McLaren Veloce takes Intercontinental GT Challenge Esports crown | FOS Future Lab

24th October 2022
Andrew Evans

The McLaren Veloce Esports team has won the 2022 Intercontinental GT Challenge following the rescheduled 24 Hours of Spa.


Heading into the final race of the season, the McLaren Veloce squad had a relatively slender 15-point advantage over the BS+Competition BMW team. Unicorns of Love (UOL) Mercedes, in third, could also technically win the title by taking maximum points with McLaren failing to score.

Qualifying saw UOL’s championship hopes immediately dashed, as Daire McCormack qualified on pole and took the point for Williams. BS+Competition qualified in second, with Veloce a lowly 13th. If things stayed that way by the chequered flag, BMW would take the title.

A remarkably clean opening few laps saw Nils Naujoks (BS+), Tobias Pfeffer (UOL), Nicklas Houben (R8G) and Jordan Sherratt (Lamborghini) trading second place between them as McCormack disappeared up the road. Rain began to fall just shy of the hour mark, though, and McCormack’s lead vanished when the Mercedes ploughed straight on at Bruxelles and fell down the order. Meanwhile Baldwin was the first of the top ten to pit for wet tyres, and used the undercut to spring up the field to fourth. BS+ now led the race, but McLaren was in the championship lead again.

That would swing further to McLaren as Houben passed Arthur Kammerer (BS+) for the lead half an hour later, and streaked away to a ten-second advantage before the next stops where the drivers switched back to slicks. Another undercut saw McLaren briefly take third.

More wet weather just after the three-hour mark shook the order up again. Vojtech Fiala (R8G) and George Boothby (Veloce) opted for early stops to short-fuel with an eye on the horizon, but lost out when the rain rolled in.

Naujoks again took the lead of both race and championship, only to slip behind Pfeffer and Houben as the rain continued. Baldwin was back at the wheel for McLaren and comfortably in fifth with a 30-second advantage to the cars behind; that would mean only a BS+ win would be good enough to seize the title. Even though the drying track played back into the BMW’s hands, the sister G2 car of Robbie Stapleford relegated Kammerer to fourth. Stapleford briefly led as the night fell, as the two BMWs and the UOL Mercedes traded the lead among themselves. R8G dropped out of contention when Fiala had a spin at Blanchimont and later received a drive-through penalty for track limits.

Another drive-through for the G2 car promoted McLaren up to third. That would become second as another downpour started on the halfway mark.

As the dawn broke it was Unicorns of Love in the lead by over a minute and a half from BS+, but Naujoks was hit with a drive-through penalty for exceeding stint limits, and that lead became a full lap.

After 19 hours of metronomic driving, the McLaren tangled with a backmarking Honda and collected its own penalty: 15 seconds for failing to hold the brake after a collision. That would drop the team back down to sixth, but with BS+ only able to hold third the championship was still with Veloce. Even second wouldn’t be good enough for BS+ at this point, and the frustration seemed to get to Naujoks as he rear-ended Lewis Price (G2) in a final pit stop with 20 minutes remaining. The stewards handed a five-second penalty to Naujoks for the incident, which would see BS+ dropped to third at the chequered flag.

Unicorns of Love won the race by a colossal three minutes, with G2 jumping up to second in the classification ahead of BS+. The McLaren Veloce team of James Baldwin, George Boothby, and Eamonn Murphy took a sixth-place finish and took the title by just five points.

FFS Racing would secure the Silver class title after overcoming a dreadful qualifying session. Quietly moving up through the pack, the team took its first race win of the season, by just 0.121 seconds from its nearest rival AJA Simracing.


Oulton Park hosted the second round of the British F4 Esports Championship, with races three and four both heading the way of the Apex racing team squads.

Unlike the rollercoaster racing at Donington, Oulton Park saw a classy lights-to-flag win from Jamie Fluke. He’d outqualify race one winner Josh Lad by 0.05s, but despite hanging off Fluke’s rear wing all race long, Lad couldn’t find a way past.

Fluke took second place in the reversed-grid race, after Apex academy driver Luke McKeown passed Fordzilla’s Dion Gowda early in the race, while an incident between Lad and Josh Poulain (Fordzilla) would drop the former to sixth.

Lad’s Munster Rugby Gaming squad still leads the teams’ championship, but Fluke now holds the driver’s championship lead by four points from McKeown.

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