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IMSA will continue iRacing Pro Series next week at Laguna Seca

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IMSA is the latest motorsports series to start its own iRacing Series.

Building off its “Sebring SuperSaturday” event last month, the sports car circuit will continue the IMSA iRacing Pro Series with an April 16 race at Weather Tech Raceway Laguna Seca.

The six-race, biweekly series, which will be single-driver, 90-minute formats, also will race at Mid-Ohio, Watkins Glen International and two tracks to be named. Fields will be open to IMSA drivers and capped at 50 entries.

‘IT FELT LIKE REAL LIFE’: Drivers on how simulated Sebring went

Drivers will have a choice of four GTLM cars: the BMW M8, Porsche 911 RSR, Ferrari 488 and Ford GT.

BMW driver Bruno Spengler led a sweep of the top three for the automaker in the Sebring SuperSaturday opener.

Here’s the release from IMSA on its iRacing Pro Series:

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 3, 2020) – Following last month’s successful IMSA Sebring SuperSaturday on iRacing event, IMSA and iRacing have taken the next step in establishing a bi-weekly series of Thursday night races to be known as the “IMSA iRacing Pro Series.”

The series will follow the same format as Sebring SuperSaturday – 90-minute, single-driver races using recent IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Le Mans (GTLM) race cars: the BMW M8, Porsche 911 RSR, Ferrari 488 and Ford GT. With the Sebring event serving as the first round of an anticipated six-round championship, the series will resume on Thursday, April 16 on the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca iRacing circuit.

The full IMSA iRacing Pro Series Schedule is as follows:

March 21 – IMSA Sebring SuperSaturday

April 16 – WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca

April 30 – Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

May 14 – IMSA venue to be determined

May 28 – IMSA venue to be determined

June 11 – Watkins Glen International

“Our Sebring SuperSaturday event and subsequent iRacing events held by other sanctioning bodies have proven to be popular with race fans,” said IMSA President John Doonan. “We had a fantastic turnout of participating drivers and strong viewership, which ignited further discussions among our IMSA team, our partners at iRacing and many of our other partners.

“Together, we determined that a series of races that somewhat mirrors what our actual 2020 WeatherTech Championship schedule would have been prior to the COVID-19 stoppage was logical. With that, the IMSA iRacing Pro Series was born.”

The invitational series will be open to IMSA drivers. As was the case for Sebring SuperSaturday, the field will be capped at a maximum of 50 entries.

IMSA will establish a points system for drivers based on their finishing position – beginning with last month’s Sebring SuperSaturday. An IMSA iRacing driver champion will be crowned at season’s end.

All races will be streamed live on iRacing’s YouTube channel, Twitch channel and Facebook page, which will include commentary from IMSA Radio announcer John Hindhaugh. Pre- and post-race programming also is planned for The Torque Show, hosted by Justin Bell and Tommy Kendall.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).