- Two teams left in the hunt for inaugural Endurance Series title
- Field of 29 cars representing 11 brands chasing strong finish at Barcelona
- Entry List | Schedule
The inaugural GT World Challenge Europe Esports Endurance Series will culminate this afternoon (Saturday 16 October) with a deciding battle to be crowned champion at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
A closely matched field of leading esports squads will undertake a three-hour Assetto Corsa Competizione race at the Spanish venue, which last weekend hosted the real-world Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS finale.
On that occasion the championship-leading Ferrari crew held their nerve and made off with the top prize. The same car and objective will be shared by FDA Esports, which holds top spot with 80 points but faces increasing pressure to maintain its advantage.
The #51 Ferrari was near-perfect in the season's first three Endurance Series events: victory at Monza was followed by a runner-up finish at Circuit Paul Ricard and then a dominant win at the 24 Hours of Spa. The Italian squad was in position to seal the title last time out at the Nürburgring, but a disastrous race left them outside the points for the first time.
Nevertheless, with the ace duo of Tonizza/De Salvo sharing driving duties, FDA Esports remains favourite to capture the title. The opposition comes from Racing Line Motorsport, which has emerged as a serious contender over the past two events. The only Bentley on the grid was runner-up at Spa and then secured a brilliant win at the Nürburgring, reducing the gap to just 12 points. Siclari/Schinz are on driving duties for the finale and will hope to pile the pressure on FDA Esports.
The contenders form part of a 29-car grid for the race, adding plenty of variables to the headline title battle. The FDA Esports Ferrari is one of three cars representing the Maranello marque, though Jean Alesi Esports Academy and Kessel Racing by Racing Line are yet to match the pace of their championship-leading stablemate.
They're not in the title hunt, but don't rule out BMW. The combination of Kammerer/Schill makes the BMW SIM G2 Esports entry one to watch, while BMW TEAM BS+COMPETITION and Borusan Otomotiv Motorsport E-Team also field the popular M6 GT3. Porsche has already been a winner this season and could be a factor once again thanks to efforts from GPX Racing by Rennwelten and Predator Simracing by R8G.
Mercedes-AMG won last weekend's Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series event at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, while AKKA ASP took the real-world race. That should give hope to AMG squads AKKA-ASP by GTWR, Haupt Racing Team Schindler and Unicorns of Love, the latter looking particularly strong with Richter/Kisser at the wheel.
Aston Martin will be represented by three cars on Saturday. Williams Esports has been the best of them this season and sits ninth in the standings after back-to-back sixth place finishes at Spa and the Nürburgring. FFS Racing has also picked up points, while GTWR Academy will be determined not to finish empty handed. The McLaren squads have grown more impressive by the event, culminating in Team Rocket RJN picking up a maiden podium last time out. They will be joined this weekend by fellow real-world squad JOTA and Carbon Simsport.
Lamborghini outfit DV1 Triton Racing earned its first points of the season at the Nürburgring, while MCW Racing Team scored at the opener. That leaves the two-car Ratòn Racing by QLASH effort still chasing a breakthrough on Saturday afternoon. After bagging the first point for an Audi squad at the Nürburgring, Odox Motorsport and its #121 crew of Martínez/Albaladejo Caminsa can aim for the podium at their home track. Saintéloc by R8G will also field the Ingolstadt brand's R8 LMS GT3 in Saturday’s race.
From the 11 on the grid, only two brands are yet to be represented among the points scorers this season. That could have changed for Lexus with a strong run for Emil Frey ZH-Nord Racing at the Nürburgring, but they and Team Fordzilla will go to the finale still searching for a maiden top-10 result. Honda has three cars hoping to finish with a flourish, with two NSX GT3s from the HPD JAS Pro Europe stable and another run by Team BUSR.
Organised by SRO Motorsports Group in partnership with Fanatec, Kunos Simulazioni, AK Esports, Pirelli and The Sim Grid, the Endurance Series finale will be streamed live and in full on the SRO YouTube and Twitch channels, as well as the SRO Esports Facebook page. Coverage begins at 15:00 CEST on Saturday, allowing for 10 minutes of build-up before the deciding contest goes green at 15:10. Three hours later, the inaugural Endurance Series champions will be crowned.