Simard Scores Breakthrough GT World Challenge America Esports Championship win at Spa

Philippe Simard scored a dominant win in the third round of the GT World Challenge America Esports Championship at Spa-Francorchamps, announcing his presence in the hunt for the championship.

The Canadian R&K Racing driver put the field on notice in qualifying, placing his No. 19 BMW M6 GT3 on pole by nearly a half a second over second-place Killian Ryan-Meenan in the No. 23 FFS Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3. The two had a clean getaway at the display of the green, settling into single-file alignment through Eau Rouge and Raidillon while the rest of the field fought for position behind.

Simard quickly pulled out a comfortable gap in the opening sequence thanks in part to electing to start the 60-minute sprint race on partial fuel with an eye on making good his escape early in the contest. He would manage that gap through the pit stop sequence and cruised unchallenged for his first career GT World Challenge America Esports Championship Sprint victory.

The victory marks the third different winner through as many events to start the season and elevates Simard into the championship picture after the early-season frontrunners Michael Kundakcioglu and Cody Pryde struggled at the Belgian circuit. The pair qualified tenth and eleventh, respectively and spent much of the race fighting each other in the back half of the top ten.

After initially dropping behind his championship rival, points leader Kundakcioglu made a move around Pryde’s PPR Esports Porsche 911 GT3 R just before the pit window opened only to lose the spot back during the pit sequence. The battle raged for the rest of the race with reigning-champion Kundakcioglu coming through in his SideMax Motorworks McLaren 720S GT3 to finish eighth while a spin for Pryde on the final lap dropped him out of the points entirely. He limped home to a 12th-place result.

Simard and Ryan-Meenan were joined on the podium by Chris Severt who made a late-race pass on Jake Langevin’s No. 69 Pass on da Grass Bentley Continental GT3 to secure the final step of the podium for Black Hawk Racing and Aston Martin. Josh Staffin pitted early in the mandatory pit stop window and utilized the undercut strategy to leapfrog into the top five, ultimately crossing the line in fourth in the No. 94 Acura NSX GT3 Evo for HPD JAS Pro America after a spin in Raidillon for Langevin late in the running.

The Bentley driver recovered to finish fifth, locking himself into next month’s competition at the Hungaroring in the process. The points standings saw a shakeup following the eventful round with Kundakcioglu now holding on to a slim four point lead over Severt, while Pryde has dropped from second to fourth and 14 tallies out of the lead.

Simard’s victory, and the commensurate haul of 25 points, has promoted him from seventh to third in the standings and just eight points behind Kundakcioglu, while Ryan-Meenan has moved from thirteenth to fifth in the standings with his-runner-up result. It was a challenging race for William Hendrickson who entered Spa fifth in the standings on the strength of a third-place finish in the season-opener at Kyalami. A pair of finishes outside the points in the subsequent races has dropped the Jean Alesi Esports Academy ace from fifth to seventh with just two Sprint rounds remaining.

Up next on the calendar is a trip to the virtual Hungaroring on August 14th. Hot lap qualifying for that event is due to open to the public August 2-3 through Assetto Corsa Competizione, the official simulation of the Fanatec GT World Challenge powered by AWS.

45 Entrants Set for a Spa Esports Showdown this Saturday

A week before the eyes of the world will focus on the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa, this Saturday the sim racing world provides a preview with Round 3 of the GT World Challenge Esports America Sprint Series at the iconic Circuit Spa-Francorchamps.

45 of the continent’s fastest sim racers are set to take the virtual green flag in Assetto Corsa Competitizone, the official simulation of Fanatec GT World Challenge powered by AWS.

Fresh off of his victory in the second round at Donington Park, defending champion Michael Kundakcioglu enters the event with a 10 point advantage over Round 1 winner Cody Pryde. SideMax Motorworks driver Kundakcioglu headlines the McLaren contingent which has been well represented in the season to date with Matt Leeman (Hillmount Racing), Aenore Rose (Jean Alesi Esports Academy, Simon Fisher, (RacingSimTools eSports), and Ryan Walker (Madhaus Racing) all also in the top ten in points.

Last season’s GT4 champion Rose will not be in the field this month which opens the door for Griphax Engineering’s Aloo Gobi to complete the McLaren quintet. Pryde returns in his No. 1 PPR Esports Porsche 911 GT3 R after an eventful second round at Donington that saw him record a hard-fought sixth place. Pryde is the only Porsche driver to have scored points so far in the championship, but Mia Swensen (Intruder Racing Team), Carl Matthes (KOMP Racing) and Jon Steele (TSE Racing) aim to change that with a solid run at the Belgian circuit that has seen Porsche win overall in the real-world 24 Hours of Spa in each of the past two runnings.

On the strength of a fifth at Kyalami and a runner-up result at Donington, Chris Severt enters Spa sitting third in the championship just 15 points behind Kundakcioglu. Severt will once again pilot the No. 81 Black Hawk Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3, while Nicolas Alvarado (New World Sim Racing) and Killian Ryan-Meenan (SideMax Motorsworks) will look to add to their point tallies that have them 12th and 13th in the standings, respectively. They are joined in the Aston Martin stable by Steven Daniluk’s No. 8 Jabba Racing entry.

The Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo includes Kyalami podium finisher William Hendrickson (Jean Alesi Esports Academy) who returns to the championship after missing the previous round at Donington. He nevertheless holds fifth in the standings and will be joined by Adrian Bourdon (SOP Esports Racing) and Maximilian Riveros (Final Lap Simracing).

