5 October 2020
Ready Player 1: GT World Challenge Asia Esports Championship gears up for inaugural season at Monza
> Region’s top real and sim racers set for opening round
> Provisional 89-car entry features real-world teams and drivers
> Entry lists: Real-PRO & AM | Sim-PRO & AM
Monza plays host to the opening round of 2020’s GT World Challenge Asia Esports Championship Presented by Tarmac Works this Tuesday (October 6) when the region’s top real-world and sim drivers battle for supremacy in two 60-minute races.
The first of five championship rounds follows Suzuka’s standalone Charity Cup event in late August when SRO Motorsports Group successfully trialled its latest sanctioned esports series on Assetto Corsa Competizione – the official game of GT World Challenge Powered by AWS.
Positions and points now count towards the ultimate accolade of Overall Real and Sim Drivers’ Champions, while separate PRO and AM class titles will also be awarded in both categories.
RACE 1: SIM-PRO & AM
Tuesday’s first race combines Asia’s top sim racing talent with 24 amateur qualifiers.
Joseph De Jesus IV’s dominant Charity Cup victory has resulted in a switch to the Sim-PRO ranks and a new deal with Tarmac eMotorsports. The Mercedes-AMG GT3 is also a proven package at Monza after another example won GT World Challenge Europe’s Esports Charity Cup race there in March.
Amateur qualifiers filled the Charity Cup’s top-five Sim race positions so it will come as no surprise to see two more of them – Andrew Laurenson (Laundry House, Porsche) and Yat Lam Law (Wako’s Fliptable Racing, BMW) – moving to the championship’s PRO ranks with De Jesus IV.
Charity Cup class winner Zheng Yin (Mercedes-AMG) also returns along with fellow PRO podium finishers Li Kin Long (Wako’s Fliptable Racing, Mercedes-AMG) and Ferrari’s sole representative, Yuki Shirakawa (SACCESS eSports).
Meanwhile, other real-world teams are also represented in the Sim contest thanks to Craft-Bamboo Racing (Charles Theseira), Vattana Motorsport (Bank Thanathip) and Legacy Racing Team Malaysia (Mika Hakimi).
The 24 Sim-AM entries have all earned their place on the grid via GT World Challenge Asia Esports’ public qualifying competition. Each GT3 manufacturer’s two fastest representatives will now battle their PRO counterparts for overall and class victories, just as they did in Suzuka’s Charity Cup event. Results in that race suggest the amateurs will be more than a match for their better-known rivals.
RACE 2: REAL-PRO & AM
Race 2 features many more teams and drivers familiar to Asia’s traditional motorsport fanbase. Indeed, the Real-PRO and AM entry is packed with real-world talent eager to make their virtual mark.
Charity Cup winner Evan Chen (Porsche) is an undoubted victory candidate once again, while most of Suzuka’s top-six Overall and PRO class finishers – Duvashen Padayachee (Tarmac eMotorsports, Mercedes-AMG), Matt Solomon and JiaTong Liang (both Craft-Bamboo Racing, Mercedes-AMG) and Dominic Ang (Viper Niza Racing, Porsche) – should also feature prominently.
Elsewhere, 2019’s real-world GT World Challenge Asia championship contender Tanart Sathienthirakul heads a list of familiar names that also include fellow race winners Weiron Tan, Shaun Thong and Darryl O’Young, as well as Alex Yoong, Adderly Fong, Melvin Moh and Chris van der Drift.
The Real-AM roster is similarly stacked with the cream of Asia’s amateur motorsport scene. Indeed, the majority of the teams and drivers will be well known to GT World Challenge Asia fans.
Leona Chin and Tengku Djan Ley were due to be Legacy Racing Team Malaysia co-drivers this year but will now pilot separate virtual versions of their Mercedes-AMG. Likewise Andrew Haryanto who’s behind the wheel of JMW’s Bentley.
Race winner Yuke Taniguchi returns to the same KCMG Nissan with which he finished second in 2018’s Pro/Am standings, 2017 GT4 champion Frank Yu represents Craft-Bamboo, and former GT3 Am Cup champion Naoto Takeda drives a BMW.
VSR (Alex Au), Audi Sport Asia TSRT (Billy Kai Fung Lo) and Modena Motorsports (Real-AM Charity Cup class winner Antares Au) complete the list of real-world teams, while the likes of Rick Yoon, Douglas Khoo, Philip Tang and David Pun have all notched up GT World Challenge Asia starts.
Elsewhere, Nan Lin (Toro Racing, Mercedes-AMG) and Kevin Tse (Craft-Bamboo Racing, Mercedes-AMG) both return after sharing Suzuka’s Charity Cup class podium with Au in August.
Both of Tuesday’s races will be livestreamed one after another on SRO’s Youtube and Twitch channels, GT World Challenge Asia’s Facebook page, and on Huya with native commentary in China. Race 1’s build-up begins at 19:30 HKT.
MONZA TIMETABLE – ALL TIMES HKT/CST (GMT +8)
19:30 – 19:40 Live build-up
19:40 – 20:40 Race 1
21:00 – 22:00 Race 2
ABOUT GT WORLD CHALLENGE ASIA ESPORTS
SRO Motorsports Group’s officially sanctioned sim racing franchise extends to Asia this autumn with the creation of the GT World Challenge Asia Esports Championship Presented by Tarmac Works. The five-round campaign begins on October 6 and follows standalone, non-championship Charity Cup races at Suzuka on August 29.
Assetto Corsa Competizione – the official game of GT World Challenge Powered by AWS – will host all six events after successfully staging SRO’s European and US esports championships earlier this year.
Indeed, following the success of its other esports series, SRO is now fully focused on providing Asia’s real-world drivers, pro sim racers and general public with a professionally managed and highly competitive online racing environment. Experience gained in Europe and America will make GT World Challenge Asia Esports SRO’s most polished sim racing product to date and introduce several new aspects familiar to fans of real-world competition.
Like its continental counterparts Asia’s esports series will be staged on Assetto Corsa Competizione’s popular PC platform with the help of ACC’s developers, Kunos Simulazioni, while AK Informatica will once again provide first-class technical assistance and management.
2020 GT WORLD CHALLENGE ASIA ESPORTS CALENDAR
Charity Cup – August 29 – Suzuka, JPN (non-championship)
R1 – October 06 – Monza, ITA
R2 – October 27 – Laguna Seca, USA
R3 – November 10 – Silverstone, UK
R4 – November 24 – Spa-Francorchamps, BEL
R5 – December 08 – Suzuka, JPN
Main image (click to download): Xynamic Automotive Photography
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