Job won the three-lap sprint race on the 25.94-kilometre combination of the Grand Prix circuit and the Nordschleife. In the feature race over four laps, Collins took the flag in first place in his virtual version of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Driving for the Porsche24 Team Redline squad, Portugal’s Diogo Pinto expanded his series lead with second and third place.
The track layout used for the famous 24-hour race on the Nürburgring is considered one of the greatest challenges in the virtual motor racing world. Featuring over 70 corners, drivers respectfully call the Nordschleife the “Green Hell”. Often, the decision goes down to the wire in the very last lap, at the end of the almost 2.7-kilometre “Döttinger Höhe” straight. Those who catch the best slipstream here are decidedly faster than their rivals.
And accordingly, the two races of round eight of the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup provided thrills and spills to the final sprint. Turning the fastest qualifying lap, Diogo Pinto took up the sprint race from pole position. Heading into the last corner onto the “Döttinger Höhe” straight, the Portuguese racer was still in the lead. However, the kerb-hopping had slightly damaged the front splitter of his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, which slowed him down. Sebastian Job grabbed his chance: catapulting out of his slipstream, he overtook Pinto and snatched victory ahead of the Portuguese and the Spaniard Alejandro Sánchez from the SDK Gaming team.
For the feature race, the first eight from the sprint event lined up on the grid in reverse order. Pinto’s teammate Maximilian Benecke started from pole position, however, the German enjoyed only a brief moment of glory. With a clever slipstream manoeuvre on the “Döttinger Höhe” and in the “Kesselchen” passage, the Australian Dayne Warren (Coanda) and Britain’s Kevin Ellis Jr. (Apex Racing Team) took turns in the lead. Sebastian Job, the winner of the sprint race, became entangled in a collision shortly after the start and had to retire.
As the frontrunners turned onto the “Döttinger Höhe” straight for the last time, six drivers were still in contention for the trophy. At times, four Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars drove wheel to wheel towards the braking zone. Shortly before, however, Ellis Jr. and Warren collided, which shunted both cars into a spin. Charlie Collins benefited from this, with the British sim racer turning onto the finish straight in first place and ultimately scoring victory in the feature race for his VRS team by a mere 0.128 seconds ahead of Maximilian Benecke.
Pinto harvested valuable championship points with third place. After eight of ten rounds, the Portuguese racer leads the overall standings of the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup ahead of Kevin Ellis Jr. and Sebastian Job.
Tyson Meier and Marco Bischoff win turbulent All-Star races
Content creators from the Esports scene also contested two races at the Nürburgring as part of the PESC support programme. For this event, the All-Stars drove the virtual version of the 911 GT3 R. In the qualifying session over just one lap, Casey Kirwan secured pole position for the sprint.
The American was also the fastest in the sprint race and, in the first of three laps, was already almost three seconds ahead of his hottest pursuers. However, after a mishap by Kirwan towards the end of the second lap, his fellow countryman Tyson “Quirkitized” Meier and Germany’s Marco “MabixTV” Bischoff closed the gap. During the final lap, Meier overtook the leader and defended the top spot to the finish. After three laps, Bischoff took the chequered flag with Kirwan close behind.
IndyCar legend and Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan took up the feature race from pole position. But the Brazilian, who was eliminated in the sprint after a spin, lost all chances of a top result when he left the track during the first lap. Although they had started from the back of the pack, Meier, Kirwan and Bischoff were once again in the leading group after the first of three laps. The trio switched positions several times and ultimately, the decision was made in a slipstream duel in the “Döttinger Höhe” just before the finish line. Kirwin and Meier managed to squeeze past Bischoff, but collided in the braking zone at the end of the straight and spun off the track. Bischoff was able to dodge the two spinning Porsche 911 GT3 R to secure victory. Kirwan salvaged second place ahead of Meier, who extended his All-Stars lead with this result.
Round 9 preview: from one 24-hour racetrack to the next
In two weeks, the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup turns onto the finish straight on another circuit famous for its 24-hour races: On 21 May 2022, the French Circuit des 24 Heures in Le Mans hosts the ninth and penultimate round of the season. With its comparatively long straights and challenging corner combinations, the 13.63-kilometre road course offers ideal conditions for gripping race action with the virtual version of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
Last year, the eventual champion Joshua Rogers from the VRS squad won both the sprint and feature race at Le Mans. The Australian is not contesting this year’s Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup.
Content creators from the esports racing scene will again contest two All-Star races in Le Mans. The All-Star live stream begins at 7.30 pm (CEST) with the qualifying session in the virtual Porsche 911 GT3 R. The two influencer races get the green light at around 7.30 pm and 7.45 pm respectively. The Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup race action will begin at around 9.15 pm.
Fans can watch the iRacing action live online via Porsche’s channels on YouTube and Twitch. Further information on the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup can be found on the Porsche Motorsport Hub and the Twitter account @PorscheRaces.
Comments after the races
Marco Bischoff (D): “I wanted to create a gap at the front so that I could get to the ‘Döttinger Höhe’ as the leader on the last lap. Unfortunately, this didn’t work out. As a result, some catapulted out of the slipstream faster than me. In the end, luck was on my side.”
Charlie Collins (GB/VRS): “Honestly, I chose to wait for the final laps to launch the decisive manoeuvre. I turned onto the ‘Döttinger Höhe’ in third place. That was ideal, as it gave me a perfect slipstream. I was also a bit lucky when Dayne Warren and Kevin Ellis Jr. nudged each other.”
Maximilian Benecke (D/Porsche24 Team Redline): “That was a really close call. We once again saw today that the last lap on the Nordschleife is always a bit of a lottery. Since the pace wasn’t really there for me this weekend, I’m really happy that I ended up in second.”
Diogo C. Pinto (P/Porsche24 Team Redline): “During the final sprint, I was actually battling with Yohann Harth for fifth place. Suddenly two cars spun in front of us. I saw them on my side monitors and hoped that nobody would hit me. I was very lucky. Of course, I’m also thinking about the title and trying not to take any unneces-sary risks.”