5 September 2023
Tensions mount as the Mobileye GT World Challenge Esports Asia Sprint Series finale rolls into Suzuka
The curtain will come down on a scintillating Mobileye GT World Challenge Esports Asia Sprint Series season with one final blast at Suzuka this Wednesday (September 6), with both class championships going to the wire and a €6000 prize fund up for grabs.
Dillan Tan is close to securing his second successive Pro class championship aboard the Tarmac Works Mercedes-AMG GT3, but he hasn’t got the title over the line just yet and will face renewed competition from his closest rival Ferris Stanley as the BMW M Team BS+Competition man looks to mount a late charge for the crown.
This year’s Silver contest has been a thriller, with four different race winners from the four rounds so far, meaning the championship is poised on a knife edge. Russel Reyes holds the slenderest of advantages, with the JMX Phantom BMW driver leading by a single point heading to Suzuka. But any of the top four could still walk away with the title.
All Mobileye GT World Challenge Esports Asia Sprint Series races take place on the Assetto Corsa Competizione platform and are staged in partnership with AK Esports.
Can Tan do the double in Pro?
With three wins from four outings this season, together with three outright pole positions, it’s hard not to argue that Dillan Tan has been this season’s stand-out driver.
The Legion of Racers ace has been in a league of his own during recent outings and, had it not been for one tough outing at Donington Park where all of the Mercedes-AMG runners struggled, Tan would likely already be champion. Even during that tough second outing, Tan managed to battle to fourth place to still net a healthy points score, showing he’s capable of doing much more than just leading from the front.
And that’s bad news for his closest rival Ferris Stanley. Winner of that Donington event, the BMW M Team BS+Competition driver has endured a few tough outings of his own, most notably during the last two races where he’s been forced to fight to sixth and fourth at Bathurst and Kyalami respectively. There’s no doubting Stanley has the pace to cause an upset, but with 27 points to make up to Tan, and the championship leader showing his own formidable powers of recovery, Stanley is reliant on Tan having some serious issues to turn the tables.
A tricky last two rounds have put Stanley’s BS+Competition team-mate Philippa Boquida third in the points and out of the title picture, but she could still play a part in the final outcome having shown great speed and racecraft all season, all of which could make her the perfect wingwoman to aid Stanley if she was in a position to.
However, Tan could well have his own wingman on hand in the form of LoR team-mate Andika Rama Maulana. A sluggish start to the year meant he’d not really featured in the title fight, but second place last time out at Kyalami showed he’s back on form and ready to mix it with the twin BMWs up front.
Sota Muto is fifth for Williams Esports Mercedes-AMG and has a habit of getting himself into the mix, while Zachary Smith’s superb podium finish at Kyalami in the Alpha Venturi Racing Aston Martin AMR Vantage has helped him to sixth in the championship and made him a late-season one to watch.
Roll the dice and pick a winner in Silver…
Put simply, this year’s Silver class championship has been a classic, and four drivers head into the final round capable of stealing the crown.
Catering for the best non-professional Esports drivers from the Assetto Corsa Competizione community, all of this season's title contenders have already shown themselves to have the potential to step up to next year’s Pro class.
Russel Reyes is the form man heading to Suzuka, with the JMX Phantom driver holding a formidable record of not yet finishing a race outside the class podium places. Allied to his victory at Bathurst, he leads the way, but only just…
The recent resurgence of Full Pace Racing Porsche driver KuiSheng Huang has Reyes under some serious pressure. Huang’s breakthrough win in the last round at Kyalami means he’s just a single point behind Reyes, setting up a winner-takes-all finale.
Rialto Ristofani makes it a three-horse race too, with the MPRGP BMW M4 GT3 racer just 10 points off top spot. A class race winner already this year and second last time out at Kyalami, Ristofani could be primed for a late charge to the front.
Shuning Gong is the only other driver with a mathematical chance of snatching the title, but the DriveJustBoyz Racing Team Audi needs a huge heap of luck – and all three in front of it to essentially fail to score – to stand a chance.
Luke Addison has suffered some rotten luck in recent rounds with twin non-scores that have left him fifth in the standings and out of the title fight. It’s a shame as he looked every inch the title challenger early on (backed up by victory at Imola), but there’s still time for the Genisus Esports BMW driver to finish the year on a high.
Others to watch for include Damario Haznam (MPRGP BMW), Porsche driver Matthew Lamb, the rapid but so far hugely unlucky Daffa Boediharjo (SOLOX BMW), Matthew Pignata (Alpha Venturi Racing Aston Martin) and Bruno Gallo (Laundry House Porsche).
Action for the fifth and final round of the Mobileye GT World Challenge Esports Asia Sprint Series at Suzuka gets underway with free practice at 16:30HKT (10:30CEST) ahead of qualifying and the race start at 18:00HKT (12:00CEST). The race will feature live coverage on the GT World YouTube channel.