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Kenton Koch claims first win for Ford in IMSA iRacing Pro Series

Koch win

Kenton Koch won the IMSA iRacing Pro Series race Thursday night at virtual Virginia International Raceway, giving Ford its first victory in the sports car sim racing series.

The No. 80 Kenton Koch Racing Ford GT started on the pole and led much for the race before being passed by Jesse Krohn’s No. 24 BMW with a lap remaining. Just before the white flag, Koch bumped Krohn off course and cruised to a 4.939-second victory over Shane van Gisbergen.

“I mean I hate for it to be that way,” Koch said in an IMSA release about the contact with Krohn. “Unfortunately, I got in there a little hot and there was definitely a little bit of net code between us there. I didn’t mean to do that intentionally at all. It was good fun, but man, my heart was pounding for that entire hour and a half. That was good fun and the paint job was good luck this time.”

RESULTS: Click here for results from the IMSA iRacing Pro Series at VIR

STANDINGS: Click here for the IMSA iRacing Pro Series standings after VIR

It was the first IMSA iRacing Pro Series victory for Ford after Porsche picked up its first series victory in the fourth race of the series. The first three races of the season were won by BMWs.

After finishing second earlier in the season in a BMW, van Gisbergen finished runner-up Thursday in a Porsche. The AIM Vasser Sullivan driver’s team fields Toyota Lexus in the GTD Series of IMSA’s WeatherTech Challenge.

“It’s really a different car,’ van Gisbergen, a Supercars veteran who has multiple starts in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, said in an IMSA release. “We obviously don’t have a Lexus representative in the game so we run what we think is going to be best. It was cool, all the cars are quite different.

“Obviously, I can’t run the Ford due to the conflict with Holden. That’s what (AVS teammate) Jack (Hawksworth) was in and he found that to be the fastest car, so it was sort of switching between a manufacturer brands there, but the Porsche seems to be the most comfortable and easy to drive. I’ve been struggling with qualifying and the BMW guys really know how to qualify good in that car and I struggled with it. So, starting up front certainly helped us.”

Agustin Canapino finished third in the No. 66 Juncos Racing Ferrari 488, marking the first podium for Ferrari in the IMSA iRacing Pro Series competition and the first time three manufacturers made the podium.

With a fifth-place finish, BMW’s Bruno Spengler maintained the championship standings lead by 31 points over teammate Nicky Catsburg.

In the IMSA iRacing Challenge Series at virtual VIR, Greg Liefooghe won Thursday by 2.753 seconds over Nelson Lawrence.

NEXT: The IMSA iRacing Pro Series and iRacing Challenge will hold their season finales June 11 at virtual Watkins Glen International.