Carroll and Ellis triumph at Brands Hatch | FOS Future Lab

28th February 2022
Andrew Evans

Graham Carroll and Kevin Ellis Jr have taken race wins in the third and fourth rounds of the Porsche Esports Carrera Cup GB, as they and defending champion Sebastian Job continue their early season form.

Job came into the event with a slender championship lead, but it was Red Bull Esports team-mate Carroll who set the fastest qualifying time at the Brands Hatch Indy Circuit to beat Job to pole position. In fact, the front four had a very familiar feel, with Ellis and Peter Berryman making up the second row.

The race was defined by one of several incidents on the first lap. Berryman got the best start to get alongside Job, but despite having the inside line he couldn’t complete the overtake. As the duo came down towards Graham Hill bend, Berryman – now on the outside – and Job made the slightest of contacts, sending the Apex Racing driver off and into the wide grass run-off. Berryman would rejoin unscathed at the back of the pack, and drove a battling race to get himself up to 12th at the finish.

As with the Silverstone races, the now-three front-running cars were setting a metronomic pace and by not fighting with each other they managed to pull a handy two-second gap to Jack Sedgwick in fourth. They’d finish as they started, with Carroll winning from Job – who picked up the fastest lap point – ahead of Ellis.

With the top six finishers reversed for the second race, it was William Chadwick on his first front-row start in PECCGB, alongside top-six regular Josh Thompson.

Both got a good initial start, but their tussle over the same piece of track ended up with Chadwick dropping back. Thompson was squeezed wide exiting Druids, but put his nose up the inside at Graham Hill to send Chadwick even further off. That allowed Ellis, Job, and Carroll – who’d all jumped Sedgwick at the start – to get past.

Thompson held his own for the first ten minutes, but eventually, Ellis made his move, nipping down the inside at Paddock Hill. Job followed him to grab second, and Thompson would slip back to fourth a few laps later after a mistake at Druids let Carroll past. However, Job couldn’t find a way past and Ellis took his first win of the season. With Jamie Moone taking the fastest lap point, it means that Job and Ellis are now tied at the top of the table after four races, on 84 points, with Carroll 12 points back in third.

The GT World Challenge Esports series is set to return for 2022, with a new format that brings all three regions together and “pro” driver ratings for 2021’s best racers.

Again, there’ll be a Sprint Series and an Endurance Series, as with the real thing, but while the short, hour-long sprint racers will be contested by players within each of the three regions – Americas, Asia, and Europe – the endurance events will see the different continents united in one series. Appropriately enough, that will be called the Intercontinental GT Challenge.

Each series will run across five races, and the endurance event will once again include the official virtual 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, alongside four other races from 8-12 hours in length.

Also new for 2022 is the Pro and Silver driver classification. For the sprint series, any driver who scored 15 points in any of the six series in 2021 (25 points for drivers in Europe) is automatically classed as a Pro, while the car manufacturers can also nominate a Pro driver. 

Pro drivers will pay a higher series entry fee than Silver drivers (€250 per race rather than €100) and have slightly different qualification requirements, but are also eligible for a higher share of the  €120,000 total series prize fund.

The IGTC is a little more complicated, and will feature Pro and Silver cars. Again manufacturers will nominate driver line-ups for these cars, with any driver selected by the manufacturer itself classed as a Pro driver; there are also Pro team slots available for esports teams who wish to enter and can qualify. 

Pro teams must field a minimum of two Pro drivers per car in every round, while Silver teams can only have a maximum of one Pro, and again the entry fee and prize fund share is higher and the qualification process a little different.

The series will get underway in April, with the European Sprint Series at Misano on 6th April, the Asia Sprint Series at Barcelona on 13th April, the Americas Sprint Series at Zolder on 23rd April, and the Bathurst 12 Hours on 16th April.

Former WRC Esports champion Jon Armstrong has returned for a second season in the real-world Junior WRC, taking a win at the first event on the 2022 calendar, Rally Sweden. It’s a third JWRC win for Armstrong, who nearly took the title in 2021 but just missed out to Sami Pajari.

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