The final round of the European branch of the GT World Challenge Esports Sprint Series approaches this Friday evening, with the championship on the line over 60 minutes at Spa-Francorchamps. Assetto Corsa Competizione is the sim of choice for this series, and Kunos Simulazoni’s official GT World Challenge game has proven to be a huge hit with competitors and broadcast viewers alike with its realistic visuals, sounds and physics.
Last time out at Barcelona, McLaren Shadow’s James Baldwin snatched a narrow two-point championship lead over FDA Esports Team’s David Tonizza, with the pair finishing first and second – separated by just two seconds. Both drivers have won three races apiece this season, and have stood head and shoulders above the chasing pack with some consistently pacey drives.
In fact, such has been Baldwin’s consistency he’s the only driver to have scored in each of the nine rounds so far, with Tonizza failing to score on two occasions. Interestingly, the championship appeared to be heading Tonizza’s way after only four rounds, as he scored 93 points from a possible 100. Since then, however, Baldwin has taken three wins, a second and a tenth, outscoring his Italian rival by 55 points over five rounds, going on to secure the championship lead as we head to the final round.
Although the battle at the front is rightly billed as the main event, the fight for the final place on the championship rostrum is heating up too, as Nils Naujoks of BMW SIM Racing G2 Esports, Kevin Siggy of Team Redline, and Tonizza’s team-mate Giovanni De Salvo are all vying for third position. Josh Rogers of VRS Coanda Simsport is also in the points reckoning, but unfortunately won’t be attending the final round.
Siggy has enjoyed a fairly consistent season, with three podiums in a row at Hungaroring, Brands Hatch and Zandvoort respectively, but two non-scores in recent rounds – coupled with two wins for Naujoks – have put the young Slovenian’s podium place under pressure. De Salvo will be looking to capitalise on any mistakes from his rivals and move himself into the running after a recent string of low scores.
Who will take the win? Can James Baldwin make it two out of two, or will David Tonizza discover some of his early-season form to snatch the title at the death? Can Tonizza make it an SRO Esports Europe double-whammy after securing the SRO Esports Endurance series with the Ferrari Driver Academy entry?