GT World Challenge Esports Endurance Series join forces to become Intercontinental GT Challenge Esports

Endurance Series in Europe, Asia and America merge to create comprehensive global championship

• Pro and Silver categories introduced for Intercontinental GT Challenge Esports and continental Sprint Series

• Entry fee and prize pool restructured, additional bonuses for top-10 teams and drivers.

The GT World Challenge Esports Endurance Series in Europe, Asia and America will join forces this year to form the new Intercontinental GT Challenge Esports, bringing together the best sim racers from across the globe to compete at five iconic venues.

Organised by SRO Motorsports Group and Ak Esports in partnership with Fanatec, Kunos Simulazioni, Pirelli and The Sim Grid, utilising the highly authentic physics and unmatched driving realism of Assetto Corsa Competizione, the new championship will tackle legendary long-distance events such as the 24 Hours of Spa and Bathurst 12 Hour. Pro and Silver categories will be implemented to ensure a more dynamic and competitive field, while this system will also be adopted by the continental GT World Challenge Esports Sprint Series, which will continue to run in Europe, Asia and America this season.

What’s more, a new entry fee and prize structure have been introduced for teams and drivers, with even more to play for in the Pro and Silver classes of each championship. The prizes on offer include Fanatec gear, VIP hospitality for events and track activities, bringing the total value of cash and sponsor products to €120,000. 

New year, new series

The new Intercontinental GT Challenge Esports will test competitors at five of the world’s best-known and most demanding venues. It kicks off on 16 April when the Bathurst 12 Hour is staged at the iconic Mount Panorama, followed by the Suzuka 10 Hours (21 May) at Japan’s legendary figure-eight circuit.

The biggest challenge of the season will see competitors undertake a gruelling twice-around-the-clock contest when the 24 Hours of Spa runs on 18-19 June. The 8 Hours of Laguna Seca (16 July) and the Kyalami 9 Hours (27 August) will conclude the campaign and decide the destination of the title. 

Each continental GT World Challenge Esports Sprint Series will also consist of five rounds in 2022. In Europe, the championship will play out with 60-minute contests at Misano (6 April), Zandvoort (4 May), Nürburgring (8 June), Hungaroring (6 July) and Monza (3 August). In a change from 2021, each European event will run on a Wednesday.

The Asian season will begin at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on 13 April before tackling Imola (11 May), Bathurst (15 June) and Zolder (13 July). It concludes on home turf with a deciding round at Suzuka on 24 August. Like its European counterpart, the GT World Challenge Asia Esports will also take place on Wednesdays in 2022. 

For American competitors, each event is scheduled to run on a Saturday. Zolder kicks off the action on 23 April followed by Silverstone (28 May), Kyalami (25 June) and Donington Park (9 July). There will be a home finale for the American contingent, too, with Laguna Seca wrapping up the season on 13 August.

New Pro and Silver categories launched

A new driver rating system is set to be implemented in 2022, using last year’s performances as a guide. Any driver who scored at least 25 points in the European championship, or at least 15 points in the Asian or American championships, will be eligible for entry to the Pro category. Those who did not reach this points threshold will qualify for the Silver category. 

Pro line-ups for Intercontinental GT Challenge Esports will be nominated by manufacturers and must feature at least two Pro drivers at each round, while manufacturers may nominate a maximum of two cars each for Sprint Series events. 

Should they not do so, these slots will be awarded via a qualification process for Pro-ranked sim drivers. Every team nominated by a manufacturer will be automatically considered Pro, as will its drivers.  In the Silver category, there can be only one Pro driver per Intercontinental GT Challenge Esports team. 

Following manufacturer nominations, the qualification process for the remaining Pro team slots will take the form of hot-stint qualifying at two different tracks featured on the calendar. Drivers must set five valid laps during a stint, within 107% of their fastest time and without returning to the pits. The fastest stints from each driver are then combined to make a team average. The top-ranked teams on the leaderboard will be eligible to race in the Pro class. 

In the Silver category, 3 drivers must set a hot-lap around three tracks from the calendar. The combined average of all three times at all three circuits is placed on the leaderboard, with the top-24 ranked teams eligible to compete in the Silver class. 

Entry fee, prize pool and testing for balance of performance  

Thanks to a restructured entry fee and prize pool, the 2022 season will see more drivers rewarded in both the Pro and Silver classes of Intercontinental GT Challenge Esports and the continental Sprint Series. 

Pro and Silver drivers will have their own prize pool and entry fee for the year, which will cover all races during the 2022 season. The prize pool will reward the top-10 teams in the Pro class, and the top-10 drivers in Silver, with a grand total of €120,000 in cash and sponsor’s products available to be won.

Additional prizes will be awarded to teams and drivers in the top-10, including Fanatec and AK Informatica gear, VIP hospitality for a selected race event, and track activities

What’s more, a new testing format will be introduced this season to ensure that the series remains as competitive as possible. Thanks to a new Balance of Performance (BOP) method, drivers can request a test in different machinery. They can then compare data and times should they feel another competitor has an advantage within the game, ultimately leading to fairer racing and closer on-track competition. 

Entries for the Silver class will open first. For those hoping to compete in the continental Sprint Series, the qualification phase begins on 21 February, while Intercontinental GT Challenge Esports qualifying commences on 28 February. For drivers eligible to compete in the Pro categories, qualification begins on 14 March for the Sprint Series and on 21 March for Intercontinental GT Challenge Esports. 