The HPD JAS Pro America team has been solid all season, headlined by a run to the podium by Zach Patterson last month in the No. 24 Acura NSX GT3 Evo. He sits fourth in the points table, while teammate Cardin Lu is 11th after scoring his first points of the season in the last race. After real-world driving duties prevented him from participating at Donington, 2019 Pirelli GT4 America SprintX Pro-Am runner-up Karl Wittmer is back in the fold with Acura’s official sim racing squad, while GT World Challenge Esports America veteran Josh Staffin completes the marque’s lineup.

The long straightaways at Spa may prove to be the perfect place for the BMW M6 GT3 to stretch its legs. If so, Philippe Simard will be a driver to watch as the R&K Racing driver has been rapid, albeit somewhat unlucky, this season. Simmard is seventh in the standings through two rounds and seeking his first win. Also representing the Bavarian manufacturer will be Caleb Lavender (Private), Caique Oliveira (Corinthians Breadking), Erich Armijo (CENTELLA D’LUK) and Brian Mandeville (Caribbean Sim Motorsport).

Émile Carpentier scored Audi’s only point through two rounds the last time out at Donington and will look to build on that this month in the privately-entered No. 11 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo. Two other R8 machines are entered this month for EGT Motorsports driver Alexis Moisan and CENTELLA D’LUK pilot Tomas Ortiz.

Four Lexus RC F GT3 entries are set to go for Spa with EGT Motorsport teammates Pierre-Olivier Cloutier and Guillaume Madore set to be joined by Quin Smith (Madhaus Racing) and Taha Malih (H3 Racing).

Lamborghini is due to be represented by drivers Brian Kannappan (Team Fordzilla), Zach Etier (RacingSimTools eSports), Ryan Woodrow (FlashPoint Esports), and Alberto Alvarez (SOP Esports Racing), while Ferrari boasts entries with Skyler Loverink (Brix Racing), Ryley Murdock (SOP Esports Racing), Luis Gonzalez (Final Lap Simracing), and Diego Vidal Las Heras (Black Vortex Racing) as the assigned drivers.

The final three entries belong to Pass on da Grass teammates Jake Langevin (Pass on da Grass) and Michael Fritz plus Adrian Fernandez (Forecloak Media ADRA Sprint) in Bentley Continental GT3 machines. As has been the case in each of the first two Sprint races of the season, a mandatory pitstop featuring at least one liter of fuel must be served between minutes 25 and 35. Changing tires is not required but will provide a noticeable performance advantage, albeit with the caveat of remaining stationary for longer.

Saturday’s action commences with a Free Practice and Qualifying session before the race itself starts at 4:00PM EST / 10:00PM CEST. Follow the action through SRO’s official livestream beginning 10 minutes earlier on SRO’s GT World YouTube and Twitch channels.

Kundakcioglu Takes Esports Championship Lead with Donington Park Win

Michael Kundakcioglu took command of the GT World Challenge America Esports championship lead with a comprehensive victory in Round 2 of the season at Donington Park.

The Season 2 champion qualified his No. 96 SideMax Motorworks McLaren 720S GT3 on the outside of the front row after turning in a lap time just a fraction of a second off of Philippe Simard’s pole time in the No. 19 R&K Racing BMW M6 GT3.

Kundakcioglu got the jump on Simard on the opening lap and built a substantial lead during the first quarter of the 60-minute race, only for Simard to slowly reel him back in by the halfway mark.

The crucial moments came during the mandatory pit stop window. Simard was the first pit caller of the lead duo but was delayed in the process due to an error by taking tires along with his fuel stop. Kundakcioglu, meanwhile, had a relatively clean pit sequence and emerged with a sizable lead while Simard found himself outside of the top 10.

One brief off track moment in the final 10 minutes, which Kundakcioglu described as momentary lapse in concentration, was the only slip up for the Canadian who cruised to his first win of the season and his first in GT World Challenge Esports America competition since the Season 2 opener at the Nurburgring. 

While the battle for the lead was settled by the end of the pit sequence, the fight throughout the rest of the field was fierce until the checkered flag.

Chris Severt put in a consistent drive to finish second, backing up a strong fifth-place performance in the opener at Kyalami in his No. 81 Black Hawk Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3.

Zach Patterson finished in the points for the second-consecutive event as well with a third place result for HPD JAS Pro America NSX GT3 Evo, just ahead of fourth place Simon Fisher’s No. 595 McLaren for RacinSimTools Esports.

Simard managed to recover to finish fifth after his setback during the pit stops with a stirring drive that included multiple bold overtaking maneuvers, including one on the final lap for the last top five position on Race 1 winner Cody Pryde. The move locked Simard, along with the rest of the top five, into the next Sprint round of the championship Circuit Spa-Francorchamps next month.

Only minutes earlier Pryde had appeared in line to finish runner-up to Kundakcioglu, however a late drive-through penalty dropped the PPR Esports driver down the order in the final ten minutes and he settled for sixth.

Matt Leeman recovered from an early spin to finish seventh for Hillmount Racing. Cardin Lu (HPD JAS Pro America), Nicolas Alvarado (New World Simracing), and Émile Carpentier finished in the final three points paying positions to complete the top 10.

After the first two Sprint rounds Kundakciaglu leads the championship by 10 points over Pryde while Severt has jumped to third 15 points behind the leader.

