Fierce slipstream duels and plenty of drama on the track marked the eighth of ten rounds of the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup season. This time, the 30-strong Porsche 911 GT3 Cup field raced on the Grand Prix circuit and the Nordschleife of the Nürburgring.
Alejandro Sánchez, who started fifth in the standings on the Eifel circuit, laid the foundation for his sprint success in qualifying: The Spaniard from the Stormforce Racing ART team secured pole position ahead of 2020 PESC champion Sebastian Job and rookie driver Luca Kita (Urano eSports) from Germany. After the start on the 24-hour track variant, the field turned onto the Nordschleife in this order and also finished in the same order after three laps. Meanwhile, Briton Charlie Collins had fought his way past his American VRS Coanda teammate Zac Campbell and Italian Moreno Sirica to seventh position. The Williams Esports driver finished eighth and thus could enjoy a pole position start for the feature race: as per usual, the top eight of the sprint commenced the four-lap race in reverse order.
Bico, who started third, set the pace early on. The winner of the Spa sprint race took the lead at the start of the second lap and defended it tooth and nail against a hard-charging Yohann Harth (Stormforce Racing ART). The long “Döttinger Höhe” delivered exciting slipstream duels, which reached a crescendo in the final lap. Bico, however, kept his cool and despite being pushed by the Frenchman, finished just 0.043 seconds ahead of him. Third place went to Maximilian Benecke. The German from Team Mouz started from ninth on the grid and skilfully kept out of the fray. His compatriot Luca Kita finished fourth and once again won the rookie classification.
Sebastian Job, on the other hand, once again lacked luck at the Nürburgring: while the Briton from the Oracle Redbull Racing Esports team fought for third place with Sirica, Sánchez spun him off the track braking for turn 1. Sirica also dropped back. This incident also favoured Altus Esports driver Jordan Caruso: The current championship leader moved up three positions into seventh place. The Australian also benefited from the fact that many of his championship rivals such as Campbell, Sánchez, Collins and defending champion Diogo Pinto from Portugal (Team Redline) delivered a sub-par performance on the Nordschleife.
Ex-Porsche Junior Ayhancan Güven wins first All-Stars race
The content creators from the sim racing scene received support from famous drivers on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife: DTM driver Ayhancan Güven from Turkey and the new Porsche junior Bastian Buus from Denmark strengthened the field. Both also have esports experience. Güven, a former Porsche junior from 2020 to 2021, secured pole position straight off the bat and drove the digital 911 RSR to an uncontested victory in the sprint race. Second place went to US driver Casey Kirwan ahead of Buus and Pablo “ThePulpoLopez” López from Spain.
As always, the All-Stars lined up for the second race in reverse order of the previous finish. Güven’s charge from the back of the grid ended in the first of three laps after making contact with another driver. Kirwan made his way into fifth place in his first lap through the “Green Hell,” but had to let Buus pass after a driving error in the “Hatzenbach” section. Buus spun in the “Karussel” on lap two and was forced to retire. The American Tyson “Quirkitized” Meier made the most of his pole position and secured an unchallenged victory ahead of the Czech Jaroslav “Jardier” Honzik. Kirwan was able to push López out of third place with a spirited final attack, but handed this position back to him before the finish line.
Next stop: The Circuit des 24 Heures in Le Mans
The next digital venue of the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup is also known for its famous 24-hour race: The ninth and penultimate round of the season will take place at the Circuit des 24 Heures in Le Mans, France. On May 20th, the 30-strong field will tackle a sprint over three laps and a six-lap feature race in their virtual Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars. In the pre-race support programme, a dozen content creators from the esports scene will once again line up on the grid in a fleet of Porsche 911 RSR. The live stream on www.twitch.com/porsche and https://www.youtube.com/@Porsche will begin at 8 p.m. (CEST). The Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup will then commence at around 9:15 pm.
Driver quotes after the race
Alessandro Bico (I/Williams Esports): “That was crazy! Coming onto the back straight I was only 0.6 seconds ahead of Yohann Harth. I wasn’t sure I could maintain the position. But I did everything I could to hold on! Then, in the last corner, I got a push from behind and was afraid that I would lose the car. After my rookie year, I’m very happy with how things are going for me this season. My team is supporting me really well.”
Yohann Harth (F/Stormforce Racing ART): “On the final lap I tried everything, and thus made a small mistake. But I’m thrilled with my third podium result in a PESC feature race.”
Maximilian Benecke (D/Mouz): “To be honest, I was also very lucky because some drivers in front of me collided and lost ground. I’ll still gladly take the result. Considering my performance today, it’s a good result and it’s come at the right time – it wasn’t looking so good for me in the championship, I have to keep my license in mind. I tried to stay in the slipstream of the guys in front of me and hoped that things like today would happen.”
Nürburgring Grand-Prix Circuit and Nordschleife (Germany), sprint race
1. Alejandro Sánchez (E/Stormforce Racing ART)
2. Sebastian Job (UK/Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports)
3. Luca Kita (D/Urano eSports)
4. Cooper Webster (AUS/Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports)
5. Yohann Harth (F/Apex Racing Team)
Nürburgring Grand-Prix Course and Nordschleife (Germany), feature race
1. Alessandro Bico (I/Williams Esports)
2. Yohann Harth (F/Apex Racing Team)
3. Maximilian Benecke (D/Mouz)
4. Luca Kita (D/Urano eSports)
5. Zac Campbell (USA/VRS Coanda)
Overall standings after 8 of 10 rounds
1. Jordan Caruso (AUS/Altus Esports), 449 points
2. Zac Campbell (USA/VRS Coanda), 371 points
3. Sebastian Job (UK/Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports), 371 points
4. Alejandro Sánchez (E/Stormforce Racing ART), 348 points
5. Charlie Collins (GB, VRS Coanda), 307 points