> Virtual championship reaches its halfway stage at the world’s biggest GT race
> Entry list: Spa-Francorchamps
The Bus Stop. La Source. Blanchimont. Eau Rouge. This weekend these iconic corners not only welcome the world’s biggest GT race – the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa – but also Round 3 of 2021’s Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series, which reaches its halfway stage in Belgium later today.
24 stars of the twice around the clock enduro must first compete virtually for real-world Fanatec GT World Challenge Powered by AWS Teams’ Championship points on Assetto Corsa Competizione.
After visiting Monza and Paul Ricard it’s now Spa’s turn to host the Fanatec Arena, which has been unpacked and rebuilt by the series’ technical partner, AK Informatica, in just under two days.
That same structure has already witnessed two dramatic 60-minute races this year.
A victory and class podium have helped Arthur Rougier notch up four extra real-world Teams’ points for Emil Frey Racing, Kelvin van der Linde added three points to WRT’s tally by winning last time out at Paul Ricard, and AKKA ASP are level pegging with Emil Frey thanks to Dani Juncadella’s two second place finishes. Filling the French rostrum means all three will carry Success Ballast later today.
Meanwhile, Rinaldi leads the Silver Teams’ standings following Nicolas Varrone’s win last time out, Ryuichiro Tomita collected maximum points for WRT in Italy, and Ezequiel Perez Companc’s double podium has contributed three more points to Madpanda’s score.
Several new drivers also make their first virtual appearance of the season.
Varrone and Benjamin Hites have both scored Silver points this year for Rinaldi who now call on the services of Fabrizio Crestani. HRT has swapped both its Pro and Silver line-ups, which now respectively feature Luca Stolz and Indy Dontje, and Louis Prette takes over Sainteloc’s Audi from Christopher Haase.
Attempto’s Pro R8 LMS GT3 will have Dennis Marschall at the wheel while the sister Silver entry features Fabien Lavergne. Miklas Born is on duty for SPS Automotive, and Nicolai Kjaergaard steps into Garage 59’s Aston Martin.
Warm-up and qualifying take place from 14:30 CEST today before the 60-minute race begins at 15:40 CEST. Watch it live in the company of David Addison and Ben Constanduros on SRO’s GT World Youtube and Twitch channels.
FANATEC ESPORTS GT PRO SERIES FORMAT
One driver per Pro and Silver Cup team contesting this weekend’s real 24-hour endurance race will also enter the Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series qualifying session and 60-minute race. Each of the 24 entries have been assigned a Fanatec rig for the entire season, which they can either set up using data provided by official SRO Esports partner, Coach Dave Academy, or according to their own preferences. They must also use the same manufacturer as their team has entered in real life.
Each driver must make one mandatory pitstop between minutes 25 and 35. Changing tyres is optional but at least one litre of fuel must be added. Success Ballast in the order of 30kg, 15kg and 10kg will be applied to both classes’ top three finishers from the previous round.
SRO Esports’ official technical partner, AK Informatica, will review incidents and administer penalties if necessary, as well as publish all official results and points post-race.
Pro and Silver class podium finishers will score either one, two or three points towards their respective real-world Overall Teams’ Championship total, meaning as many as 15 points are available across 2021’s five 60-minute rounds. There’s a genuine possibility, therefore, that virtual results will decide the outcome of a real-world international championship for the first time in motorsport history.
30kg – Kelvin van der Linde, Team WRT
15kg – Dani Juncadella, AKKA ASP
10kg – Arthur Rougier, Emil Frey Racing
30kg – Fabrizio Crestani, Rinaldi Racing
15kg – Alex Fontana, Emil Frey Racing
10kg – Ezequiel Perez Companc, Madpanda Motorsport