The GT World Challenge Esports America series returns to action with the first Endurance round of the season at Laguna Seca on July 17 with the next race of the Sprint championship to follow the next weekend from Spa.

Donington Park Next Up for GT World Challenge America Esports Sprint Challengers

  • 49 entrants including seven newcomers join established stars Kundakcioglu, Heitkotter, and Rose for R2
  • Sprint Series entry list: Donington Park

49 cars are set for the second round of the GT World Challenge Esports America Sprint Series season at Donington Park on Assetto Corsa Competizione this Saturday (June 26), headlined by points leader Cody Pryde and previous champions Michael Kundakcioglu and Bryan Heitkotter.

Pryde charged to a Round 1 victory at Kyalami in his PPR Esports Porsche 911 GT3 R, automatically securing a spot in the field for Donnington along with the rest of the top five finishers. The top ten in last season’s points standings also earned automatic invitations along with the Honda JAS Pro America esports team, with the remainder of the positions open to the fastest North American sim racers in time trials competition.

The McLaren 720S GT3 was the package to beat at Kyalami with all four McLaren drivers finishing in the first 11 positions. Round 1 runner-up and defending champion Michael Kundakciaglu (SideMax Motorworks) headlines the impressive quartet that also includes Season 2 GT4 champion Aenore Rose (Jean Alesi eSports Academy), Matt Leeman (Hillmount Racing), and Simon Fisher (RacingSimTools eSports).

Newcomer Samuel Gardiner impressed by setting the fastest qualifying lap of those in the field in his privately entered BMW M6 GT3, eclipsing the one minute, 26 second threshold with a best lap of 1:25.953. He is joined in the BMW camp by Season 2 veterans Philippe Simard of R&K Racing and Caleb Lavendar’s private entry, along with hot lap qualifier Caique Oliveira from the Corinthians Breadking BMW squad.

Aston Martin is well represented by Black Hawk Racing’s Chris Severt, a fifth place finisher in the season opener, along with Jabba Racing’s Steven Daniluk who finished 12th at Kyalami. Nicolas Alvarado (New World Sim Racing) sampled multiple cars in qualifying before settling on the Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3, while Alexis Moisan will make a season debut this week in the car.

The four-car Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo lineup for Donnington consists of returnees Émile Carpentier and Mohammed Karolia (SimSok Racing) and debutantes Joao Gabriel and Trevor Jackson.

TSE Racing teammates Vadim Molla and Zachary Kunin are back in their Bentley Continental GT3 machines after a trying opening round and will be joined by a pair of Pass on da Grass drivers who made their way into the field based on qualifying: Michael Fritz and Roman Cahill.

Acura once again is represented exclusively by its HPD JAS Pro America lineup of sim-racers Cardin Lu, Josh Staffin and Zach Patterson, the latter of whom finished ninth in Round 1, along with real-world SRO America driver Karl Wittmer in its three Honda NSX GT3 Evo entries.

Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo runners Hamza Gulzar (TSE Racing) and Skyler Loverink (Brix Racing) hope Donnington provides a chance to rebound from finishes of 48th and 45th in the opener. The Prancing Horse’s chances are bolstered by new additions Igor Rodrigues (Williams Esports) and Ryley Murdock (SOP ESports Racing) who emerged from a competitive qualifying session to make the field.

Three veterans of the Kyalami race are back in the Lamborghini fold with Zach Etier (RacingSimTools eSports), Ryan Woodrow (FlashPointEsports), and Brian Kannappan (Team Fordzilla) all entered in Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evos. Kannappan notched the best result of the trio in South Africa with a 15th-place result. A fourth Lamborghini will be piloted by Jake Langevin out of the Pass on da Grass stable.

Lexus is in a similar position seeking its first Top 10 of the season with three returning drivers: Taha Malih (H3 Racing), Joseph Kostovich (Nine 4 Nine Racing), and Thomas Lavoie (EGT Motorsport). Bolstering their ranks for Donnington is Madhaus Racing driver Quin Smith who is set for his season debut.

William Hendrickson (Jean Alesi eSports Academy) is back in a Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo and aiming to repeat his podium run from last month, while Pierre-Olivier Cloutier (EGT Motorsport) and Adrien Bourdon (SOP Esports Racing) hope to rebound from a difficult opening race. The fourth Mercedes driver this month is Mark DeBoer in a privately-entered car.

The Porsche camp, meanwhile, boasts five cars including the Round 1 winner and championship points leader Cody Pryde (PPR Esports). The rest of the Porsche crew struggled at Kyalami with Carl Matthes (KOMP Racing) finishing 19th, Matt Santiago (Turn1 Pro) finishing 30th, and Chris Bruno (CMS Pro) finishing 40th. Those four are back and will be joined by RacingSimTools eSports driver Szymon Salamon for this month’s race.

The lone Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 belongs to Season 1 champion Bryan Heitkotter who seeks to improve on an 18th-place run at Kyalami in Round 2 of the eight-round season which consists of five 60-minute sprint events and three more endurance races of durations lasting three, six and 12 hours.

In the Sprint races, a mandatory pitstop featuring at least one liter of fuel must be served between minutes 25 and 35. Changing tires is not required but will provide a noticeable performance advantage, albeit with the caveat of remaining stationary for longer.

Saturday’s action commences with a Free Practice and Qualifying session before the race itself starts at 4:00PM EST / 10:00PM CEST. Follow the action through SRO’s official livestream beginning 10 minutes earlier on SRO’s GT World YouTube and Twitch channels.

