31 May 2023
Imola to kick-start season three of the Mobileye GT World Challenge Esports Asia Sprint Series
The third season of the Mobileye GT World Challenge Esports Asia Sprint Series is set for blast-off at the iconic Italian circuit of Imola this Wednesday (May 31), as the best sim racers of the Far East gather for what promises to be another epic contest.
With all races held on the Assetto Corsa Competizione platform and organised in partnership with AK Esports, the Mobileye Asia Sprint Series will be played out across five rounds this season, with races taking place on three continents and a healthy prize pot on offer for the most successful.
The field is split into two classes; Pro – for professional sim racers with ties to either factory teams or OEM manufacturers – and Silver, which is reserved for the cream of the Assetto Corsa Competizione community.
The field will boast a 49-car entry, with 25 Pro runners and 24 Silver. As for prizes, €4000 is on offer for the Pro grid, with Silver racing for a further €2000.
Who can stop Legion of Racers’ Tan?
Dillan Tan was the standout star of the 2022 campaign, with the Legion of Racers driver celebrating four wins from five as he rocketed his way to the championship. The bad news for the rest of the field is that Tan is back aboard the team’s Mercedes-AMG GT3, and hungry for yet more success.
The good news is that his closest challenger also returns. Andika Rama Maulana will be aboard the second LOR Mercedes-AMG, and was the only person to break Tan’s winning streak last term, so expect both of these cars to be somewhere near the front at Imola.
The majority of the top 10 from 2022 are also back for more this season. Third in the championship last year, Fadhli Rachmat, perhaps represents the biggest threat to LOR in his Tarmac Works Honda NSX GT3 Evo. Ferris Stanley was fourth last season in a Porsche, but will be fired up to help his new squad BMW M Team BS+Competition climb up the championship table.
Last season’s Silver champion Philippa Boquida makes the step up to Pro as part of BMW M Team BS+Competition. Another BMW driver – Yat Lam Law for Wako’s Fliptable Racing – will also be looking to build on his podium-finishing performances last year. Daffa Nabiel was third in Silver class in 2022 and now makes his Pro debut in a JMX Phantom BMW. Further Silver class graduates include Andrew O’Hara (Laundry House Lamborghini Huracan Evo2) and Zachary Smith (Alpha Venturi Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR).
Others to watch include Moreno Pratama (Tarmac Works Honda NSX), Ryan Hoolihan (Alpha Venturi McLaren 720S), King Long Li (Godzpeed Honda NSX), Yugo Ohsaki (HPD JAS Pro Asia Honda NSX), Luis Moreno (LOR x Motul Mercedes-AMG) and Sean Maddison (HPD JAS Pro Asia Honda NSX).
Competition is wide open in Silver class
In contrast to the Pro category, the Silver class entry features an all-new set of drivers ready to fight for glory.
With the majority of last season’s top drivers moving up to Pro, the way is clear for a new name to surge to the front of this year’s Silver field.
Of the 24 cars entered, nine different brands will be represented, with BMW being the most populous with five of its new M4 GT3s on the grid, driven by Luke Addison (Genisus Esports), Daffa Boediharjo (Solox), Rialto Ristofani (MPRGP), Russel Reyes (JMX Phantom) and Damario Haznam (MPRGP).
There are also some top teams in action. Full Pace Racing has both an Aston Martin for Yi Kuang and a Porsche 992 GT3 R for KuiSheng Huang, LOR x Motul will field a Mercedes-AMG for Nigel Chuah, Mitch Hobbs drives Asetek SimSports Visceral’s Ferrari 296 while Alpha Venturi Racing has an Aston Martin for Matthew Pignata and a Lamborghini Huracan for Jake Baldwin.
Further challengers include Shuning Gong (DriveJustBoyz Racing Team Audi R8 LMS Evo II), Chris Kewley (Rent Free Racing Aston Martin), Billie Ebenhaezer (Javasim Esports Bentley Continental) and Muhammad Irfan (Team Tecno Honda NSX).
Action for the opening round of the Mobileye GT World Challenge Esports Asia Sprint Series gets underway with practice and qualifying from 16:30 HKT (10:30 CEST), with the race scheduled for 18:00 HKT (12:00 CEST). The race will be streamed live via the GT World YouTube channel.