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Will Hunt fought his way to a Bronze class victory on his iRacing league debut in Rounds 3 and 4 of the 2021 Simracersworld BMW Trophy at Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari Imola (3 February).

Hunt gladly accepted an invitation from his official apparel partner Abruzzi Racewear to compete in iRacing’s newest one-make series with professional sim racing team, RLR Abruzzi eSports.

The Radical SR1 Cup race winner qualified 21st overall for the 30-minute sprint race but ascended to 15th to head the Bronze classification on the opening lap, before settling into a competitive rhythm in the 1m44s.

However, the RLR Abruzzi eSports debutant spent the remainder of the race defending his position against vastly more experienced sim racers who would ordinarily be found battling for outright honours.

Hunt’s real-world racing experience came to the fore, supreme car placement and a cool head frustrating the hard-charging and aggressive Sam Baxter and Paul Gosling, who eventually forced their way through.

Contact at Tamburello sent Hunt skimming across the gravel, but the Brighton racer remained the lead Bronze driver and finished ahead of his RLR Abruzzi eSports teammates to win the class on his iRacing league debut.

Hunt started the feature race where he finished the sprint in 17th overall, and the Abruzzi Racewear Brand Ambassador kept his nose clean and breached the top six places during a chaotic first lap, before being punted off by title-contender Sebastian Heberer.

Having tumbled to 13th, he briefly recovered to the top ten, only to receive another push that cost him four places prior to his mandatory refuelling stop, from which he emerged down in 24th overall and sixth in class.

Pushing on, Hunt picked up three places on the road during the latter third of the bruising 45-minute contest and ultimately took the chequered flag as the fourth-highest Bronze runner in 21st position, receiving the plaudits of the commentators, who had been thoroughly entertained by his bold overtakes and stubborn defensive driving.

“I’m delighted to have achieved a Bronze class victory on my Simracersworld BMW Trophy debut with RLR Abruzzi eSports,” said Hunt. “As I started my training in racing simulators, it almost feels like I’ve gone full circle, except eSports didn’t really exist when I started out in motorsport. Now, sim racing is large-scale, and it was eye-opening to see the level and how seriously people take it. It was certainly more challenging than I expected, but it was great to put my name out there in the virtual world and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

“Sim racing will keep me fresh during the off-season and it’s definitely the best form of practice for when I get my real-world testing and racing programme back underway. This year, it’s possibly more important than ever to maximise my sim time because there are so many unknowns over how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact the 2021 calendar. Through my apparel partnership with Abruzzi, I intend to invest more time and energy in eSports. I’m very impressed by RLR Abruzzi eSports’ professionalism and its cohesive approach, and I’m sure the team’s support will help me adapt to the limitations of sims and become a better eSports driver.”

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