Pryde, Porsche Earn Round 1 Victory at Kyalami

Race Results: Round 1
Photo Gallery: Click Here

Cody Pryde claimed victory in the opening round of the GT World Challenge America Esports Championship at Kyalami, fending off reigning champion Michael Kundakcioglu to score the win in the 60-minute Sprint race. 

Kundakcioglu, who made the switch to the McLaren 720S GT3 for Season 3 after winning the Season 2 championship in a Mercedes-AMG GT3, put his No. 96 SideMax Motorworks entry on pole by a narrow 0.081 seconds over Jean Alesi Esports Academy driver William Hendrickson in a tight qualifying session.

At the drop of the green, it was Hendrickson who got the jump in the No. 757 Mercedes-AMG GT3 and he held the lead by the exit of Turn 2 while Pryde slotted in behind after lining up third on the grid in the No. 1 Porsche 911 GT3 R.

Hendrickson’s lead would be short-lived, however, as Pryde slipped by one lap later, claiming a lead he would never relinquish.

Kundakcioglu reclaimed second place less than five minutes later while last season’s GT4 champion Aenore Rose, driving a McLaren, made her way by her Jean Alesi Esports Academy teammate just over 11-minutes into the race.

A momentary trip of course for Rose allowed Hendrickson back into third, while Rose was forced to fend off a fierce challenge by Chris Severt in the No. 81 Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 and Cardin Lu in the No. 25 Honda/Acura NSX GT3 Evo.

Up front, Pryde kept the gap back to Kundakcioglu between one and two seconds until the mandatory pit stop, but a combination of fast in and out laps, quick pit work, and good fortune with lapped traffic allowed the Porsche driver to build a comfortable margin for the final stint.

“I kind of got lucky,” Pryde said in his post-race interview. “The tires started going off. Michael was catching in the McLaren and he was about one second back the entire first stint. It was really good!

“Then we pitted and I got lucky because I came out ahead of two lapped cars and they held up Michael quite a bit. I was probably lucky, but I hope to repeat this at Donnington.”

The final margin of victory was 4.849 seconds, while Hendrickson finished on the final step of the podium 15.91 seconds behind. Rose and Severt complete the top five, while the McLarens of Matt Leeman and Ryan Walker finished sixth and seventh. In all, four McLarens finished inside the top seven.

The battle for the final points-paying positions was fierce in the final hour with Philippe Simard storming to eighth in his R&K Racing BMW M6 GT3 from 13th on the grid, while Zach Patterson’s NSX and Killian Ryan-Meenan’s Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 completed the top ten after a fraught run to the checkered flag.

Of note, ninth-place qualifier Hamza Gulzar was forced to withdraw early in the event, while fifth-place starter Cardin Lu had a difficult race that saw him drop from deep inside the top ten to 25th due to multiple instances of contact in the final laps and a 15 second post-race penalty.

The hard charger of the race was #GTRivals champion Bryan Heitkotter who recovered from a 30th place qualifying effort to finish 18th in the No. 5 Forsberg Racing Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3.

The next round of the GTWC America Esports Championship is another Sprint round, this time at Donnington Park on June 26th.

GT World Challenge America Esports returns with 50 of the Best Sim Racers in North America

  • Season 2 champions Kundakcioglu, Rose among 50 entries for opening round
  • Iconic Kylami plays host to the first of five Sprint Series races on the North American schedule
  • Entry list: Kyalami

The North American portion of the SRO Motorsports Group’s global virtual race series takes the green flag this Saturday (May 22) at the iconic Kyalami Circuit, featuring many of the best sim racers on the continent in the opening round of the GT World Challenge America Esports Championship.

Utilizing Assetto Corsa Competizione, the official simulation of GT World Challenge, the third season of the North American championship will feature five one hour sprint races and three long distance endurance events with top finishers at the conclusion of the season earning the right to represent their championship in the Grand Final at the end of the season.

The SRO’s global Esports season gets underway Thursday (May 20) with the opening event of the eight-race GT World Challenge Asia championship, while the European series will hold the first of its 15 events on Friday (May 21). Technical assistance for all three continental championships and the Grand Final is provided by AK Esports, The Sim Grid, and real-world sponsors Fanatec and AWS.

The grid of 50 competitors for the North American opener was set by a fierce hot lap competition with the top four times from each GT3 manufacturer locked into this week’s field in addition to six VIP entries, all racing in a single class. The Sprint races will utilize a new format for Season 3 with a mandatory pit stop which must include refueling within a prescribed pit stop window during the 60-minute race, while tire changes remain optional.

The Top-10 race finishers this week at Kyalami will score points towards the season-long Sprint championship and lock themselves into the field for the second Sprint event at Donnington Park (June 26) while the rest of the entries will again be earned through Hot Lap Qualifying.

The 50 qualified drivers for each event will be vying for the continental drivers’ crown and several guaranteed entries into the GT World Challenge Esports Grand Final, which will bring together the fastest gamers from America, Europe, and Asia to race for the ultimate prize.

THE CONTENDERS

Headlining the entry list is reigning GT World Challenge America Esports champion Michael Kundakcioglu who will be running a McLaren 720S GT3 after driving a Mercedes-AMG GT3 to the championship title last season.

He is joined on the VIP roster by other Season 2 competitors Philippe Simard (BMW M6 GT3) and Simon Fisher (McLaren), as well as real-world and sim racer Brian Heitkotter (Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3) among others.

