The inaugural Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series campaign concludes this Saturday at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya where Emil Frey Racing has an opportunity to all-but seal the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS Overall Silver Cup Teams’ Championship.
The Fanatec Arena, built inside Barcelona’s paddock, once again welcomes 24 of the world’s best GT drivers, each of whom can score real-world and sim racing points for their respective teams using Assetto Corsa Competizione.
With Arthur Rougier wrapping up the virtual Pro title for Emil Frey last time out at the Nurburgring, and Team WRT already confirmed as real-world Overall Teams’ champions, attention switches to the Silver class where three outfits could yet win the Esports crown.
What’s more, Emil Frey can take a step closer to clinching the real-world Silver Teams’ title if Alex Fontana beats WRT’s Ryuichiro Tomita.
SILVER SHOWDOWN TAKES CENTRE STAGE
A dominant performance helped Ryuichiro Tomita claim his first overall and second Silver class victory last month in Germany to bounce Team WRT back into virtual title contention following two point-less outings.
The Belgian squad lies just one point behind Rinaldi Racing, which missed the opportunity to seal the deal with a race to spare. The onus now falls on WRT to match Rinaldi’s total, a scenario that could potentially see both teams tied on points as well as results (two wins and one third place). In that instance Fabrizio Crestani would have no choice but to finish fourth in order to beat Tomita’s fifth place ‘kicker’ from Spa.
Madpanda Motorsport also remains in virtual championship contention two points behind Rinaldi’s Ferrari. However, tying on points isn’t an option for the Spanish squad who must claim a first victory of the season and hope other results go their way to have a chance of winning the sim title. Juuso Puhakka replaces Ezequiel Perez Companc for the season finale.
Elsewhere, this year’s Overall Silver Teams’ champion will not be decided in the Fanatec Arena on Saturday night. But Emil Frey could take a step closer to clinching the crown if Alex Fontana can limit Tomita’s haul.
Emil Frey occupies fourth in the virtual Silver standings – four points behind Rinaldi – but currently enjoys an 18-point advantage over WRT in the real-world. Esports victory could potentially extend that by three before a maximum of 25 are then available during Sunday’s Endurance Cup season finale.
Of course, success ballast – determined by Nurburgring’s virtual top-three finishers – could play a part in all of the above. Tomita carries the maximum 30kg compared with Fontana’s 10kg after the Lamborghini finished third. GRT Grasser Racing’s Kikko Galbiati completes the list of ballasted entries.
By contrast there’s little left to play for in the Pro ranks besides pride and prize money after Arthur Rougier maintained his domination at the Nurburgring. Success ballast has proved no match for Emil Frey’s Lamborghini, which notched up a second win and fourth podium in as many virtual rounds to establish an unassailable championship lead.
David Pittard also overcame significant extra weight to finish second in class after winning the previous round at Spa. Walkenhorst Motorsport thus occupy second in the Pro ranks by a single point from AKKA ASP who call on Raffaele Marciello for the second time in as many races.
WRT could also finish runners-up but need Dries Vanthoor – who claimed pole on his Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series debut in Germany – to come home amongst the top-two.
The fifth and final round of this year's Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series goes green at 18:20 this Saturday. Click below to set a reminder.
FANATEC ESPORTS GT PRO SERIES FORMAT
One driver per Pro and Silver Cup team contesting this weekend’s real Endurance Cup round 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 – Arthur Rougier, Emil Frey Racing
15kg – David Pittard, Walkenhorst Motorsport
10kg – Christian Engelhart, Dinamic Motorsport
30kg – Ryuichiro Tomita, Team WRT
15kg – Kikko Galbiati, GRT Grasser Racing
10kg – Alex Fontana, Emil Frey Racing