Red Bull Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen made another star appearance in the BMW SIM 120 Cup’s Road Atlanta race.
But his hopes of repeating his third place from the Nurburgring round were dashed when his wheel disconnected mid-way through the event.
In the penultimate round of the iRacing BMW SIM 120 Cup, Verstappen qualified in fifth in the Team Redline Orange car and quickly moved up to third after getting a good start and taking the inside line into Turn 1.
On the second lap Verstappen gained another position by diving up the inside of Coanda Simsport’s Dayne Warren into the Turn 10 chicane, making minor contact but securing second place.
Warren returned the favour later in the race, forcing Verstappen to go onto the grass and cut the chicane, but the lack of momentum when rejoining the track allowed Warren to pull to the right hand side of Verstappen and take the inside line for the final two corners to reclaim second place.
Just before the end of the first hour and the driver change, Verstappen had dropped back five seconds to Warren and nine seconds to the race leader Tuomas Tahtela.
As he was lapping the backmarkers Verstappen’s wheel lost connection under braking for the first corner, causing him to go straight on and into the tyre barrier and taking a lapped driver off with him.
Verstappen was able to regain control of his car and got back into the race, but lost 10 positions as a result of his brief hardware issue.
Patrick Moser took to the wheel for the second half of the race and ended the race in 12th for Team Redline Orange.
Finnish esports team KOVA won the two hour event with its drivers Tahtela and Valtteri Alander earning themselves $1200 each and a ticket to the BMW SIM Live final in Munich at the end of the year.
🇫🇮 is joining the party at the BMW SIM LIVE event in December!
— BMW Motorsport (@BMWMotorsport) September 20, 2020
Coanda Simsport’s number eight car finished second and only seven seconds down on the winners, but that still nets the drivers Warren and Tommy Ostgaard $600 each.
A late spin by Joshua Anderson for Vendaval Simracing Yellow cost the team third place and gave it to MSI eSports 120’s driver pairing Alejandro Sanchez and Salva Talens.
Thibault Cazaubon and Maarten van Loozenoord finished in fifth, the highest placed of the two R8G Esports cars.
Romain Grosjean took part in the top tier BMW SIM 120 Nurburgring event, but for the Road Atlanta race both he and his team-mate Mathias Beche ran in a lower tier.
Grosjean qualified on pole position and led the race until a lapped car spun at the final corner and rejoined into the path of Grosjean, forcing the Haas F1 driver to pit earlier than expected.
The extensive damage that needed to be repaired meant he and Beche spent a long time in the pits, and eventually finished the race in 28th.
The final round of the BMW SIM 120 Cup will take place at the Interlagos circuit on November 8 and will be the final opportunity for simracers to earn their place in the BMW SIM Live final LAN event.