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McLaren Veloce Esports team wins again at Suzuka | FOS Future Lab

30th August 2022
Andrew Evans

The McLaren Veloce squad of James Baldwin, George Boothby, and Eamonn Murphy earned its second win in a row at the Suzuka 10 Hours, and extended its championship lead. Despite some chaotic form in the opening two rounds, the top two in the championship, McLaren Veloce and BS+Competition, qualified in the front two rows.

After a quiet opening half hour, with only one overtake of note, a small error suddenly turned the tide of the race. A slide between the Degners saw polesitter Daire McCormack hit with a track limits penalty, and such was the pace throughout the pack that he emerged from a compulsory drive through in 16th place.

That put Nils Naujoks into the lead in the BS+Competition BMW, with Baldwin on his rear bumper, but Baldwin seemed happy to remain behind as they pulled a seven-second gap over third. The two cars entered the pits together and swapped drivers, but McLaren’s Boothby was fractionally quicker and nosed ahead of Gregor Schill into turn one.

After almost another hour of nose-to-tail racing, BS+ tried to roll the strategy dice with an undercut, ducking in four laps before McLaren. After some quick laps from Naujoks the plan was successful, taking the lead by two seconds as Murphy emerged from the pits – but the McLaren would close back in again before the next stop.

That looked like it would be the story of the race – despite Boothby and Schill having an engaging mid-race battle for the lead – as BMW gained a handful of seconds in the pits each time, but BS+ looked to have it in the bag when Baldwin picked up a harsh five-second penalty. Tobias Schurr, two laps down, appeared to move aside for Baldwin at the hairpin but clearly hadn’t seen the championship leader despite the blue flags, and the two McLarens collided.

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Another drive-through penalty with 90 minutes remaining changed the complexion of the race yet again. This time it was Naujoks exceeding track limits, and his crawl through the pits saw him emerge 25 seconds down. That left Murphy to bring the McLaren home, taking the chequered flag some 19 seconds ahead of Arthur Kammerer in second, with Dennis Schoeniger in the Unicorns of Love Mercedes taking third another half a minute further back.

The result sees McLaren Veloce stretch its championship lead to ten points ahead of BS+Competition, with a 40-point gap to the next team and two rounds remaining at Kyalami and Spa.

In the Silver class it was AJA Sim Racing that took the win, after a controlled performance that saw the team finishing seventh on the road after starting in class pole in eighth. Some late drama saw both the AJA car and second-in-class FFS team pick up 15-second penalties for yellow-flag infringements, but with over a minute’s gap to third-place GTWR it proved inconsequential.

AJA now leads the table by just three points from previous leader FFS, with Race Anywhere third and 19 points behind.

Elsewhere, Dillan Tan has one hand on the GT World Challenge Asia title with a third win of the season in comfortable fashion at Circuit Zolder. Tan was almost a quarter of a second ahead of his closest rival, Ferris Stanley, in qualifying, while Silver class leader Philippa Boquida headed up the second row.

Unsurprisingly, Tan quickly built a lead at the front, and by the time he stopped late in the pit window he’d built a ten-second gap to Stanley. That was despite Stanley running a solid race himself, eventually finishing seven seconds ahead of third-placed Yat Lam Law – a best result of the season for both drivers.

Tan’s nearest rival, 2020 champion Andika Rama Maulana, could only place sixth, giving the Singaporean driver a 26-point lead ahead of the final round at Suzuka next month.

In Silver class, Boquida lost her 100% record, being passed off the line by Marco Wong before an hour-long scrap in which the two were never more than a second apart. Wong seemed to have luck on his side, receiving only a warning for shouldering Boquida off-track shortly after hitting Yuki Shirakawa’s Ferrari – for which the stewards awarded Shirakawa a penalty. With just the final round remaining, Boquida has a 21-point lead over Wong in the standings.

Madison Down has claimed his first V8 Supercars Eseries title, with a third-place finish in the Oran Park finale enough to secure the crown – and an AU$10,000 prize.

Defending champion Dayne Warren took pole position from Jordan Caruso, with Down third and crucially ahead of championship rivals Jarrad Filsell and Jake Burton. The front three would finish as they started, to send the title to Down.

Brad Kostecki would, as was almost inevitable, claim the All-Stars title for pro drivers, with a lights-to-flag win.

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  • Esports

  • Suzuka

  • McLaren

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