The biggest success stories in Esports 2022 | FOS Future Lab

14th December 2022
Andrew Evans

It’s been another exciting year in the world of Esports; the virtual racing discipline has expanded to encompass more series and more events than ever before – and crowned some new champions in the process. 

Verstappen headlines Virtual Le Mans but Team Redline take honours

The year got underway with the season-ending 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual in January, closing out the 2021-22 Le Mans Virtual Series. Team Redline, one of the oldest names in the business, swept both classes – LMP2 and GTE – in the 24-hour race, to take both championship titles.

Despite fielding F1 world champion Max Verstappen in one of the team’s two LMP2 entries, it was actually the car of Felipe Drugovich, Jeffrey Rietveld, Oliver Rowland, and Michal Smidl that took the race and championship win. Verstappen’s car retired after a co-driver damaged it beyond repair.

Porsche Esports Supercup title decided in thrilling finale

February's Porsche Esports Supercup had drama before the racing even got underway, with the dominant VRS Coanda team withdrawing most of its drivers – including defending champion Joshua Rogers – as the brands had partnered to create Porsche’s official factory Esports team.

That looked to leave the door open for 2020 champion Sebastian Job of Red Bull to reclaim his title, but a poor start to the season saw him fighting to recover lost ground all year long. He came close – with more pole positions (five) and race wins (seven) than any other driver – but the more consistent form of Diogo Pinto that saw the Portuguese driver take his first PESC title in the final race.

More Porsche Esports drama in Carrera Cup GB

Job also lost out in his defence of the domestic Porsche Carrera Cup GB title, and also in the final race of the season, as Kevin Ellis Jr reversed the result of 2021.

Again despite claiming more pole positions and winning the most races, tied with Ellis on five, it came down to consistency. Ellis claimed the title by a single point – though a later stewarding decision extended that – when his team mate Peter Berryman rounded out a luckless campaign by taking the fastest lap point from Job.

Duo win F4 drives in ROKiT Racing series

Youngsters Monica Boulton Ramos and Deagen Fairclough won seats in the 2023 British F4 Championship, courtesy of victory at the live grand final of the ROKiT Racing Star Esports series.

This event ran across the first half of 2022, with online races in F4 cars and categories for male and female drivers aged 14-15. Ramos was the form driver for much of the season, while Fairclough was consistently at or near the top of the more hotly contested boys’ category, but both won both of their finals races at the University of Bolton.

Following driver training from Motorsport UK, they’ll be driving for the ROKiT F4 Racing Team on the 2023 grid.

Baldwin does the double in GT World Challenge...

Arguably the biggest single event of the year has been the GT World Challenge. Running 20 races across four championships on three continents, the title was decided over nearly 80 hours of racing.

The star of the show was James Baldwin. He successfully defended his 2021 GT World Challenge Europe sprint series title with consistent results, particularly at Hungaroring where his rivals faltered, taking him a second title.

13-year-old Dillan Tan strolled to victory in the Asia series, while the UK’s Luke Whitehead won the Americas series. Dominik Blajer, Phillippa Boquida, and Chris Harteveld won the corresponding silver class titles and should be in the sights of pro teams for the 2023 season.

Baldwin also went on to be part of the victorious McLaren team in the Intercontinental GT Challenge endurance series with team-mates George Boothby and Eamonn Murphy. 

...And secures Spa 24 seat with Alpine Esports series win

Indeed, Baldwin was on a roll in 2022. He claimed the Alpine Esports Series title, and was signed for a seat in the real 24 Hours of Spa – winning the Fanatec GT Pro Esports race, worth five real-world points, for the Garage 59 team.

He also won the Esports category at the FIA Motorsport Games, scoring the first ever gold medal for the United Kingdom in the multidisciplinary motorsport event.

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