Baldwin defends his GT World Challenge Europe Esports title | FOS Future Lab

08th August 2022
Andrew Evans

James Baldwin took his second successive GT World Challenge Europe title in the final round of this season’s championship from a wet Monza circuit. There were four title challengers going into the race, with double race-winner Daire McCormack leading the way on 93 points, ahead of Baldwin on 88, Tobias Gronewald on 77, and David Tonizza on 75. 


Neither Tonizza nor McCormack could make an impact in qualifying, ending the session in tenth and 12th in class – 11th and 16th overall – respectively. Gronewald lined up on the front row next to pole sitter Kevin Siclari as Mercedes cars filled three of the top four slots. Baldwin’s McLaren took third.

Contact with both Gronewald and Baldwin at the first chicane put Siclari immediately onto the backfoot. The pole-sitter had a poor opening couple of laps, and also tripped over Silver-class leader Robbie Stapleford at the Ascari chicane to earn a drive-through penalty. That left Gronewald at the front with one hand on the title. Baldwin had dropped behind both Dennis Schoeniger and Jordan Sherratt, while McCormack was languishing in 30th after a collision at the Variante della Roggia, and Tonizza had picked up a five-second penalty.

However, a delay in the pits saw Gronewald drop behind Schoeniger, with a two-second lead turning into a one-second deficit. Chaos then broke out as Sherratt and Baldwin both pitted and came out into the path of the two Mercedes. All four drivers missed the first chicane entirely, but seemed to come out unscathed until Gronewald picked up a five-second track limits penalty to all but rule him out of the title battle.

That left a front three of Schoeniger, Sherratt, and Baldwin, and the defending champion seemed content to sit a second back and manage the gap to Nils Naujoks behind, with none of his rivals set to score decent points. Despite some contact, the lead duo made it to the finish intact as Shoeniger took his first win – and points – of the season, half a second ahead of Sherratt in his own best finish this year. Third place for Baldwin was enough to take the championship by 15 points from McCormack, retaining the title he claimed in the inaugural season - also in the final race of the season.

Silver class saw Dominik Blajer return to the top step for his fourth win this year, to take the title comfortably ahead of Stapleford. Stapleford had taken the class pole position, but the incident with Siclari dropped the BMW driver well down the field when only victory would do. Having started the race down in 18th – fifth in class – Blajer stayed out of trouble to take the race win, with Stapleford recovering to a creditable third.


The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) has become the latest major racing series to embrace Esports, with the first official IMSA Esports Global Championship set to get underway this October.

The four-race championship, run on the iRacing platform, will feature a field of GT3 and TCR cars in short endurance races set to last two hours 40 minutes each, with drivers sharing cars for the race. Eight of the brands running in the organisation’s SportsCar Championship and Michelin Pilot Challenge will feature in the series, with cars from BMW, Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Lamborghini, McLaren, Mercedes-AMG, and Porsche in the two classes. The series also promises that the teams and drivers running the cars will be able to work with the manufacturers themselves.

Road Atlanta will host the opening round of the championship on 16th October before taking in Laguna Seca, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, and the Daytona International Speedway road course for a finale on 20th November.

While IMSA is yet to announce full details of qualification and participation, it has revealed that there’ll be a cash prize pot – although it remains to be seen what the prize structure will be.


Players hoping to represent their country at the FIA Motorsport Games in October have another chance to impress their local sporting associations with the second stage of the online qualifiers. For the 2022 staging of the Games, held at Circuit Paul Ricard, the esports competition will shift from the Gran Turismo Sport platform used in 2019 to Assetto Corsa Competizione.

There are three opportunities to set a time in official qualifiers in the Special Events section of the title, each using the host circuit and the Porsche 911 GT3 R, with players only needing to register on the official site. The second hot lap event is live now, and runs until 22nd August. The qualifiers don’t technically have official standing, as each participating nation may have its own selection criteria, but a leaderboard-topping time will be hard to ignore.

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  • Esports

  • Monza

  • James Baldwin

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