For the second round in a row a new circuit was making a debut in the series, and the Rennsport simulator it uses, in the shape of the Daytona Road Course. It’s one that should be familiar to many top-level sim racers, but that didn’t prevent some unusual results in the knockout races.
The first of those came in the very first race, which saw Maximilian Benecke (Mouz) and Dayne Warren (Coanda) fail to progress after a bizarre final-lap incident which saw the Porsche man hit the pit wall through the first turn. Warren appeared to be penalised post-race for the incident.
Moritz Lohner (Mouz) and Erhan Jajovski (R8G) were also eliminated, as stewards enforced the lower track limits on Daytona’s banking in qualifying with zeal and both ended up with penalties. James Baldwin (AMG), after leading his entire race, ran too deep into turn one then picked up a penalty for an unsafe rejoin as he hit Rogers and was also knocked out.
Race wins went to championship points leader Sebastian Job (G2 Esports), Daire McCormack (Williams), Jeffrey Rietveld (Redline), and Nikodem Wisniewski (Williams), with all four already comfortably qualified for the Major.
Track limits came into play in the semi-finals too. Reigning champion Marcell Csincsik (R8G) and Kevin Ellis Jr (ART) were sent to the back of their grid, but Ellis put in an excellent shift to qualify for the final, making early inroads and then pressuring Lasse Bak (Furia) into an error. Csincsik would miss out, colliding with Elvis Rankin (ART) late in the race to underline it.
McCormack almost converted the pole to a win, despite Luke Bennett (Redline) taking an early lead, but missed out at the line by just seven-thousandths to his own team-mate Jakub Brzezinski.
Job initially took pole position for the second semi-final, but was also penalised for track limits in qualifying and would start down in tenth – ahead of Yoann Harth (ART) and Isaac Price (G2) who were similarly sent to the back.
Bono Huis (AMG) inherited pole but wasn’t able to fend off Rogers for long as the Porsche driver took the lead through the Horseshoe on lap two. Rogers couldn’t ditch Huis though, and the Dutch racer dragged past right at the line to claim the win. Almost as remarkable was Job’s qualification, having carved his way up to the top six on the opening lap but having to settle for that in a similar drag to the line.
Brzezinski carried his semi-final speed through to the final, claiming pole position from Rogers before the Porsche man hit the front at the Le Mans Chicane on lap one. From there it was a cagey race of attrition as the lead pack was whittled down from ten cars to four, with the leaders largely opting to hold station behind Rogers awaiting a final lap slipstream to the line.
Ellis was the fly in the ointment though, needing to get past at least Bennett in third in order to move his ART outfit up in the teams’ championship – and he nearly made it too, coming up alongside Brzezinski on the final lap. However that let Rogers escape beyond slipstream range, allowing him to take his first win of the Fall Season and third overall – an ESL R1 record.
Despite a relatively poor round, R8G had such an overwhelming points advantage that its teams’ title was confirmed before the semi-final races, with Porsche Coanda second and Williams leaping three places at the end to third.
The top 24 drivers will now head to the “DreamHack” esports festival at Jonkoping at the end of November for the Fall Major. With their regular season points carried over to the finals, Job’s 45-point advantage looks ominous.
Jakub Brzezinski (Williams – Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo) +0.347
Luke Bennett (Redline – BMW M4 GT3) +0.806
With the top three in each class of the Porsche Esports Sprint Challenge GB winning Porsche driving experiences, there was still plenty to do in the final round at Brands Hatch – even though the undefeated Will Eatwell had wrapped up the title last time out at Snetterton.
It was just as well, as a fuel miscalculation saw Eatwell beaten for the first time on the final lap of the first race, but not by long-term race leader Samuel Jordan who suffered the exact same issue and was passed on the line by Jack Southfield.
That set up a thrilling finale between Southfield and Jordan over the championship podium which saw Jordan take second by a single point as he came home less than a tenth of a second behind.
The Am category title also went right to the wire, with Oliver Ettridge securing the points he needed with a comfortable podium in the final race. Adam Holloway and Gianluca Elia took the class wins to finish in the championship top three – with Holloway also ahead by just one point.