On December 5, we saw the culmination of the BMW SIM 120 Cup in the form of the season finale which was a part of the BMW SIM LIVE 2020 event. The race took place on iRacing, and was streamed on the BMW Motorsport YouTube channel. It featured ten world class sim racers who had qualified for the finals during the six rounds of the regular season.
Among those taking part were a host of famous names in the world of racing esports, such as 2020 Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup winner Sebastian Job, iRacing genius Max Benecke, Coanda Simsport's star driver Mitchell deJong and more.
While this event was the conclusion of the BMW SIM 120 Cup season, it didn’t bear too much of a resemblance to the six previous rounds. While the regular season rounds had involved drivers racing as teams of two for two hours per race, the finale mixed things up by having the qualified drivers go head to head for a 25-minute sprint to the line. One thing that did stay the same was that every driver was piloting a BMW M8 GTE.
Silverstone was determined to be the venue for the showdown, as voted for by the fans. In qualifying, it was the big names who topped the order. Each driver was able to record two flying laps, with almost all improving on the second attempt. However, Joshua K Rogers’ pace was such that his first lap would have been enough to secure him pole. As it was, he improved anyway, and claimed the top spot on the grid with Benecke alongside.
For all his dominance in qualifying, the opening of the race did not go Rogers’ way. He got away poorly on the rolling start, allowing both Benecke and Red Bull Racing Esports Team' Graham Carroll to move ahead of him into the first corner. The first corner drama didn’t end there, however, as Sebastian Job was bumped from behind, sending him into the side of Mitchell deJong. Both drivers span off as a result of the contact, and their races were effectively over before they had truly begun.
Rogers was not to be disheartened by his poor getaway, and it was not long before he found his way back past the Scotsman Carroll and back into second position. The race was still young, and next on the Australian’s hit list was the Team Redline driver Benecke. With eighteen minutes to go of the 25, Rogers sent his car down the inside of Benecke’s into Brooklands. The move was late, and the two made significant door-to-door contact. This forced the German off of the circuit, and Rogers took the lead.
Fierce battle for the top
Any relief the polesitter felt at having regained his lead was short lived. Only a couple of minutes later a stewards ruling was announced which found Rogers at fault for the contact, and obliged him to give back the position to Benecke. What’s worse, Benecke had also lost another position to Carroll when he had been forced off track. This meant that Rogers had to give up track position to Carroll as well as Benecke, and the Scotsman became the third leader of the race with sixteen minutes to go.
Carroll’s lead didn't last long, however. The very same lap as he took first, he was challenged by the second placed Benecke into Stowe. The two went side-by-side, and the battled raged on for the next two corners. In their squabbling, they compromised one another in a major way through the final section of the lap, allowing Rogers to sweep straight back past the pair of them in one fell swoop. The lead he had been forced to concede half a lap ago was Rogers’ once more.
From this point onwards, there was no looking back for the Coanda Simsport driver. Carroll continued to frustrate Benecke for another lap, which allowed Rogers to build an advantage of over a second to the duelling pair. When Benecke finally did pass Carroll, he had a minor mountain to claim to catch the leader.
What a race from @JKRogers_92! Absolute dominant pace and going from 3rd to 1st twice in the race. @MitchelldeJong1 got involved in a T1 incident unfortunately which cut his chances short.@realVRS@SchaefflerGroup@BMWMotorsport pic.twitter.com/Gj1YOpOumK— Coanda Simsport (@CoandaSimsport) December 5, 2020
The second half of the race was a comparatively reserved affair, in which Rogers steadily drove away from Benecke to claim the win by two seconds at the chequered flag. Benecke demonstrated that he was the second-best driver on the day by seeing off the third placed Carroll by a margin of three seconds. Every participant claimed a monetary prize, but it was Rogers who took the lion’s share in the form of $12,000.
What did you think of Rogers' victory? Tell us on Twitter at @overtake_gg!