EDITOR’S NOTE: Welcome to the third installment of the 2020 TReSports ePreview! The 2020 eNASCAR iRacing World Championship Series kicks off on February 11th, 2020, at the virtual Daytona International Speedway. The goal is to have a preview for each team out before that date.
The name “Williams” in motorsports is most commonly associated with Formula 1 racing.
They also have a huge hold in the eSports racing community.
Williams eSports launched in the Formula 1 eSports world back in 2018.
From there, Williams Esports’ reach grew from their initial launch in competing in the Codemasters Formula 1 game out to many other sim racing platforms.
One of those platforms was on the iRacing.com Motorsports Simulations, where they joined many different disciplines of racing, including the eNASCAR iRacing World Championship Series.
Williams eSports joined on as one of the original twelve teams that competed in the 2019 iRacing draft, and returns to once again field two drivers in the 2020 season.
2019 provided many things to be thankful for, including this new @chillblast PC I just received. Thanks to @WilliamsEsports and @chillblast for this beauty. Its performance is off the charts and I’m very excited to have a strong, reliable PC for the 2020 season!#enascar #iRacing pic.twitter.com/ZfRF7EpHfi
— Matt Bussa (@mbussa5) January 1, 2020
Matt Bussa was drafted sixth overall by Williams eSports in the 2019 eNASCAR iRacing draft and will return to the same seat in 2020.
In 113 starts and eight seasons in the eNASCAR iRacing World Championship Series, Bussa has one win at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 2018. Bussa also has collected 14 career Top 5 finishes, 36 career Top 10 finishes, and finished fourth overall in the 2018 driver’s standings.
“One of the best things about Williams (eSports) is that their focus is on eSports,” Bussa said. “With all the other teams, their main focus might be on a Cup program for NASCAR.
“Williams has their own headquarters in Europe. They are really dedicated to eSports on a global platform. They travel country to country, almost every other week it seems like. That dedication is something I really love about them and is the main reason I rejoined.”
— Ryan Luza (@RyanLuza) January 8, 2020
Opposite of Bussa will be a former champion of the series in 2020 campaign.
Last season, Ryan Luza drove the No. 53 G FUEL Toyota Camry for FlipSid3 Tactics. FlipSid3 was the only team that didn’t return from the 16 teams that competed in 2019.
Nonetheless, the 2017 eNASCAR iRacing World Champion found a home during the free agency period that allowed him to stay in the No. 53 car, that being with Williams eSports.
“NASCAR is making such a big push towards eSports, and Williams (eSports) already has a really strong holding in eSports, which is nice,” Luza said.
“The offer was really, really good. They have amazing sponsors for computer products that’s really going to help me out.”
Luza replaces Brian Schoenburg in the seat that was formerly the No. 55 Toyota in the 2019 season.
Besides the title in 2017, which was also Luza’s rookie campaign, the new driver of the No. 53 Williams eSports ride has collected twelve victories in 47 races over three seasons.
In those 47 starts Luza also has a whopping 36 Top 10 finishes, 29 of which were Top 5 finishes, as well as nine pole positions.
— WILLIAMS ΞSPORTS (@WilliamsEsports) February 12, 2019
2019 WILLIAMS eSPORTS RECAP
Fresh off a career season in 2018, Matt Bussa was tapped to drive the first entry for Williams eSports in the 2019 eNASCAR iRacing World Championship Series.
Bussa was drafted sixth overall and took control of the No. 5 Williams eSports Toyota Camry.
Filling out the team’s roster with the 19th overall draft pick was Brian Schoenburg. Schoenburg has been a regular in the series since the beginning for nine of the ten seasons, with a best points finish of fifth in back to back seasons in 2012 and 2013.
— WILLIAMS ΞSPORTS (@WilliamsEsports) March 12, 2019
Unfortunately, neither Williams eSports driver saw the success they were hoping for in the 2019 season, struggling to find pace and stay out of trouble in many races.
Collectively, Williams eSports took home two Top 5 finishes on the season. The first of those came at Auto Club Speedway, where Bussa took home a fifth place finish on the day.
Schoenburg provided the other Top 5 finish at Richmond Raceway with the team’s best finish of the season of fourth place.
Bussa collected a total of five Top 10 finishes on the season, and it was enough to place the driver of the No. 5 Toyota in the Top 20 in the standings, in 19th place, locked in for the 2020 series.
At one point, Bussa lamented in the fact that he had been involved in so many incidents through the season. Looking forward, he hopes to minimize those incidents and hopes to focus on bringing his car home in one piece.
“With this package, it’s not all luck, but it’s a lot of unpredictability,” Bussa said. “Big wrecks can happen at the mile-and-a-half tracks that we haven’t seen in the previous packages.”
Still, Schoenburg wasn’t near as fortunate as his teammate, as he struggled to earn anything better for the remainder of the season than an eleventh place finish, which he got at Kansas Speedway.
The end result was a 30th place finish in the driver’s standings at year’s end, and a trip back to the iRacing Pro Series to try and qualify back into the 2020 series roster.
Schoenburg was able to produce a Top 5 finish, as well as three Top 10 finishes during the Pro Series, and qualified back in with an eleventh place standings finish.
During the free agency period, Williams eSports and Schoenburg did not re-up with one another, opening a spot up for Ryan Luza to jump in.
LUZA MOVES TO WILLIAMS eSPORTS DURING FREE AGENCY
Luza was the second overall pick during the eNASCAR iRacing draft in 2019, and in his new FlipSid3 Tactics, he was a strong contender for the title out of the gate.
Luza collect victories in three of the first five races of the 2019 campaign, checking off the ‘W’ column at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway, and Richmond Raceway.
Starting the season off with six Top 10 finishes, five of which that were Top 5 finishes in the opening six races of the season, it didn’t seem that Luza could be knocked down.
That possibility came to fruition, though, as for the remaining eight races in the regular season, Luza recored three finishes outside the Top 20, and also missed the regular season finale at Bristol Motor Speedway. The turn of events cost Luza the Regular Season Title, which was won over him by 10 points by Blake Reynolds.
The playoffs didn’t fare much better for Luza, as he was unable to finish any better than 20th in the three races before the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Luza ended the season with a Top 5 at Homestead, and a sixth place overall finish in the driver’s standings.
When the 20 teams were announced for the 2020 eNASCAR iRacing World Championship Season, FlipSid3 Tactics was not listed as one of the returning teams, which meant the former champion was entering the free agency period looking for a new team to call home in 2020.
Williams eSports wasted little time in signing Luza, as the team announced their signing the day before the iRacing ‘Media Days” in Charlotte.
The goal for Luza in 2020? “After last year, I just want to make the Top 8 again,” Luza said. “I think that’s a pretty simple goal, but you never know what’s going to happen.”
The eNASCAR iRacing World Championship Series season begins at Daytona International Speedway on February 11th, 2020. The race is expected to be streamed live on iRacing’s Twitch stream, with the start time usually at 9:00 pm ET.
Look for ePreview #4 soon!
Columnist / Reporter / Photographer / Webmaster for TheRacingExperts.com