Last season’s GT4 champion Aenore Rose is back, this time stepping up into a McLaren and instantly showing the kind of pace she displayed in her championship run by qualifying at the head of the McLaren contingent.

Honda Performance Development and JAS Motorsport, which developed and help campaign the Acura NSX GT3 Evo in real-world SRO competition, have stepped into the sim racing world in a big way with four factory entries for Karl Wittmer, Josh Staffin, Cardin Lu, and Zach Patterson.

GT World Challenge America Esports veterans Hamza Gulzar (Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo), Zach Kunin (Bentley Continental GT3), Tadas Liutkus (Bentley), and Caleb Lavender (BMW M6 GT3) are back once again, each qualifying through the hot lap competition.

Joining the veterans are newcomers Zach Etier (Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo), Ryan Reidhead (Lexus RC F GT3), Chris Severt (Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3), Émile Carpentier (Audi R8 LMS GT3), William Hendrickson (Mercedes-AMG), and Cody Pryde (Porsche 911 GT3 R), all of whom qualified as the fastest driver from their respective manufacturers.

HOW TO WATCH

Catch all the action streamed live for free at SRO’s GTWorld YouTube channel, on the GT World Challenge America Facebook page, or SRO Motorsports Twitch channel. Round 1 kicks off at 4pm EDT.  

2021 GT WORLD CHALLENGE AMERICA ESPORTS CHAMPIONSHIP CALENDAR

  • May 22 – Kyalami – Sprint
  • June 26 – Donnington Park – Sprint
  • July 17 – Laguna Seca 6 Hours – Endurance
  • July 24 – Spa-Francorchamps – Sprint
  • August 14 – Hungaroring – Sprint
  • September 25 – Bathurst 12 Hour – Endurance
  • October 23 – Suzuka – Sprint
  • October 30 – Monza 3 Hours – Endurance

GT World Challenge Esports registration now open

  • New series to test leading sim drivers and teams using Assetto Corsa Competizione
  • Minimum €50,000 prize money guaranteed across three continents

Registration is now open for the new GT World Challenge Esports Championships in Europe, Asia and America, with all three set to stage their maiden races this month. 

Utilising the highly authentic physics and unmatched driving realism of Assetto Corsa Competizione from Kunos Simulazioni, each continental championship will comprise a Sprint Series for individual sim drivers and an Endurance Series catering for leading esports teams. A minimum of €50,000 prize money is guaranteed across the three continents and competitors hoping to stake their claim can register now at SRO-esports.com.

Entry to Sprint Series events will be determined by hot lap qualifying sessions. Up to 44 single-driver cars can compete in each one-hour race and registration will remain open for the duration of the championships. The full-season Endurance Series grids will be determined by single hot lap qualifying sessions dedicated to each continent, with 44 cars able to make the cut. Teams wishing to compete in Europe must register by 16 May, while in Asia and America the cut-off date is 11 July. 

The European campaign will launch at Monza, with the iconic Temple of Speed hosting a one-hour Sprint race on 21 May and a three-hour Endurance contest on 22 May. Hot lap qualifying for both events will run from 10-16 May and, with significant prize money up for grabs, the competition promises to be fierce.

Asia will launch its GT World Challenge Esports season with a Sprint Series race at Brands Hatch on 20 May, while its opening Endurance event will be a six-hour run at Bathurst on 17 July. Qualifying for the Sprint round will be open from 10-16 May, while the Mount Panorama hot lap session runs from 5-11 July. 

The American championship gets underway with a Sprint Series event at Kyalami (22 May) and a six-hour Endurance race at legendary Californian venue Laguna Seca (17 July). Sprint qualifying will be open from 10-16 May, while Endurance teams can stake their claim for a place on the grid from 5-11 July. 

The GT World Challenge Esports Championship is the latest virtual racing initiative organised by SRO Motorsports Group in collaboration with Fanatec, Kunos Simulazioni and AK Informatica, with additional support provided by The Sim Grid. Each event will be streamed live across YouTube, Twitch and Facebook, with an expert broadcast team guiding fans through the action.

Inside Forsberg Racing and their Sim Racing Challenge with ASUS Republic of Gamers

Chris Forsberg and his Forsberg Racing team might not be known in sports car racing. But the homegrown talent has made a name for himself in motorsports. Rather than conquering road courses and circuits, Forsberg came up in the drifting arena with support from Nissan Motorsports, securing the most wins in head-to-head competition and three Formula Drift Championships along the way. In 2020, he and his eponymous team set out to broaden their motorsports endeavors and added sim racing to their efforts with competitive bids in both GT Rivals and the FCP Euro GT World Challenge America Esports Championship.

In spite of their heavy emphasis on racing and race support, Forsberg Racing isn’t just a racing team or track shop; they are also a full-service digital marketing agency, with an emphasis on the youth market. Forsberg Racing produces original content for its partners and can reach over 10 million enthusiasts on social media with their established distribution channels. Utilizing and expanding upon their history in drifting, they are now getting their feet wet in other disciplines including touring car racing and Baja 1000 off-road racing, ultimately hoping to manifest in a professional road racing bid in the near future.

To strengthen the teams position outside of drifting, Forsberg Racing tapped former Pirelli World Challenge racer and GT Academy winner Bryan Heitkotter. With Nissan cars being a common thread the two share, Heitkotter has recently taken on a new position with Forsberg Racing, leading their sim racing effort and coaching Forsberg to extract more performance from all the three-time Champ’s other facets of his driving ability.

