The road to the ADAC SimRacing Expo has begun for leading sim racing teams, as the opening round of the event’s professional trophy was won by Williams Esports.
The opening 45-minute race took place within Assetto Corsa Competizione at Circuit Paul Ricard, which will be followed by four further races, the final two of which will be live and in-person at the Dortmund-based October event. One of the rounds will also be a drop-score.
Dennis Schöniger using a McLaren 720S Evo took pole position ahead of Williams team-mate Tinko van der Velde who was using the Audi R8 Evo II. The first non-Williams entry was Marco Jonkers for West Competition Racing – BMW Romania in third, followed by Mikhail Statsenko in a Lamborghini Huracán Evo2 for ITB Racing.
At the start, van der Velde tried to cut back on Schöniger, but the pole position-sitter held on through Virage de L’Hotel to keep the lead.
Behind, Maciej Malinowski for Veloce was up to third while Geert Fischer for West Competition had leapt up from seventh on the grid to fifth, behind colleague Jonkers and ahead of Statsenko. The Lamborghini driver would move back ahead going onto the second lap.
The top four were practically glued together, the slipstream effect down the 1.1-mile Mistral helping to keep the chasing pack close.
With just under 15 minutes complete, van der Velde looked to the inside at Signes, while Malinowski looked to the outside, but the positions remained static. The jostling, however, allowed Statsenko to close in.
A lap later at the same corner of the previous lead battle, the Huracán would slip by Jonkers for fourth. Statsenko would then go about chasing down a podium, successfully pulling off a move at the final corner following Malinowski’s failed attempt at claiming second.
With 20 minutes remaining, van der Velde switched from attach to defence, holding firm against Statsenko initially, but letting the ITB car through with just under 10 minutes left. Veloce soon moved up a position too, but the Williams driver fought back almost immediately.
Then came a moment of controversy for the lead, as Statsenko tried to cut up the inside of the current Alpine Esports champion Schöniger the door was shut – the McLaren slewed across the thankfully asphalt runoff on in inside at Double Droit de Beausset.
Once control was regained, the positions remained the same, only van der Velde was now closer and pounced on the final lap for second.
Schöniger won, although at the line, the top four will separated by less than a second.
“That was probably the most exhausting 45 minutes [in sim racing] I’ve ever had,” said Schöniger.
“Defending all the time was intense. I knew I had a slight straight-line advantage over the Audi, but not the Lamborghini, so I had to play an apex-defence game.”
ADAC SimRacing Expo Professional Trophy 2023, Round 1 race results
- Dennis Schöniger – Williams Esports Chillblast – 24 laps
- Tinko van der Velde – Williams Esports Razer +0.323
- Mikhail Statsenko – ITB Racing +0.607
- Maciej Malinowski – Veloce McLaren VEXT +0.893
- Marco Jonkers – West Competition Racing BMW Romania +1.407
- Geert Fischer – West Competition Racing BMW +5.245
- Tommy Razeyre – SDL Esports Logitech G +5.727
- Valentin Barrier – YAS HEAT +6.459
- Oscar Tringale – Glitch Motorsport +8.846
- Oscar Hoole – Visceral Esports +14.934