Esports News | Jose Serrano Dominates Gran Turismo World Series Showdown

13th August 2023
Andrew Evans

Spain’s Jose Serrano claimed victory in both championships at this weekend’s Gran Turismo World Series Showdown, anchoring Porsche to a comfortable Manufacturers Cup win before being part of the dominant Team Spain squad in the Nations Cup.

In the Manufacturers Cup it was BMW that held the initial advantage at the Suzuka Circuit, with French driver Thomas Labouteley converting first place in general qualifying into pole position in the top-six superpole shootout. Reigning champion squad Subaru would line up second ahead of Porsche – a man down as Angel Inostroza had been injured in a road accident.

Subaru was the only team on the grid to opt for the medium tyre compound to start the race, and it didn’t take long for the extra pace to show. Under heavy pressure the BMW made a mistake at the Degner curves, allowing 2020 world champion Takuma Miyazono to nip past and take the lead. As expected Miyazono then sprinted clear at the front, leaving the pack in his wake – partly helped by some significant squabbling among the field that drew a number of tellings-off from the stewards. 

Rain swept into the circuit from Spoon Curve which forced a pit stop from the entire field for the intermediate tyres, unfortunately for half of the teams who’d already made a stop for the medium tyres. Even though Miyazono made an unusual error, picking up a three-second penalty for crossing the line on pit entry as he handed over to Kylian Drumont, Subaru held a 20-second lead over Lamborghini, which was among the handful of teams that hadn’t made an earlier stop.

Many of the teams struggled on the inters, with heavy rain at Spoon causing mayhem, but Lamborghini’s Randall Haywood closed the gap at the front by some six seconds over the stint. However the team left it too late as the drying line appeared, inheriting the lead briefly from the pitting Subaru but quickly passed by Serrano in the Porsche after making their own stop.

The 14-second gap at the front seemed too much for Porsche to overcome with just five laps remaining, but Subaru’s Roberto Sternberg was having trouble with the hard tyres and Serrano was closing by four seconds a lap. In the end it was almost too easy for Serrano who made the tyre advantage count and swept around the outside of the hairpin with just over two laps remaining. That left Subaru to come home in second, just ahead of Lamborghini to take its first ever World Series event podium.

GT World Series Showdown Manufacturers Cup Results

1 – Porsche (Jose Serrano, Takuma Sasaki) – Porsche 911 RSR – 35 laps
2 – Subaru (Kylian Drumont, Takuma Miyazono, Roberto Sternberg) – Subaru BRZ GT300 – +6.385s
3 – Lamborghini (Randall Haywood, Yuki Kodaka, Will Murdoch) – Lamborghini Huracan GT3 – +10.682s

France set the early pace in the new-look Nations Cup, taking pole position at the fictional Grand Valley circuit for a ten-lap qualifying race and running unchallenged from lights to flag. Further back though a pair of last-lap penalties for Italy and Japan – both for exceeding track limits – allowed Spain to get the jump on both and take second place.

That set the grid for the final, 30-lap team race at the similarly fictional Lago Maggiore course, and Spain was the odd one out on tyre strategy in selecting the softest option for the opening stint. Pol Urra was quickly past the pole-sitting French car and built a significant lead as the teams behind settled into two packs split by their tyre choices.

As the hard-starting teams switched for new medium tyres after the minimum stint requirements, Canada moved to an alternate strategy and grabbed a set of soft tyres. That allowed them to streak up into second place – but over half a minute behind Spain. The French team saw its challenge falter after picking up track limits penalties – and a warning for weaving in the braking zone while fending off Japan – and this was later underlined by a very rare mistake from Kylian Drumont who crashed while chasing down the Brazilian car.

With the front two squads now on hard tyres it was simply a question of whether the chasing pack could catch up before time ran out. Canada simply didn’t have enough of an advantage and lost three places almost at once, and while Japan’s Rikuto Kobayashi was right on the required pace it wasn’t long before the tyres were past their best. Serrano, for the second time in two days, would cross the line first for Spain, with Japan in second just ahead of Brazil.

Gran Turismo World Series Showdown Nations Cup Results

1 – Spain (Coque Lopez, Jose Serrano, Pol Urra) – 30 laps
2 – Japan (Rikuto Kobayashi, Takuma Sasaki, Seiya Suzuki) – +15.968s
3 – Brazil (Lucas Bonelli, Adriano Carrazza, Igor Fraga) – +17.984s

Dillan Tan took a big step towards retaining his GT World Challenge Asia Esports title with a third win of the season as he scored maximum points again at Kyalami.

After taking pole position, Tan did his usual trick of simply driving away from the chasing pack – this time headed by his own team-mate Andika Rama Maulana. Courtesy of an early pit stop and an uncharacteristic mistake from Phillipa Boquida, Zachary Smith was able to briefly challenge Maulana after the stops, but it came to nothing.

The only driver who can now prevent Tan taking the title is Boquida’s BMW team-mate Ferris Stanley, who came home in fourth to keep the championship alive.

GT World Challenge Asia Esports Round 4 Results

1 – Dillan Tan (Legion of Racers) – Mercedes-AMG GT3 – 36 laps
2 – Andika Rama Maulana (Legion of Racers) – Mercedes-AMG GT3 – +7.015s
3 – Zachary Smith (Alpha Venturi Racing) – Aston Martin Vantage GT3 – +10.143s

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