Ryan Otis won the race, and remained undefeated in the process, but it was rookie Dustin Wardlow who captured the first Lionheart Challenge Series championship in the season finale at Sebring International Raceway.
“Thank you guys, this is awesome,” Wardlow said as the Radical SR-8’s slowed on the cool-down lap.
Wardlow was a model of consistency, finishing in the top 10 in all ten events, with seven top 5’s. Despite failing to win a race, Wardlow edged Ryan Otis by 9 points.
Otis started just eight races, but dominated the series in those starts, winning all eight while winning five poles. Travis Jegerlehner, another Lionheart newcomer, finished third in points, with Ronald Hacker and Vincent Bluthenthal the top five.
Otis dominated the season finale at Sebring. The pole sitter relinquished the lead to Wardlow for two early laps, but then made his move and never looked back, leading 36 while beating Jake Wright by just over 2 seconds. Wardlow settled into third to secure the championship.
“This car is so much fun,” Otis said. “Too bad I missed some races.”
The Challenge Series saw 46 drivers take a green flag in its first season, with 18 starting at least half the events. The series expanded from the original MX-5 Challenge, and will continue towards the end of the year.
The league turns its attention to the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment, with 40 of the world’s best iRacing fixed setup IndyCar drivers set to embark on season five, with a record number of prizes, when the cars hit Homestead Miami Speedway on March 1 for the First Medical 200, live on Global SimRacing Channel at 10:40 p.m. EST.
The Lionheart Retro Series returns to the track for round three at the historic Watkins Glen International on February 23. That race can also be viewed on the Global SimRacing Channel at 10:40 p.m. EST.
The Lionheart Challenge Series is coming to a close as the drivers compete in the penultimate race of the season! Ryan Otis would lead the entire race, but it wasn't an easy stroll to victory lane! For the first half of the race, the top four cars were nose to tail, sometimes even side-by-side through the back half of the Mid-Ohio Race Course!
Mid-Ohio was, as expected, a very difficult track to pass other drivers on, which meant positions were a premium! Jake Wright would finish second, David Altman would finish third, Travis Jegerlehner would take fourth, and Dustin Wardlow would round out the Top 5!
Next week we head to Sebring, to the the final race of the season! The Championship battle will no doubt be exciting to watch! Dustin Wardlow leads the championship by a good 27 points over Ron Hacker in second! So be sure to join us in the sunshine state for the season finale! We'll see you there!