With new initiatives in place and a consolidated global endurance series set to launch, the season ahead promises to take the competition to the next level.

Find out more and register on the official website at sro-esports.com

About KUNOS Simulazioni

Kunos Simulazioni is a software house specialized in developing driving simulations for the videogame market and professional applications. 

The company launched in 2005 as a one-man show, and now involves professional expertise capable of producing the technology required to satisfy a diverse range of requirements: from professional training software for car manufacturers and racing teams to advanced videogames dedicated to simracers looking for a driving model with maximum realism. 

The “Assetto Corsa” racing game is the best result of this vision, turning a driving simulation into one of the most recognized and popular brands of racing videogames. 

Its latest iteration, “ASSETTO CORSA COMPETIZIONE”, is one of the most appreciated GT racing simulations on the market, representing a benchmark in terms of car handling, visual realism and track accuracy.

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About Fanatec

Fanatec is the leading brand for dedicated sim racing hardware, including force feedback steering wheels, pedals, and complete cockpits for PlayStation, Xbox, and PC-based racing simulators. Fanatec is a brand of Endor AG, based in Germany, the company has more than 20 years of experience in developing and manufacturing sim racing equipment, constantly striving for innovation and quality. Fanatec is the official hardware partner for several different esports series, including F1 Esports Pro Series, the eSport WRC Championship, and SRO E-sport GT Series, with the sim racing hardware being an integral part of the live broadcasts all over the world. Fanatec is also the main sponsor of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Powered by AWS. Find out more at www.fanatec.com.

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About AK Esports

AK Esports is an Italian company leader in the organization of Esports competitions, Esports team management and events all over Europe, with a special focus on Sim Racing. Created by Ak Informatica, italian PC Gaming Expert, since 2004 the company has seen a steady growth every year since then, working on the latest technology and Gaming titles to develop Esports Entertainment. Ak Esports developed several Esports assets for many different car manufacturers and in 2019 together with SRO Motorsport Group and Kunos Simulazioni created the first SRO Esports.  Championship. Find out more about AK at www.akesports.it

SRO Motorsports Group – The global leader in GT racing

With nearly three decades’ experience at the forefront of a continuously evolving industry, SRO Motorsports Group is the established global leader in GT racing. A busy 2021 season will see events staged under the SRO banner on five continents, highlighted by the prestigious Total 24 Hours of Spa. 

The company’s expanding portfolio of series includes Fanatec GT World Challenge Powered by AWS categories in America, Asia, Australia and Europe. Each retains its unique identity, while also allowing competing brands to dispute a global manufacturers’ title through their continental representatives. What’s more, a groundbreaking new initiative for 2021 will see virtual racing come together with the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS Endurance Cup, where a series of e-sports contests will count towards the real championship.

Staged since 2016, the flagship Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli sees world-leading manufacturers compete through their local teams at marquee events across the globe. Considerable emphasis is placed on amateur competitors, too, with the GT Sports Club concept combining a relaxed environment with highly professional standards for drivers using GT2 and GT3 machinery.

SRO also works with the FIA to organise and promote the FIA Motorsport Games, a multi-disciplinary event in which drivers compete in the colours of their national flag. A range of international and domestic series catering for GT2, GT3, GT4 and touring car machinery also form part of an extensive on-track programme, while the burgeoning sim racing scene has taken on considerable importance through the SRO E-Sport GT Series. 

In addition to promotion and organisation, the company operates the SRO Race Centre by MMC service facility at Circuit Paul Ricard, and provides the ultimate driving opportunities at world-renowned venues through Curbstone Track Events. Combining a passion for performance with industry-leading experience, SRO continues to play a key role in shaping the future of global GT racing.

JMX Phantom’s Rachmat/Bahar/Martono reign supreme at Mount Panorama

> Legion of Racers complete Bathurst 6 Hours podium
Qualifying result | Race result | Championship standings

JMX Phantom moved into the GT World Challenge Asia Esports Endurance Series championship lead with a comfortable victory at the Bathurst 6 Hours earlier today.

Fadhli Rachmat, Avila Bahar and Presley Martono came home 35.6s clear of Legion of Racers’ Andika Rama Maulana, Dillan Tan and Moreno Pratama after finally getting the better of the Mercedes-AMG late in the fourth hour.

Monza winners and erstwhile championship leaders Full Pace Racing looked set to complete the podium but were beaten to third in the final 30 minutes by Legion of Racers’ second Mercedes-AMG driven by Damon Woods, Luis Moreno and Thanathip Thanalapanan.


POLEMEN OVERCOME EARLY PENALTY

The race began with a multi-car pile-up at Turn 1 when contact between front row starters Martono and Philippa Boquida sent the Laundry House driver spinning across the track. The #666 Mercedes-AMG, along with several other cars, suffered significant damage in the resulting impacts, but somehow the championship’s three leading entries – who all started in the top-six – emerged unscathed.

Martono and Rama Maulana both relieved Moreno of the lead further around lap one before JMX Phantom’s McLaren established a 14s advantage by the end of the opening hour.

