SRO Esports - 2021 SRO E-Sport

July 14, 2023

Too tight to call as the Intercontinental GT Challenge Esports Powered by Mobileye field roars into the 24 Hours of Spa

This weekend a total of 47 teams and 202 drivers will take part in one of the biggest Esports races on the planet as the Intercontinental GT Challenge Esports Powered by Mobileye combatants tackle the showpiece 24 Hours of Spa.

Fresh from the legendary Belgian circuit hosting the epic CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa in the real world, now the world’s best GT sim racers will do battle in the virtual version, with the longest race on the calendar likely to play a pivotal role in the chase for the lion’s share of a huge €58,000 prize fund.

Once again, the field will be split into two classes, with the headline Pro category featuring industry leading professional sim racers running with established teams and manufacturers, and the Silver class catering for the best talent from across the Assetto Corsa Competizione community. All races will be staged in partnership with AK Esports.

Pro: McLaren Veloce looking to bounce back big at Spa

In the Pro class, McLaren Veloce currently leads the way courtesy of a superb victory in the opening Intercontinental GT Challenge Esports Powered by Mobileye clash of the season at Bathurst. Luke Whitehead, Grantas Kareckas, George Boothby and Maciej Malinowski controlled proceedings in Australia to open out an early advantage in the standings. However, things were less simple during the last outing at Kyalami where the crew struggled to seventh place, meaning their points advantage is far from comfortable.

Leading the chase is BMW M Team BS+Competition, which bounced back from a rocky opening round to finish second in South Africa with Nils Naujoks, Gregor Schill, Arthur Kammerer and Philippa Boquida driving its M4. They run just 10pts shy of Veloce, and will be hungry to go one better at Spa.

Despite the longer race duration, Williams Esports Mercedes-AMG Team sticks with the proven trio of Dennis Schöniger, Dáire McCormack and Dominik Blajer that has helped the team to third in the championship, just one point behind BS+Competition. However, both Blajer and McCormack have been outright event winners at Spa in recent contests (in the online Europe Sprint Series and SRO Esports SIM Pro Series Powered by RAFA Racing Club, respectively) so this team could well hold an edge heading into the biggest event of the season.

Williams Esports was triumphant during the Kyalami 9 Hours last time out, with its Audi R8 LMS Evo II driven by Tinko van der Velde, Igor de Oliveira Rodrigues, Vojtech Fiala and Charlie Crossland working its way up to fourth in the standings, a fine recovery after a disappointing start to the campaign at Bathurst.

David Tonizza headlines the Automobili Lamborghini Esports Team entry that runs sixth in the standings. Alongside Danilo Santoro, Luca Losio and Alberto Garcia, Tonizza will be keen to overturn the recent run of bad luck that has haunted him since his breakthrough win for the Sant’Agata marque during the SIM Pro contest at Circuit Paul Ricard back in June.

Others to watch for include Scuderia Ferrari Esports Team’s 296 GT3 (Jordan Sherratt, Chris Harteveld, Andrea Capoccia, Jonathan Riley), ITB Saintéloc Racing’s Audi (Kamil Pawlowski, Mikhail Statsenko, Mateusz Tyszkiewicz, Mathias Khun), Mercedes-AMG Esports Team Unicorns of Love (Bastian Richter, Tobias Pfeffer, Tobias Gronewald, Michael Tauscher) and Legion of Racers’ Mercedes-AMG crewed by Asia Sprint Series stars Dillan Tan, Andika Rama Maulana, Moreno Pratama and Luis Moreno.

Silver: RennWelten eSports – Red keeping it clean to stay ahead

The key to endurance racing is consistency, and right now nobody is doing it better than RennWelten eSports – Red’s quartet of Ferrari drivers. Leon Berndt, Tim Pietschmann and Linus Lucaßen may be winless so far, but their ability to execute clean races and bring the car home has handed them the early advantage – third in Bathurst being followed by a sixth in Kyalami. They will be joined for this race by Samir Ibraimi, instead of regular co-driver Joris Apel.

Behind are two teams who have certainly found success, if not consistency. Just five points back is West Competition Racing’s similar Ferrari 296 GT3. A superb win in Australia was tempered by a damaging non-score in Kyalami, leaving Harris Mitropoulos, Tadas Juknevicius, Zaahir Essa and Marc Tol in second. They add Dragos Simion to the line-up for the longer race at Spa.

It’s a similar story, but reversed, for Team Racing Point’s Aston Martin, which failed to score in round one, but bounced back in the perfect fashion to secure a dominant win at Kyalami in the hands of David Pertile, Amedeo Castorino, Lukaš Mateja and Mattia Zampedri. As a result, they’re tied in second place with West Competition, as just 10 points separate the top five in the class.

Fourth sits YAS Heat Esports’ Ferrari (Valentin Barrier, Jaroslav Honzik, Edgars Marhilevics, Shaun Arnold – plus Angel Inostroza for this round), with Asetek SimSports Visceral’s Ferrari (Jeffrey Richie, Aidan Walsingham, Renan Negrini and Nik Babin) fifth.

Also keep an eye out for Absolute RES-TECH by Acelith’s Aston Martin (Michael Romagnoli, Michele Perrella, Simone Iezzi, William Pisano), GetCloserRacing’s similar Vantage AMR (Felix Arndt, Manuel Popp, Sven Hettich, Tom Gorka, Tobias Schurr) and Amamentario’s Ferrari (Rafal Staszak, Vladislav Kolosov, Dmitry Kofanov, Artyom Manisha, Alexei Kopstov).

Action for the Intercontinental GT Challenge Esports Powered by Mobileye 24 Hours of Spa gets underway with free practice and qualifying on Saturday 16 July ahead of the race start at 16:00CEST. The entire race will be streamed live via the GT World YouTube channel.