By Christopher Paiz, Lone Star Region PCA
In the coming weeks, Porsche Club of America members will be taking to the virtual race track in iRacing to compete in the first racing season of 2020: Series 4. For the uninitiated, The PCA Sim Racing Series gives PCA members the ability to compete in some of the most exciting Porsche race cars at world-famous race tracks, all from the comfort of their homes.
From the beginning, the goal of the PCA Sim Racing Series was to create a sort of virtual version of PCA club racing. While real-life wheel-to-wheel racing raises significant barriers to entry, both financial and physical, sim racing can lower those barriers significantly. These lowered barriers along with a level playing field with identical race cars for competitors to drive provide an exciting experience to both participate in and spectate.
Every race of the PCA Sim Racing Series is broadcasted live by Podium eSports LLC on the iRacing eSports Network. These broadcasts give PCA members a chance to share their racing experiences with friends and family as well as anyone else who is interested in esports.
Series 1 laid the foundation for the PCA Sim Racing Series. The eight-race championship took place on some of the most iconic US racetracks such as Sebring, Circuit of the Americas, and Watkins Glen. The final race finished under the lights of the world-famous Daytona International Raceway. Participants drove the difficult but rewarding Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (991.2) which provided close, exciting racing. The 911 Cup has no driver aids such as traction control or Anti-Lock Braking systems. Porsche themselves use the 911 Cup as a training vehicle for its future drivers.
Billy Smith II (Maverick Region) gained a sizable championship points lead over the field and never looked back. He won half of the races in the series and took home the championship over James Huth (Hudson Champlain Region) and Michael Polasek (Northern New Jersey Region). PCA provided prizes to the top three finishers including a trip for Billy Smith II to the Porsche Experience Center in Atlanta. Here, he met up with other PCA members and got to experience a real Porsche on the test track, time in Porsche’s dedicated simulators, and a tour of the wonderful facility.
For the second Series, PCA Sim Racing traded out the 911 Cup for the fire breathing, mid-engined monster known as the Porsche 911 RSR. More power, more grip, more sound: this summed up Series 2. This is the virtual version of the car that in 2018 won GTLM at Le Mans piloted by Porsche factory drivers including Michael Christensen and Laurens Vanthoor. Like Series 1, PCA members competed in the RSR at famous North American tracks with the finale at Sebring International Raceway.
In a tremendous display, William Levesque (Rennsport Region) won every single Series 2 race and the outright championship. He was truly in a class of his own. John Koch (Chicago Region) received second honors followed closely by Michael Polasek (Northern New Jersey Region), who repeated his performance from Season 1 with another third-place championship finish. As with Series 1, PCA provided prizes for the top three championship finishers.
With two series under its belt, the PCA Sim Racing Series made some notable changes for the third season. Series 3 saw a return to the Porsche 911 Cup only this time on short configuration courses with a shortened calendar at five races. This car on short tracks with up to 40 drivers taking the green flag led to some exciting battles where the winner needed to not only be fast but also manage lap traffic effectively. Tracks for this series included the typical iconic US tracks, but for the first time introduced an international track with Canadian Tire Motorsports Park located in Ontario, Canada.
Also new for the PCA Sim Racing Series was the introduction of multiple classifications with Rookie classed drivers competing in their own field as well as against the broader field. Multi-class races bring another dynamic race within the race by allowing drivers to compete against other similarly skilled/experienced drivers.
Series 3 saw fierce competition throughout the season with the top two drivers both winning two races each. Gresham Wagner (First Settlers Region) brought home the overall championship just ahead of John Koch (Chicago Region) who placed second and Leif Peterson (Maverick Region) who placed third. As usual, PCA provided prizes to the top three finishers in the championship.
Series 4 of the PCA Sim Racing Series started on March 6th and is shaping to be the biggest series yet with over 150 drivers registered.
Drivers have returned to the GTE classified Porsche 911 RSR raced back in Series 2. Also, multiple classifications for drivers will ensure that participants will find the competition of similar skills no matter where they are on the race track. Drivers are divided up into four classes based on skill and experience: PCA Rookies, PCA Sportsman, PCA Club, and PCA Pro. In addition, PCA has partnered with Virtual Racing School (VRS) for customized car setups designed exclusively for the series. As always, Podium eSports will be streaming live broadcasts of each race.
Series 4 is a culmination of what the PCA has learned over the previous seasons. The PCA Sim Racing Steering Committee is comprised of volunteers who all want to make the series one of the most fun leagues on the iRacing service.
Series 5 and Beyond
This is an exciting time to be a PCA member and sim racer. Participation in the PCA Sim Series is at an all-time high, new cars and tracks are becoming available for use (Porsche GT4 Clubsport MR), and viewership of races is on the rise.
If you are interested in joining the fun, visit www.pcasimracing.com(link is external) for more information. To get started, all you need is a wheel and pedal set, subscription to iRacing.com, and a current PCA membership. In addition to the races described above, the PCA holds “e-Driver’s Education” events on a weekly basis. Here, current PCA sim racers will help you get acclimated to sim racing and will answer any questions you may have about hardware, software, race craft, or even Porsches in general.
PCA Sim Racing Series 4 – It’s time to go racing again!