However, a 10s time penalty incurred for lap one’s accident – which was served during the first pitstop – as well as Legion of Racers’ faster stop allowed Maulana’s co-driver Tan to emerge with a slender lead over Martono, who remained behind the wheel. The pair were seldom more than a second apart until the final moments of the second hour when Martono toughed it out around the outside of Turn 1 to have the ideal inside line into Griffin’s Bend.

Behind, Huang moved Full Pace Racing’s Ferrari up to third by passing Legion of Racers’ other Mercedes-AMG driven by Moreno but remained around 26s shy of the leaders.

Ahead, Martono’s eye-catching move on Tan was undone during the second stops when Legion of Racers once again turned their Mercedes-AMG around faster than JMX Phantom could service the McLaren. But this time Rachmat couldn’t pass Maulana and dropped even further behind #889 – now piloted by Pratama – with just over two hours remaining.

Rachmat wasn’t deterred, though, and closed down his 12s deficit before passing Pratama at The Chase with just over two hours remaining. This time the team’s penultimate pitstop matched LoR’s, allowing Bahar to emerge with the 10s lead intact.

Tan managed to match the McLaren for a while but JMX Phantom’s advantage proved too great. Martono, who returned for the final stint, ultimately took the chequered flag 35 seconds clear of the chasing Mercedes-AMG.

Full Pace Racing’s Ferrari enjoyed a trouble-free run but didn’t have the speed to match its championship rivals ahead. Still, third place appeared likely until the final half-hour when Thanalapanan rapidly closed down and passed ZhaoJie Zheng. Nevertheless, Monza winners Kelvin Chen and KuiSheng Huang still head to the Suzuka 10 Hours just six points behind new leaders Rachmat and Bahar.

Inspeed Racing’s Jiacheng Jiang, Chen Zhong Guo and Hawasa Quan dropped off the lead lap but were still the best of the four Bentley entries in fifth. They were followed home by The Odd Bods who picked up a place late on through LOR Tarmac eMotorsports’ unscheduled stop after also engaging in an exciting mid-race battle with Wako’s Fliptable Racing and HPD JAS Pro Asia.

Z-Challenger Racing and JMX Juniors, who ran as high as fifth early on, completed the points scorers in ninth and 10th.

Elsewhere, Boquida hinted at what might have been for Laundry House by lighting up the timing screens during her scintillating comeback in the opening hour. The entry shared by Terry Rayton and Andrew Laurenson might even have made it back on to the lead lap without the latter’s real-world brake failure that ended the team’s day early.

They, along with several other entries, will be hoping for better luck when the Endurance Series concludes at Suzuka on November 27.

Full Pace’s Huang/Chen beat JMX Phantom to Endurance Series victory in Monza 3 Hours thriller

> Just 0.2s separates Ferrari and McLaren after tense finish
> Monza 3 Hours Qualifying Result | Race Result and Championship Standings

Full Pace Racing’s KuiSheng Huang and Kelvin Chen hung on to claim victory in the GT World Challenge Asia Esports Endurance Series season opener at Monza after beating JMX Phantom’s Fadhli Rachmat and Avila Bahar by just 0.2s on Assetto Corsa Competizione.

The Ferrari and pole-winning McLaren were side-by-side across the line at the start of the final lap after Rachmat slowly but surely caught Chen during the last hour. However, the long-time leader held his position into Turn 1 and rebuffed further advances before taking the chequered flag barely ahead of the 720S.

The top-two, along with fellow podium finishers Dillan Tan and Andika Rama Maulana (Legion of Racers, Mercedes-AMG), were in a race of their own throughout much of the three-hour encounter after early incidents and penalties delayed several other potential front-runners.

One of them, Wako’s Fliptable Racing’s Aston Martin, finished fourth despite ending the first 20 minutes down in 14th, while Laundry House overcame a spin, drive-through and five-second pitstop penalty to somehow take sixth.

Just ahead, The Odd Bods Honda made it as many different manufacturers inside the overall top-five.


CHEN AND RACHMAT SERVE UP SCINTILLATING FINISH

Such were their fluctuating fortunes and speed that it wasn’t clear which of the three standout teams and cars – Full Pace Racing’s Ferrari, the McLaren of JMX Phantom, and Legion of Racers’ #889 Mercedes-AMG – would prevail until the final corner of the last lap. Indeed, each of the trio were never far from the front across the three hours.

Rachmat’s pole time, which was 0.3s faster than anyone else, initially pointed towards JMX Phantom. However, a poor getaway for his co-driver Bahar allowed second and third place starters Huang and Tan to jump ahead.

Tan wasn’t done, though, and took the lead at Variante della Roggia on lap two via a move that cost Huang momentum and ultimately dropped the Ferrari to fifth behind Bahar, Damon Woods and Kin Long Li.

However, Full Pace Racing then received a slice of luck two laps later when Woods sent Long Li spinning exiting the second Lesmo. Not that Huang waited for Woods to serve his drive-through penalty; instead, he passed the Mercedes-AMG down the inside at Turn 1 before setting up the three-way battle out front that would remain a feature of the final two hours and 20 minutes.

In truth the trio were never nose-to-tail as one. Instead, Legion of Racers’ Tan was as many as six seconds clear in the opening stint before Bahar trimmed the gap to under one second just before the first scheduled stop after an hour, while Huang was a further four seconds further back.

After pitting together, Legion of Racers’ Rama Maulana emerged with a similar advantage over Huang, who remained onboard the Ferrari. However, Bahar’s replacement, Rachmat, resumed nine seconds and one place further behind the race leader.