For season two of the FCP Euro GT World Challenge America Esports Championship, Heitkotter continued to showcase his sim racing skills under the Forsberg Racing banner. He dominated his home track, WeatherTech Racing Laguna Seca, but was ultimately relegated to third place after a run-in with lapped traffic. In GT Rivals, Heitkotter earned five overall wins in eight rounds of the championship.

Heitkotter’s real world experience behind the wheel of the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 has helped tremendously in his competitions against stacked grids of sim racers. Understanding setup changes and how the car races in traffic allows him to shine up front in one of the older GT3 variants.

“Joining Forsberg Racing has been amazing. The team is incredibly dedicated and positive. Our combined strengths, talents, and resources have been a natural fit and I’m looking forward to seeing where this takes us!” said Heitkotter. “I’ve been helping Chris get up to speed with sim racing and his improvement has been huge in a short time already. It’s a very different experience from drifting. He’s using his skills to adapt well. I think he’ll surprise some people this year!”

Just as your equipment in the real world is an important part of your success, sim racing also requires high performance components and equipment to race competitively with the best. Forsberg Racing teamed with ASUS Republic of Gamers to step up the team’s sim rigs with top-line competition products that are also available off-the-shelf at the retail consumer level.



In any simulation, particularly sim racing, computer processing and rendering power are the foundations upon which any championship run must be built. Having the power and ability to run Assetto Corsa Competizione on Epic settings allows for greater in-game detail, allowing the Forsberg Racing drivers to push the limits and get the most out of their virtual Nissans. To that end, ASUS ROG supplied the ROG Strix GL12 gaming desktop that features an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 TI graphics card for the best graphical-rendering ability and an Intel Core i9 CPU to prevent gameplay delays and buffering.

One of the main drawbacks between piloting from a real versus virtual driver’s seat is the breadth of one’s Field of Vision. The limited peripheral vision is mitigated to some extent in real life with simple head turns; this is, of course, not an option in the “fixed” field of sim racing where the view is limited by the physical screen real estate. To keep the sim rig simple while maximizing Forsberg’s ability to remain in top form, ASUS provided its ASUS ROG Strix XG49VQ ultrawide monitor to maximize screen real estate while minimizing complexity. An easy setup and expanded view make it a win for sim racing.

Seasoned sim-racer Heitkotter opted for a triple-monitor setup utilizing three ASUS ROG Swift PG248Q monitors. This gives the most real-estate and in-game peripheral vision for a literally immersive experience.



The Forsberg Racing team mounted their new components to Ricmotech motion simulators with Recaro seats for the most realistic feel for sim racing. Providing Bryan and Chris with the best to challenge SRO esports races and train in between real races.

“Sim racing has given me so much seat time over the past year. Joining the SRO series was the first time I have ever done long “wheel to wheel” racing stints with real drivers. It has taught me a lot in regards to patience and mental concentration,” said Forsberg. “Grateful to have great partners like ASUS ROG to help strengthen my performance in esports with their top of the line PC gear. Can’t wait to do more!”

“Supporting Chris and the talented Forsberg Racing team as they dive into the world of sim racing has been such an exciting journey for us over the past year,” said Yen Hoang, Sr. Manager of Brand Marketing at ASUS North America. “Thanks to our continued partnership with SRO Motorsports America, we’re looking forward to bringing sim racing to the homes of many more aspiring competitors like Chris with our latest gaming gear!”

Ready to start sim racing? ASUS Republic of Gamers and TUF Gaming empowers sim racers and gamers with the tools they need to perform at their best. From innovative gaming desktops to monitors, top-of-the-line graphics cards and motherboards, there’s a Republic of Gamers and TUF Gaming solution for PC DIY enthusiasts and gamers of all experience levels.

For sim racers who are always on the go, the TUF Dash F15 gaming laptop is the perfect companion and can also be paired with a versatile TUF Gaming VG259QM monitor for smooth visuals. And for those looking for the latest and greatest gaming components to pair with an ultrawide monitor or multi-monitor setup, the recently announced ROG Strix Z590 series motherboards and ROG GeForce RTX™ 30-series GPUs provide top-of-the-line sim racing performance.

Not sure where to start? Just in time for Valentine’s Day, ASUS PC DIY will be hosting new giveaways, videos from your favorite builders, a special live stream event, and more educational content to help you learn, connect and share new PC building knowledge and experiences with your loved ones. Learn more at https://us.rog.gg/PCDIY.

Additionally, you can also check out the ASUS PC DIY Hub, which has everything that aspiring sim racers need to know in order to get started today – check out the Hub website at https://www.asus.com/us/site/PCDIY/ to learn how to build your own PC as easy as 1, 2, 3!

To learn more about ASUS Republic of Gamers, please visit rog.asus.com.

Blanton Wins, Kundakcioglu Claims GT World Challenge America Esports Championship at Imola

  • Cody Blanton takes flag-to-flag win for first victory 
  • Michael Kundakciaglu crowned FCP Euro GTWC America GT3 Champion 
  • Aenore Cavillon earns victory in GT4 over Mia Rose  

Cody Blanton took overall honors but a runner-up result was more than enough for Michael Kundakcioglu to secure the FCP Euro GT World Challenge America Esports Championship title in the season finale at Imola.

