For William Byron, iRacing is a tool and a way to give back

Photo by NKP / NKP Photo

By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer

For William Byron, creating an eNASCAR iRacing World Championship Series team is about passion and giving back.

William Byron eSports fields two cars in NASCAR’s officially sanctioned eSports series for John Gorlinsky and Nick Ottinger. Byron’s team will utilize car No. 25 for Ottinger and the No. 97 for Gorlinsky.

iRacing serves a dual purpose for Byron. The sim racing service provides an outlet to practice and prepare for upcoming races. It is also something that the Hendrick Motorsports driver is passionate about.

Byron explained just how instrumental and passionate he is about using simulators:

“It’s really cool, something that I’m passionate about. When I think of our sport, there’s really no way to pick up a football and throw it. Unlike other sports, we don’t have that same ability to practice. Being in the GM sim and on iRacing is really my only way to get better. I feel like that’s how I actively get better throughout the off-season.

“It’s great to start the team. I think my guys will do well. I’m just excited about watching, it gives me something to pay attention to outside of our races.”

Famously, iRacing was instrumental in Byron’s career. While starting on iRacing, in his early teens, the Liberty University sponsored driver also began racing in Legends Cars. The Charlotte, N.C. native quickly moved up the ranks, winning rookie-of-the-year in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series in 2016, NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship in 2017, and Cup Series ROTY honors in 2018.

Much like Byron, several of the sim racers in the eNASCAR iRacing World Championship Series race or have raced in the past. The 2019 Champion, Zack Novak, raced in the past and his championship win earned him the opportunity to test a US Legends Car and a NASCAR Pinty’s Series car.

“I was really fortunate that all of the steps along the way worked out,” Byron explained. “Having Liberty University as a supporter of mine throughout my whole career so far has been great for me. Now it’s all about performing at this level. I’m just trying to give back, do something I’m passionate about. I know there are a lot of kids on iRacing that are really good too. Hopefully they can get a shot one day.”

In addition to utilizing iRacing as a tool, Byron has spent time on Chevrolet’s simulator.  The combination provides a unique dynamic for the 22-year-old and his engineers.

“I’ve done a lot of work in the simulator. We’ve been in there once already this year. We’re going to be in next week as well. I feel like that has been a great avenue for myself and my engineers to get better.”

The undertaking for Byron to create William Byron eSports involved more than he expected. The team is still in talks with potential sponsors. While iRacing has a hand in funding, WBe will provide its’ drivers with bonuses depending on how the season turns out.

“I’ve been doing a lot of iRacing. I started my iRacing team, pretty excited about that. That’s a big undertaking, a lot more than I thought it would be. iRacing funds some of it. Obviously if my guys do well there will be bonuses and things along the way. We’ve got some potential sponsors too. That was an off-season project, but I’m also focused on what we’re going to do in Daytona.”

The eNASCAR iRacing World Championship Series begins Feb 11 at the virtual Daytona International Speedway.

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