But changing drivers wouldn’t prove beneficial to Legion of Racers who dropped from first to third during the second hour. Indeed, it was just after half-distance that Huang muscled his way through into Parabolica before Rachmat pulled a similar move 20 minutes later at Turn 1.

Thereafter the latter was unable to make further inroads into the Ferrari’s advantage, which stood at eight seconds after the second round of stops.

But Rachmat, who remained behind the wheel, had kept something in reserve and began chipping away at the newly installed Chen’s lead. With 40 minutes left it stood at five seconds, then three as the final 20 minutes approached, and two with 10 minutes remaining. With Rama Maulana unable to give chase, the battle for victory was now a two-horse race.

Soon, there was nothing between Chen and Rachmat whose McLaren was clearly quicker than the Ferrari on low fuel and worn tyres. His best chance would come and go as the cars crossed the start/finish line for the final time, the 720S almost fully alongside the 488 but, crucially, on the outside line for Turn 1.

Rachmat continued hassling Chen throughout the final lap, darting this way and that in an effort to dislodge the leader. But Chen was having none of it and defended superbly en route to a hard-fought victory and 25 valuable points.

Maulana’s pace dropped sufficiently over the final laps to leave Legion of Racers’ Mercedes-AMG 15s behind the top-two at the chequered flag. However, he was still comfortably clear of Law Yat Lam whose Wako’s Fliptable Racing Aston Martin would surely have been a victory contender without its early off. Indeed, Long Li was perhaps the race’s standout driver over the first and second stints in which he climbed from 14th to fourth.

Sergey Mironenko and Roland Schmid enjoyed a trouble-free run from ninth on the grid to fifth in their Odd Bods Honda after several other frontrunners hit trouble. One of them, Laundry House’s Andrew Laurenson, picked up a drive-through almost before the race began after jumping the start and then compounded his error by spinning on lap one, while co-driver Philippa Boquida also collected a five-second pitstop penalty for contact. However, their pace was sufficient to round out the top-six ahead of Woods and Luis Moreno’s penalised Legion of Racers Mercedes-AMG.

JMX Juniors’ Daffa Nabiel and Syaukat Takuma showed flashes of pace in their fightback from an early incident to finish eighth, while The Academy’s Afiq Farid and Bernard Chan were the best of the Bentley crews in ninth after a late spin denied them a possible top-six finish. Geraedts Racing’s Ben Floyd and Corey Sweet completed the points scorers in 10th.

A third driver joins each crew when Asia’s Endurance Series tackles the Bathurst 6 Hours on November 13.

Laurenson withstands race-long pressure to win Sprint Series finale at sodden Suzuka

> Laundry House Porsche beats Tan’s Ferrari and Baldwin’s Aston Martin

Qualifying Result | Race Result | Final Drivers’ Standings

Andrew Laurenson claimed victory in the final round of this year’s GT World Challenge Asia Esports Sprint Series at Suzuka earlier this evening after withstanding race-long pressure from Dillan Tan.

Dayne Warren opted to skip the finale after wrapping up the Drivers’ title at Spa, which left the door open for someone else to finally win a race on Assetto Corsa Competizione in 2021.

And it was Laundry House’s team leader Laurenson who climbed to third in the final standings after converting pole position into a narrow victory over the Legion of Racers Ferrari and the Happy Laps Aston Martin driven by Jake Baldwin.


LAURENSON AND LAUNDRY HOUSE FINALLY COME GOOD

The first wet race of the campaign produced by far the closest contest, as well as some of the best driving of the season.

Laurenson led Tan away from pole and maintained a slender 0.3s advantage throughout the opening stint. Behind, Andika Rama Maulana managed to pass Baldwin into Turn 1 but couldn’t quite match the pace of his Legion of Racers team-mate directly ahead. Instead, he was back down to fourth by the time the pit window opened on 25 minutes after running wide at Degner 2.

That allowed Baldwin to close back in on the top-two and pit just behind Laurenson half-way through the 10-minute window. Tan remained out for another lap but emerged still fractionally behind Laundry House’s Porsche.

The trio were, if anything, now even closer but Laurenson didn’t put a foot wrong in defence of the lead despite the soggy conditions. And his skill was rewarded with three minutes remaining when Tan lost time in lapped traffic, effectively ending the contest. One second separated them at the finish.

Baldwin was also excellent en route to third but faced some late pressure from Maulana who closed back in on the podium finishers. Nevertheless, fourth place was enough to hand 2020’s champion the runner-up spot behind Warren.

Laundry House’s Mercedes-AMG ensured four different manufacturers finished inside the top-five despite Terry Rayton losing time to Maulana after the pitstops. He came home ahead of Moosa Mahsoom (Rookie Monsters, Ferrari) who passed both Nigel Chuah (Legion of Racers, Mercedes-AMG) and Philippa Boquida (Laundry House, McLaren) during the pit cycle.

Kin Long Li (Wako’s Fliptable Racing, Mercedes-AMG) and Fadhli Rachmat (JMX Phantom, Bentley) completed the points-paying positions.

Asia Esports’ Sprint Series might be over but attention now switches to the Endurance championship, which begins with the Monza 3 Hour on October 30.

