ESPORTS: Consistency the key for Boothby as Mobileye GT World Challenge Esports Europe Sprint Series reaches half-time at Spa

ESPORTS: Consistency the key for Boothby as Mobileye GT World Challenge Esports Europe Sprint Series reaches half-time at Spa

Winning a championship isn’t always simply down to winning races, as Veloce Esports driver George Boothby is proving by leading the pack into the third round of the Mobileye GT World Challenge Esports Europe Sprint Series this evening (Wednesday, June 21).

Of the two races held so far, Boothby hasn’t won either, but he has been the most consistent driver of the season, having finished as runner-up at both Monza and Circuit Paul Ricard aboard his Veloce Ferrari 296 GT3.

With this evening’s visit to the world-famous Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium being the third race out of five this year, the pressure will ratchet up with every lap from now until the end of the season, meaning everything can change in just a single race.

Another icon of consistency has been Silver class leader Valentin Barrier, who has lodged a perfect score in the category thus far to open out a handy points lead.

Once again, the Europe Sprint Series will feature a packed-out 50-car field, with 26 professional GT sim drivers fighting it out over a total prize fund of €12,000, while 24 of the best drivers from the Assetto Corsa Competizione community will do battle in the Silver category, which boasts its own €6500 prize pot.

Boothby sets the bar heading to Spa

Veloce driver George Boothby has been an oasis of calm across the first two Europe Sprint Series rounds, managing to ably avoid scrapes, incidents and mistakes to record two second places, while the drivers that finished ahead of him each time have endured rather more mixed fortunes.

Williams Esports Razer’s Tinko van der Velde looked every inch the man to beat this year with a dominant performance in Monza, and he was right at the front at Circuit Paul Ricard too, before a costly penalty for contact with David Tonizza while fighting for the race lead dropped him way down to 14th in the race and fifth in the championship table, meaning he has a lot of ground to make up in not a lot of races.

Tonizza did survive the incident to finish fourth in his Automobili Lamborghini Squadra Corse Esports Huracan, meaning he now runs second in the standings, some 15 points behind Boothby.

The biggest beneficiary of the clash between van der Velde and Tonizza in France was McLaren Veloce’s Maciej Malinowski, who steamed through to take his first victory of the year at Circuit Paul Ricard. However, a tough opening round at Monza means he’s only fourth in the standings, 22 points off Boothby’s pace.

Mikhail Statsenko has been quietly racking up the points aboard the ITB Saintéloc Racing Audi R8 LMS Evo II. While not perhaps as spectacular as his rivals, Statsenko has stayed clear of trouble to record a fifth in Monza and third in France to sit third in the championship, easily within striking distance of the leaders.

McLaren Veloce’s second car of Grantas Kareckas is a constant threat, as is Charlie Crossland in the Williams Esports Fanatec Lamborghini. Then there’s the matter of the pack of Mercedes-AMG drivers primed to strike. Best placed so far is Dennis Schöniger (Team Williams Esports), but Dáire McCormack (Team Williams Esports), Michael Tauscher (Esports Team Unicorns of Love), Dominik Blajer (Williams Esports Razer), Bastian Richter (Esports Team Unicorns of Love) and Niklas Houben (Esports Team HRT by UOL) are all capable of putting an AMG out front.

Others to watch include Oscar Tringale (Kessel Glitch Ferrari), Sebastian Apostol (West Competition Racing BMW M4), Luke Whitehead (Veloce Esports Porsche 992 GT3 R), Kamil Pawlowski (ITB Thrustmaster Racing Audi) and Alexander Smolyar (SMP Racing Esports Honda NSX).

Barrier blowing them away in Silver

YAS Heat Esports is living up to its title, as driver Valentin Barrier is proving too hot to handle on current form in the fight for the Silver class title.

Having been firmly in the mix for the top spots overall in both races so far, Barrier’s Ferrari 296 GT3 has become a familiar sight at the front of races, and it’s paying off nicely in the championship with two category wins putting him 15 points clear of anybody. If he could add a third here at Spa, it could be close to game over for the title chase.

But there’s a stacked entry of talent aiming to stop him, and it’s currently led by Williams Esports Fanatec’s Vojtech Fiala. Two podium finishes mean he represents Barrier’s biggest threat in the team’s Porsche 992 GT3 R. VS Racing by Ballas Dario Iemmulo runs third in his Lamborghini, and he’s just four points down on Fiala in a fight that could easily go either way.

Michael Romagnoli’s Absolute Res-Tech by Acelith Aston Martin has also been one to watch in recent races, with two top-five finishes so far putting him in a strong position in the points table.

It’s also well worth keeping an eye out for Tommy Razeyre (SDL eSports by Logitech G McLaren 720S GT3 Evo), Danila Cherepenin (SMP Racing Esports Mercedes-AMG), Leo Boulay (Race eSport Team Mercedes-AMG), Daniil Tylyk (SMP Racing Esports BMW M4), Nils Klinkmüller (Team Unicorns of Love Mercedes-AMG), Niklas Ahrnke (Team One · FF Porsche) and Kieran Prendergast, who has endured a luckless start to the year with two non-scores so far in Brabham Esports’ Honda NSX and will be keen to get some points on the board before it’s too late.

The race night begins with two free practice sessions from 19:30CEST, ahead of qualifying at 20:25 and the race at 21:00. The race will be streamed live via the GT World YouTube channel.

Reports and results will be published on the SRO Esports website.

The Mobileye GT World Challenge Esports Europe Sprint Series takes place across five events, all held midweek, over a schedule that mirrors the real-world Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS. Following the opening round at Monza, drivers will then tackle Circuit Paul Ricard in France, the legendary Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium and Germany’s Nürburgring before finishing the series at Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya in Spain.