A late flying lap in tricky wet conditions secured pole position for Blanton in the No. 9 Avid Chronic Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 by three tenths of a second over fellow Mercedes-runner Troy Barman in the No. 191 Racing Line Motorsports entry.

Blanton took full advantage of the prime real estate by getting a strong jump into the lead at the start of the race en route to a flag-to-flag victory.

Behind Blanton the battles were fierce around the Imola circuit over the course of the 60-minute race that, unlike qualifying, unfolded into dry conditions.

Kundakciaglu, who led the championship by nine points entering the finale, had a clean start from fourth on the grid and quickly moved up into third in the opening laps.

The Canadian spent most of the race pressuring Barman for the runner-up spot while trying not to subject himself to too much risk, knowing that a podium finish would be enough to clinch the championship even with his closest rivals, Blanton and Barman, ahead of him on track.

The race-long battle between Kundakciaglu and Barman ultimately tipped in the championship leader’s favor with 25 minutes to go when Barman slid wide at the exit of Rivazza and opened the door for Kundakciaglu to make a move to the inside into the Tamburello Chicane.

Despite some door to door contact, Kundakciaglu was able to complete the pass and throttle into second place where he would ultimately finish.

Barman spent the rest of his race trying to fend off the No. 42 Egg Motorsports Ferrari 488 GT3 of Philippe Simard, but that battle was rendered moot by a 15-second post-race penalty that was assessed to the Ferrari driver.

Simard finished third on the road but was credited with a fifth place finish after the penalty was taken into account, slotting in behind Barman and Round 4 winner Nick McMillen in the No. 25 Thrustmaster Esports Mercedes-AMG GT3.

It was a particularly impressive performance by McMillen who qualified way back on the grid in 17th place but worked quickly into the top ten after the drop of the green.

The American was a part of a tremendous battle for sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth in the second half of the race that at various times featured Hamza Gulzar, Lucas Müller, Lukas Müller, Sam Cairns, Bryan Heitkotter, and Josh Staffin interchanging positions.. 

Heitkotter, the #GTRivals champion, was also able to emerge from this group to finish sixth after qualifying 14th in the No. 5 Forsberg Racing Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3, followed by Champion Motorsports driver Josh Staffin who finished seventh after a dazzling qualifying performance in the wet saw him line up third.

At the end of the five-round championship, Kundakciaglu secured the title by 11 points over Blanton who was himself a single tally ahead of Barman in points.

There were no repeat winners over the five races which saw Kundakciaglu (Nurburgring), Barman (Barcelona), Lucas Müller (Bathurst), McMillen (WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca) and Blanton (Imola) each take overall honors once.

The GT4 championship was decided before the last green flag flew with Aenore Cavillon having finished on the podium in the penultimate race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca last month, securing the title.

The Jean Alesi Esports Academy driver and her teammate Mia Rose dominated the class in qualifying which began with a dry track before the rain set in halfway through the allotted time for GT4 competitors.

As a result, Rose earned the class pole with a time that was faster than 15 GT3 drivers who had their full session run in wet conditions.

Cavillon, the champion-elect, qualified on the outside of the front row in class, completing a sweep of the top two spots for the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport.

They were followed by Simon Fisher and Juan Reinoso in a Porsche and Maserati MC GT4, respectively.

Cavillon got the jump on Rose early on and led much of the early going, but the Australian went on a charge in the second half of the 60-minute race.

Often in the midst of GT3 traffic, the two Jean Alesi Esports Academy teammates proceeded to swap the lead multiple times in some of the closest racing of the season, but a late mistake by Rose in Tosa created the opportunity for Cavillon to pull away and take her fourth win of a championship-winning season that saw her rack up four wins and a third in five starts.

Rose came home second, while Simon Fisher completed the podium as the third and final car on the lead lap in GT4 competition.

Reinoso finished fourth while Joseph Kostovich in an Aston Martin Vantage GT4 completed the top five.

Imola delivered an exciting end to our second season of esports with Assetto Corsa Competizione. As we move into the regular season, additional esports championships are in the works and will be announced shortly. 

Thank you to our series partners – FCP Euro, Liqui Moly, Corteco, ASUS Republic of Gamers and TUF Gaming, Fanatec, AWS, CrowdStrike Racing, Pirelli Tires, Rebellion Timepieces, and Total. 

RACE REPLAY
PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS 

50-Strong Entry List for LIQUI MOLY Bathurst Esports Feature

  • 33 GT3 and 17 GT4 entries make-up Round 2 at Mount Panorama 
  • Entry List: Click Here 

The FCP Euro GT World Challenge America Esports Championship returns to action this Sunday for Round 2 at the famed Mount Panorama Circuit in virtual Australia presented by LIQUI MOLY. 

Home to the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli LIQUI MOLY Bathurst 12 hour, a record grid of esports racers will try to tame the mountain in the one-hour feature race in Assetto Corsa Competizione. 

Set against the hills in New South Wales, Mount Panorama is one of the most unique circuits in the world. With 571 ft of vertical difference between its highest and lowest points, this high speed, narrow 3.835-mile circuit features many distinctive corners and straights. 

Round 2 will air this Sunday, November 22nd at 3pm ET across SRO’s GT World YouTube channel, SRO Motorsports Twitch Channel, and GT World Challenge America powered by AWS Facebook page. 