Flawless Warren wins again to clinch GT World Challenge Asia Esports Sprint Series crown at Spa

> VRS Coanda Simsport’s Bentley makes it four from four
Qualifying Result > Race Result > Drivers’ Standings

Dayne Warren has wrapped up the GT World Challenge Asia Esports Sprint Series title with a round to spare at Spa-Francorchamps after maintaining his and VRS Coanda Simsport’s 100% winning record.

The Bentley was never seriously challenged after scoring its third pole position of the year, and also claimed fastest lap – its fourth of the campaign – en route to a commanding 18s victory over Legion of Racers’ Ferrari driven by Dillan Tan.

Roadblock’s Ryan Duong finished third to secure a rare Assetto Corsa Competizione podium for Lexus after re-passing outgoing champion Andika Rama Maulana post-pitstops.

WARREN WALTZES TO DRIVERS’ CROWN

Such were the championship permutations that Dayne Warren was always likely to seal the crown at Spa, regardless of whether he won or not.

But after dominating this year’s first three races the Australian was in no mood to coast towards the title. Instead, a 0.2s qualifying advantage quickly turned into another esports exhibition at the front of a 42-strong field.

The run towards Eau Rouge was as close as fellow front row starter Dillan Tan would come to challenging the Bentley, which began to edge clear while the Legion of Racers Ferrari initially fought Philippa Boquida’s McLaren.

The latter’s early retirement provided some respite but made no difference to Tan’s pursuit of Warren who pitted at half-distance with a 10s lead.

Tan opted to stay out until the end of the 10-minute window, perhaps in hope rather than expectation of rain, but re-joined having made no impression on Warren’s advantage which increased thereafter.

At that point only a mistake by Warren, none of which have been forthcoming so far in 2021, or typical Spa downpour could rescue Andika Rama Maulana’s hopes of retaining the title. Indeed, the Indonesian had to finish in the top-two and hope other results went his way for the battle to roll on another round.

But that never really looked likely to happen, despite the Ferrari moving from fifth to third in the opening stint. And the possibility became even more remote when Ryan Duong re-took third after the pitstops.

It was an excellent performance from the Roadblock driver whose only previous points had come at the opening round.

Maulana might also have succumb to Ryan Hoolihan’s rapidly advancing McLaren before the hour was out until a connection issue left Laundry House’s 720S stranded and facing the wrong way at Raidillon on the final lap.

The Australian had earlier enjoyed a fierce scrap with Fadhli Rachmat, the only driver other than Maulana with a mathematical chance of delaying Warren’s title coronation. However, a pitstop issue ultimately accounted for JMX Phantom’s Bentley, which was running sixth before the stops.

Instead, fifth place and the final automatic qualifying spot for Suzuka’s season finale went to Zuver Revolt Racing’s Sky Lai who avoided several big accidents elsewhere to make up 15 places from where he started. It also ensured that his Lamborghini made it four different manufacturers inside the top-five.

But he wasn’t the only one to make significant progress: Kin Long Li’s Wako’s Fliptable Mercedes-AMG finished sixth after starting 18th, closely followed by Kyo Yim (Pakelo Nine’s, McLaren) who initially lined up one place further back.

Legion of Racers’ Luis Morena capped an excellent day for Lexus in eighth, while Sek Yin Ho (Z-Challenger Racing, Aston Martin) passed Yuki Shirakawa (SACCESS eSports, Bentley) late on to seal ninth after charging up from 25th.

But the day and championship undoubtedly belonged to Warren who will have a rare opportunity to remain unbeaten over the course of a season when Suzuka hosts the GT World Challenge Asia Esports Sprint Series finale on October 14.

Warren on cusp of Sprint Series crown as Asia Esports heads to Spa

  • VRS Coanda Simsport ace 41 points clear with two rounds to play
  • Sprint Series entry list: Spa-Francorchamps

Dayne Warren is on course to clinch GT World Challenge Asia Esports’ Sprint Series drivers’ title this Thursday (September 23) when the virtual championship stages its penultimate round of the season on Assetto Corsa Competizione at Spa-Francorchamps.

Three wins from as many races has left VRS Coanda Simsport’s star with only two mathematical rivals, reigning champion Andika Rama Maulana (Legion of Racers, Ferrari) and Fadhli Rachmat (JMX Phantom, Bentley), both of whom must finish on Spa’s podium to maintain their slender chances of forcing a final day decider at Suzuka next month.

However, those hopes also rest on Warren enduring by far his most difficult race of a season in which the Australian has scored two pole positions and three fastest laps aboard Coanda’s rapid Bentley.

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE FOR MAULANA AND RACHMAT?

50 points remain up for grabs over the course of Asia Esports’ last two Sprint rounds, enough ordinarily to keep a championship battle well and truly alive until the season finale.

Except this isn’t an ordinary season. Dayne Warren’s 100% record allied to a chasing pack without a singular consistent threat has created a huge gap between first and the rest.

True, Andika Rama Maulana would have been closer without a post-race penalty at Misano but that doesn’t tell the whole story of his current 41-point deficit to Warren. As such, the Indonesian must finish second at worst to prolong the title battle, although that also relies upon Coanda’s Bentley scoring no more than one point in 10th.

Should Maulana’s Ferrari claim the maximum 25 points then Warren would still clinch the crown with a round to spare by finishing fifth at Spa.

