grab the lead with a huge dive further around the opening lap only to run wide and spin.
Magnussen quickly built up a two-second advantage that he steadily extended to the finish, with touring car legend Andy Priaulx getting ahead of Franchitti in the early chaos to secure second.
Brabham recovered to fourth, helped by race-long mayhem among the motorsport greats all driving Brabham BT44Bs on rFactor 2.
Jenson Button was on Franchitti’s tail until being tagged by Emanuele Pirro and spun down the order – one of many incidents Pirro packed into the five laps.
Pirro somehow still made it home fifth, just ahead of Juan Pablo Montoya – with the pair then colliding after the finish line.
Helio Castroneves and Rubens Barrichello were in the top five before colliding at the start of the final lap and spinning down to seventh and eighth, ahead of Button and Darren Turner.
The second race later on Saturday will feature a reversed grid, placing double Formula 1 world champion Emerson Fittipaldi on pole position.