Bathurst Battle Begins in GT3 

In Season One, Honda Performance Development driver Karl Wittmer dominated the event in the Acura NSX GT3 Evo. But this time, he faces much stiffer competition of experienced sim racers. One of those racers is Round 1 race winner Michael Kundakcioglu, who’s shown his speed will be a challenge for all on the grid in the SideMax Motorworks Mercedes-AMG GT3. 

Claiming second in at Nurburgring, Troy Barman comes into Bathurst looking to improve one position to maximize his championship points in the Racing Line Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3. 

Haupt Racing Team returns with Lucas and Lukas Müller, also in Mercedes machinery. Lukas took third place in the season opener with Lucas looking to deliver a stronger performance after running into trouble at Nurburgring. 

Champion Motorsports driver Hamza Gulzar had a relatively quiet first race, finishing a solid 5th. Championship Motorsports Pro Green teammates Drake Burgoon and Matthew Santiago look to bring the Bathurst strong Bentley Continental GT3 to victory lane.   

Making their debuts in season two, GT Academy winner Nick McMillan rejoins the championship and will drive a Mercedes-AMG GT3. HPD GT3 Driver Academy standout Dakota Dickerson is back and will pilot an Acura NSX GT3 Evo. Forsberg Racing enters one single entry this weekend for Spa 6h driver D.J. Alessandrini. With Tom O’Gorman back in the ASUS Republic of Gamers Lexus RC-F GT3. 

Classic BMW Four Corners Brewing Co brings, believe it or not, four BMW M6 GT3s to the grid this weekend. Also making his debut is British GT and DTM Trophy standout Ben Green. He joined the team for the Spa 6h and impressed in the slippery conditions. He’ll be joined by team leader Toby Grahovec, Kurt Wittmer, and Jacob Ruud. 

ST Racing’s Jon Miller and Champion Motorsports Dirk Groeneveld will also campaign BMW M6 GT3s for the second round of the championship. 

Bentley will also be represented by SideMax Motorworks’ Sam Cairns and Champion Motorsports Pro Red team driver, Collin Johnson. They’ll join Burgoon and Santiago in the Continental GT3 that took the overall victory at this year’s LIQUI MOLY Bathurst 12hr. 

Audi will feature TC America driver Vinnie Lima in the NGP Motorsports Audi R8 LMS GT3. Along with Nelson Mason, who’s shown speed and looks to fight his way to the front for maseRace Esports w/ Racers360. TC America racer Sally McNulty makes her second esports start in the Team Sally Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo. 

Round 1 polesitter Philippe Simard looks to start stronger in the Ferrari 488 GT3. With Josh Staffin and the Lexus RC-F GT3 also hoping to finish higher in the field. 

Lamborghini will be represented by Champion Motorsports drivers Branden Ouellet, Chris Bruno, and Matthew Marlow. 

Mercedes-AMG also fields the two FCP Euro’s TC America drivers, Michael Hurczyn and Nate Vincent looking to capitalize on their learning experience at Nurburgring to move up the grid. Cody Blanton completes the AMG line-up for Round 2. 

Porsche has seen success at Bathurst and will be represented by Jonathan Lee, driving the LIQUI MOLY 911 GT3 R. Pirelli GT4 America driver Jason Alexandridis will also take the wheel of a Porsche for Round 2. 

Cavillon Leads GT4 Championship Heading into Bathurst 

17 GT4 drivers will take the grid for the mixed class feature at Bathurst. Aenore Cavillon dominated the first round in the #56 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4. Ludovick Daoust and Simon Fisher look to close the points gap, both also racing Porsche machinery. 

Archer Brothers Esports racer, Caleb John Lavender will challenge the mountain in the Audi R8 LMS GT4. Along with Sean Bowers, racing for Zealous. 

Aston Martin is represented by Joseph Kostovich, driving the #240 Vantage GT4 and Strix Racing drive Andie TheLabYT, who when not making YouTube videos is busy sim racing. 

BMW will feature five M4 GT4s at Bathurst. Brian Szabelski is joined by Bruno Nazzaro Munhoes. With Girtas Aklas and Letas Autosport drivers Keith Briscoe, Tadas Liutkus, and Takis Weekes. 

JT Tami with Champion Racing and Juan Reinoso of Arcade Team Racing will pilot Maserati MC GT4s. The two were locked in great battles together in Round 1 and look to continue that fight on the mountain. 

Cameron Sansano will pilot the only Mercedes-AMG GT4 on the grid. With Porsche also being represented by newcomer Maryn Edwards of MFR Team Edison and Star Girl Racing’s Verena Mei.    

How To Watch Live 

The FCP Euro GT World Challenge America Esports 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps will be live on SRO’s network including YouTube (GT World), Twitch (SRO Motorsports), and Facebook. Tune in at 1pm ET for the start of qualifying, followed directly with the 6 hour feature endurance race. 

→ youtube.com/gtworld
→ twitch.tv/sromotorsports
→ facebook.com/gtworldchallengeamerica
→ twitter.com/gtworldcham

Follow Live Timing & Scoring 

Just added! Follow all the action from PitWall featuring live timing & scoring, stint overviews, trackmap with car positioning, and more. Create an account and search for the GT World Challenge America Esports page.  

Series Partners: FCP Euro, Liqui Moly, Corteco, ASUS Republic of Gamers, ASUS TUF Gaming, Fanatec, Champion Motorsports, AWS, CrowdStrike Racing, Pirelli, Rebellion Timepieces, and Total