The permutations appear even more unlikely for Fadhli Rachmat whose non score at Misano left JMX Phantom’s Bentley 45 points adrift of top spot. Thus, nothing less than victories at the final two rounds will suffice, although completing the first half of that task this Thursday also relies upon Warren finishing eighth or lower.

It’s also subject to other drivers stepping up to deny the Bentley crucial points paying positions.

Among them will be Andrew Laurenson who lies fourth in the standings after claiming fourth place finishes in the previous two rounds, while Laundry House team-mate Ryan Hoolihan (McLaren) booked his place on Spa’s entry by finishing second at Misano. 

Luckily for the latter and fellow automatic qualifier Avila Bahar (JMX Phantom) Spa’s public Hot Lap competition suggests the 720S will be the car to beat this Thursday after Octane Online Racing’s Philippa Boquida posted the fastest individual time of all: 2m16.200s.

Dillan Tan topped Ferrari’s section, beating among others Maulana, while Brian Izadfar raised hopes for Audi by setting the second fastest lap behind Boquida.

Porsche also look strong thanks to their Hot Lap pace-setter Kelvin Chen (Full Pace Racing Team) and the aforementioned automatic qualifier, Laurenson.

Newcomer Davlish Singh completed the list of standout qualifiers in his Gen-Z Racing Lamborghini.

Thursday’s action commences with a Free Practice and Qualifying session before the race itself starts at 19:40 HKT / 13:40 CEST. Live streaming begins 10 minutes earlier on SRO’s GT World YouTube and Twitch channels.

DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP PERMUTATIONS

> If Maulana wins, Warren is champion by finishing fifth or higher.
> If Maulana finishes second, Warren is champion by finishing ninth or higher.
> If Rachmat wins, Warren is champion by finishing seventh or higher.

Click below to set a reminder for Thursday’s broadcast:

Warren wins again after Tan and Boquida come to blows at Misano

> Hoolihan and Rama Maulana join VRS Coanda Simsport on the podium
Qualifying result > Race result > Championship standings

Dayne Warren’s domination of the GT World Challenge Asia Esports Sprint Series continued earlier this evening at Misano where VRS Coanda Simsport’s Bentley scored its third victory in as many rounds.

For once the Australian didn’t start on pole, but he still ended lap one in the lead following a clash between front row duo Dillan Tan and Philippa Boquida, which also involved championship protagonist Fadhli Rachmat.

Warren was never troubled thereafter and ultimately took the chequered flag 16.2s ahead of Ryan Hoolihan’s Laundry House McLaren, which jumped from fifth to second amidst lap one’s chaos.

Reigning champion Andika Rama Maulana (Legion of Racers, Ferrari) initially limited the damage in the title battle by fighting from 10th to third. However, the Legion of Racers Ferrari dropped to seventh in the final classification following a 10s post-race penalty for causing a collision.

Instead, Avila Bahar (JMX Phantom, McLaren) completed the podium.

UNSTOPPABLE WARREN MARCHES ON

For the first time this year Dayne Warren didn’t start from pole. But any hope that someone else might also claim a victory – or indeed fastest lap – were dashed after just two corners when Philippa Boquida tagged the rear of Dillan Tan’s Ferrari. Fadhli Rachmat, who lined up fourth, was also involved in the ensuing spin before another contact ended his chances of remaining second in the standings.

Only one of the top-four starters wasn’t compromised. And that, of course, was Warren who sailed around the outside of Tan’s stranded Ferrari before rebuffing Boquida for the rest of lap one. Her hopes then also faded when a mistake and subsequent drive-through penalty for the contact with Tan dropped Octane Online Racing’s McLaren out of the reckoning.

Now, just like Brands Hatch and Zandvoort, the Bentley was out front on its own. With Ryan Hoolihan’s attention predominantly focused on keeping Avila Bahar’s Bentley at bay, Warren was free to also maintain his 100% fastest lap record en route to establishing a 11s advantage before the pitstops began.

The gap reduced to six seconds when Warren missed his marks – the only mistake in an otherwise accomplished hour of racing – but it mattered little thanks to an exemplary second stint in which he edged 16s clear.

Behind, Hoolihan weathered Bahar’s storm throughout an opening stint in which Laundry House’s Porsche and the JMX Phantom Bentley were rarely separated by more than a second. The latter certainly appeared the faster car but Bahar’s attempt at an undercut actually resulted in him losing third place to Andika Rama Maulana who started 10th and pitted in fifth.

That podium would have kept some pressure on Warren, but a 10s post-race penalty now leaves Maulana 41 points behind with only 50 available over the remaining two rounds.

Bahar’s unsuccessful attempt at re-passing the Legion of Racers Ferrari also helped Andrew Laurenson to briefly nip past, but it was the subsequent reversal of positions that set up one of the season’s best moments.

The same move saw Laurenson shuffled from fourth to sixth, but the Laundry House driver faught back by continuing to hustle Sky Lai who’d also picked up places during the pit window. The Porsche made several unsuccessful lunges before finally re-taking fifth after running side-by-side with Zuver Revolt Racing’s Lamborghini through eight corners!

Axle Sports’ Naquib Azlan was also impressive during his charge up the order after starting 19th but collected a penalty that dropped him from sixth to 13th post-race.

