Stoner Car Care driver Ben Waddell, has been making the most during motorsports’ shift to esports during the temporary break in IMSA competition. The Colorado native put his extensive real and virtual world racing experience to excellent use as he won the opening round of the FR Americas iRacing series at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta on March 24th.
To fill the void of physical racing due to the coronavirus pandemic, several racing series have embraced the online racing platform to keep their racers active and their fans engaged. Waddell has been participating as a guest driver in the FR Americas online series as well as IMSA sanctioned iRacing events.
Running under the Swindell SpeedLab virtual tent for the virtual FR Americas race, Waddell returned to a formula car setup for the first time since racing in the 2017 F4 U.S. Championship, where he had two podiums and two top five finishes in 20 starts with JDX Racing.
As many drivers in the sport are getting accustomed to the world of virtual racing, Waddell has an edge up on the competition having utilized the iRacing platform throughout his career to accelerate his race preparations.
“Whenever I have the time, I utilize iRacing when possible,” said Waddell. “It is a fun program to continue racing when we aren’t physically able to. Participating in different events creates different levels of competition and that keeps the sport fresh and exciting. I didn’t know what to expect when I signed up for the FR Americas iRacing series. Coming out of the first race with a win was a great way to start off.”
Having had to balance track time with budget, Waddell has utilized the online racing platform for as long has he can remember.
“My driving skills are completely sim-trained,” said Waddell. “I didn’t start racing in go-karts, like most drivers do, before getting into a car. I have been using iRacing since I was 13 years old and I became an alpha driver that tested the program before it was released to the public. The advanced technology of the program is a tool that helps drivers reach a new level of skill set when you get into a race car.”
Waddell has also been working on his IMSA virtual racing schedule, having been invited to race in the first IMSA sanctioned virtual race at Sebring International Raceway on March 21st. With a 2020 schedule that has already seen him race in the TCR class in IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge competition, Waddell was eager to mix it up with a field that included drivers from nearly every facet of IMSA competition including the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The 90-minute race kicked off with Waddell starting from 24th. Equipped with the Stoner Car Care liveried Porsche 911 RSR, Waddell battled through the opening round to finish 14th in the field of 50 entries.
IMSA has announced a bi-weekly series of Thursday night races to be known as the "IMSA iRacing Pro Series,” and Waddell has elected to move to the Ford GT platform for the remainder of the races.
The series will follow the same format as the 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 and will be streamed at iRacings YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPEcqkRG-kf2Vk6Rn_2WZSQ
IMSA iRacing Pro Series Thursday Night Thunder
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
About Invisible Glass
Automatic Racing sees their way to victory with Invisible Glass, the top-selling automotive glass cleaner in the United States. The Invisible Glass product line includes aerosol and spray bottle cleaner, Invisible Glass with rain repellent for windshields and wiper blades. Find more online at https://www.invisibleglass.com/
About Stoner Car Care
Stoner Car Care produces high-performance car washes, waxes, polishes, and dressings for auto enthusiasts and car care professionals. The Stoner Car Care line-up includes Invisible Glass, America's #1 Automotive Glass Cleaner, along with many other appearance products. Whether driving, washing or waxing, Performance Matters! Stoner car care proudly formulates all of our product since 1942
About Automatic Racing
Based in Orlando, Automatic Racing is one of the longest-running teams in the paddock, forming in 2001 and competing in all but one of the 11 MICHELIN Pilot Challenge races at Daytona. The team has been developing, preparing and racing the prestigious Aston Martin Vantage GT4 since 2012. Automatic Racing won the 2017 MICHELIN Pilot Challenge title.