Grand Prix Turn Racing iRacing Series Race Preview: Pocono Raceway

Only two races remain in the 2023 Grand Prix Turn Racing iRacing Series season. On Thursday, 26 of the top ranked open-wheel drivers will once again go oval racing, this time on “The Tricky Triangle,” Pocono Raceway. With the oval updates to the Dallara iR-01 this year, Pocono joins Texas on this year’s calendar among the usual assortment of road course races. Przemyslaw Marek Lemanek holds the points lead and could leave with the championship a race early if it all goes his way. Tune in for the action starting at 19:00 GMT (2PM ET) with the event streaming live across iRacing social media channels.

Last Race: It was finally Apex Racing Team driver Michele Costantini’s time to shine in Austria last week. The eighth race of the season was possibly the calmest to date as strategies played out amongst the top drivers. Stormforce Gaming’s Michael Janney took a second straight pole position, but Altus Engineering’s Carlos Fenollosa was able to jump to the lead early on. Tire strategies would play out where the hard compound tires were mostly unused—those who did wind up on a set would lose too much time over the ability to save tires. The winning strategy was Costantini’s, as he started fourth on mediums and pitted later in the going to switch to softs. VRS driver Edoardo Leo took the second position while Lemanek wound up third after starting in 14th.

Last Season: While ovals were not on the menu in the inaugural 2021 season, the penultimate race set the stage for the finale and a championship that would come down to the very last lap. Suzuka, the second to last race of that year, was won by Maarten Van Loozenoord. With Peter Berryman finishing in third, the championship was only separated by two points leaving Japan to head to the Monza finale a week later. While Lemanek has a much tighter hold on the lead, with more than a race’s worth of points over Arnage Competition’s David Toth, if Toth were to win and score the fastest lap while Lemanek went point free, it would only be a one point difference heading to the finale.

Track Facts: Pocono Raceway, located in the Pocono Mountains at Long Pond, Pennsylvania, is technically a three corner oval, with turns modeled after Trenton Speedway in Turn 1, Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Turn 2, and The Milwaukee Mile in Turn 3. Combined with the long straightaways—the frontstretch being one of the longest out there—Pocono offers a unique challenge to all forms of motorsport competitions. Pocono has hosted open wheel events in the past, but the 2.5-mile triangular venue sees NASCAR as its main attraction.

Next Up: Once again, Autodromo Nazionale Monza will end the Grand Prix Turn Racing iRacing Series in 2023. Its classic GP layout will be the site where a champion is crowned again if Lemanek doesn’t clinch at Pocono. The 11-turn, 3.6-mile “Temple of Speed” hosted the 2021 title battle between Berryman and Van Loozenoord, the former winning the race and title on that day. 

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