Instead, his final victim – Lai – completed the top-five ahead of Kyo Yim (Pakelo’s Nine eMotorsport, McLaren), the penalised Maulana, and Damon Woods (Gen-Z Racing, Mercedes-AMG).

KuiSheng Huang’s late drive-through penalty and the extra time for Azlan helped Jean Alesi Esports Academy’s Mia Rose (Aston Martin) finish ninth, while Tan recovered to score an unlikely point after spinning to 17th on the opening lap.

Next up it’s Suzuka, which hosts the first of Asia’s three Endurance Series rounds on September 18. 2021’s fourth Sprint race, at Spa-Francorchamps, then follows less than a week later (September 23).

Asia Esports Sprint Series reaches halfway mark at Misano

  • Warren on a roll after two wins from as many races
  • Sprint Series entry list: Misano

GT World Challenge Asia Esports moves on to Misano this Thursday (July 22) for Round 3 of 2021’s Sprint Series staged on Assetto Corsa Competizione.

39 Hot Lap qualifiers join the top-five finishers from the previous round at Zandvoort for what could prove 60 decisive minutes in this year’s title race. That largely depends on the performance of Dayne Warren who has maximum points after claiming two victories, two pole positions and two fastest laps from the opening two rounds.

As such, the VRS Coanda Simsport driver enjoys a 20-point lead over fellow Bentley front runner Fadhli Rachmat (JMX Phantom) who’s twice joined Warren on the podium this year. Reigning champion Andika Rama Maulana (Legion of Racers, Ferrari) is two points further back, while Naquib Azlan (Axle Sports) makes it three Continental GT3 drivers in the overall top-four heading to Misano.

Andrew Laurenson (Laundry House, Porsche) also earned his automatic invitation for Round 3 by finishing in Zandvoort’s overall top-five.

CAN ANYONE DERAIL THE RUNAWAY DAYNE TRAIN?

Another victory for Warren wouldn’t be enough to seal the title with two rounds remaining, regardless of where Rachmat et al finish. But it could ultimately prove the decisive blow in a title race steamrollered by VRS Coanda Simsport’s #57 Bentley.

Warren has been a class apart thus far, as underscored by a dominant 13s victory last month. And Hot Lap Qualifying times suggest the Continental will once again be one of the fastest cars out there after Inspeed Racing’s Jiacheng Jiang earned the fourth and only available Bentley slot.

His lap was just 0.066s slower than the fastest time of all set by Octane Online Racing’s Philippa Boquida whose 1m32.700s topped a particularly quick McLaren leaderboard. On that evidence all four 720S entries should be up front on Thursday night.

Championship contender and automatic qualifier Maulana will also be encouraged by Ferrari’s performance in qualifying where his Legion of Racers team-mate Dillan Tan lapped less than two tenths shy of the fastest time overall. The Singaporean will be eager to bounce back from a late disconnect that denied him a podium finish and another strong points haul at Zandvoort.

He currently lies joint-fifth in the standings along with automatic qualifier Laurenson and Kelvin Chen (Full Pace Racing Team) whose Hot Lap pace suggests Porsche will also be firmly in the mix at Misano. 

Gen-Z Racing’s Damon Woods also non-scored in Holland following a promising opening round at Brands Hatch but gets another chance to impress after topping Mercedes-AMG’s section. His 1m33.0s was equalled by the fastest Aston Martin (Syaukat Takuma, JMX Juniors) and Audi (Moreno Pratama, Legion of Racers) drivers.

Yat Lam Law (Wako’s Fliptable Racing, BMW), Muhammad Qurthubi (JMX Juniors, Honda), Daffa Nabiel (JMX Juniors, Lamborghini) and Ryan Duong (Roadblock, Lexus) set the pace for the other four manufacturers.

Unstoppable Warren perfect again at Zandvoort

> VRS Coanda Simsport ace leads Bentley 1-2-3
Qualifying result Race result Championship standings

Dayne Warren maintained his exceptional start to 2021’s GT World Challenge Asia Esports Sprint Series campaign by completing a second clean sweep in as many rounds at Zandvoort earlier today.

The VRS Coanda Simsport ace added pole position and fastest race lap to a dominant 13s victory over Naquib Azlan (Axle Sports) and Fadhli Rachmat (JMX Phantom) who collectively locked out the podium places for Bentley.

The result might have been a little different without the lap one incident that prevented front row starter Philippa Boquida (Octane Online Racing, McLaren) from challenging Warren, while a late disconnect also denied Dillan Tan (Legion of Racers, Ferrari) a deserved podium after resisting Azlan during the second stint.

WARREN SHOWS HIS CLASS. AGAIN.

Qualifying suggested this would be a two-horse race between Warren and Boquida who were separated by just 0.051s and lapped four tenths quicker than anyone else. However, that potential battle lasted just three corners before the latter found herself in the barrier.

Instead, Warren was free to break clear after resisting Tan’s initial attention on lap one. The Ferrari started third and ran alongside the Continental through Turns 1 and 2 before slotting into second. It was the closest anyone came to challenging the Bentley all afternoon.

Pak Ho Wong (Z-Challenger Racing) initially ran third before dropping behind two more fast starting Continental GT3s driven by Azlan, who qualified eighth, and Rachmat. The pair worked together to reel in Tan and were never much more than a second behind the Ferrari before the pit window opened after 25 minutes.

Rachmat stopped first in the hope of gaining track position but actually lost time to the podium places once the window closed after 10 minutes. Instead, Tan retained second from Azlan who closely shadowed the Ferrari before its disconnect denied the Legion of Racers driver a deserved rostrum with four minutes remaining.

But there were no such dramas for Warren who added fastest lap to his second perfect afternoon in succession. Another maximum score leaves the Australian 20 points clear of Rachmat and another two ahead of Andika Rama Maulana (Legion of Racers, Ferrari) who battled through to fifth after starting 12th. Critically, the Malaysian completes the list of automatic Sprint Series qualifiers for Round 3 at Misano on July 22.

Laundry House’s Andrew Laurenson will join him in Italy after finishing one place ahead at Zandvoort. The Australian was running seventh while bottled up behind Kelvin Chen (Full Pace Racing Team) before the pit window opened but leapfrogged his fellow Porsche driver and Wong by stopping at the first opportunity.

Boquida also enjoyed a strong recovery drive to seventh after her lap one incident dropped Octane Online’s McLaren to 16th. A late passing move relieved Thanathip Thanalapanan (Vattana Motorsport, McLaren) of eighth before Wong’s 15s post-race penalty helped 2020’s Am champion pick up another spot.

Moreno Pratama (Legion of Racers) was in the thick of the action throughout but came home as the best placed Audi driver in 10th.

Next up it’s the first of GT World Challenge Asia Esports’ Endurance Series rounds at Bathurst on July 17 before Misano hosts Round 3 of the Sprint championship five days later.

Duel in the Dunes: Zandvoort welcomes GT World Challenge Asia Esports

  • 39 hot lap qualifiers join Warren, Maulana, Rachmat, Tan and Huang for R2
  • Sprint Series entry list: Zandvoort

The beach resort of Zandvoort plays host to GT World Challenge Asia Esports this Thursday (June 24) when 44 drivers contest Round 2 of the 2021 campaign’s Sprint Series on Assetto Corsa Competizione.

VRS Coanda Simsport’s Dayne Warren dominated the season opener to automatically book his place in Holland alongside the rest of Brands Hatch’s top-five finishers: Andika Rama Maulana (Legion of Racers), Fadhli Rachmat (JMX Phantom), Dillan Tan (Legion of Racers) and KuiSheng Huang (Full Pace Racing Team). The remaining 39 slots have been filled via Hot Lap Qualifying.

As such, each of GT3’s 11 manufacturers are represented by four entries each.

The eight-round campaign, reserved for Asia-Pacific gamers, is split between five 60-minute sprints and three more endurance races of durations lasting three, six and 10 hours. Technical assistance is provided by AK Esports, The Sim Grid, Pirelli and real-world title sponsor Fanatec.

WILL WARREN WIN AGAIN?

Pole. Fastest lap. And a commanding victory. Dayne Warren and VRS Coanda Simsport were immaculate last month at Brands Hatch where their Bentley strolled to a comfortable victory over reigning GT World Challenge Asia Esports champion Andika Rama Maulana.

Continentals and Ferrari 488s filled the top-six places first time out, and with all of those drivers returning either automatically or via qualifying – Jiacheng Jiang (Inspeed Racing) recorded the second fastest time of all – there’s every chance the early championship leaders will further tighten their grip on proceedings.

Naquib Azlan (Axle Sports) joins Warren, Jiang and Fadhli Rachmat in Bentley’s camp, while Avila Bahar (JMX Phantom) snared Ferrari’s only available space in qualifying. 

Newcomer Kyo Yim (Pakelo Nine’s e-motorsport) set the Hot Lap competition’s benchmark time with a 1m34.140s, but just 0.120s covered McLaren’s four quickest drivers – including Brands Hatch points scorer Thanathip Thanalapanan (Vattana Motorsport) – who all finished inside the overall top-five. In short: expect the 720S to feature prominently on Thursday.

The Porsche also looks handy at Zandvoort where Kelvin Chen will be hoping to score further points after finishing eighth in Round 1. Full Pace Racing Team’s 911 led a qualifying top-four covered by less than two tenths.

Gen-Z Racing’s Damon Woods, who finished seventh in R1, qualified second fastest in Mercedes-AMG’s section behind Terry Rayton (Laundry House), while Ryan Duong (Roadblock) once again led the line for Lexus.

Elsewhere, Alexis Clapano (Sim Racing Pilipinas) finished second in Ferrari’s pool but will race a Lamborghini as the leading Huracan qualifier, Muhammad Qurthubi (JMX Phantom Jnr) finished as the fastest Honda driver, and Law Yat Lam (Wako’s Fliptable Racing) once again underlined his prowess in the M6 by topping BMW’s times.

Sek Yin Ho (Z-Challenger Racing) and Moreno Pratama (Legion of Racers) complete the list of fastest qualifiers for Aston Martin and Audi, respectively.

A mandatory pitstop featuring at least one litre of fresh fuel must be served between minutes 25 and 35. Changing tyres is not enforced but will provide a noticeable performance advantage, albeit with the caveat of remaining stationary for longer.

Thursday’s action commences with a Free Practice and Qualifying session before the race itself starts at 19:40 HKT / 13:40 CEST. Live streaming begins 10 minutes earlier on SRO’s GT World YouTube and Twitch channels.

Click below to set a reminder for Thursday’s race: