The Nations Cup has returned to the Gran Turismo esports scene, and for the first time using Gran Turismo 7 – and it was Lucas Bonelli of brazil taking the laurels from the first race of the season.
Following yesterday’s, 23rd July, Subaru victory thanks to Takuma Miyazono, it was the turn of the country-based competition to take to the same ‘Long Course’ layout of New York’s Watkin Glen circuit.
For the Nations Cup, each competitor drives in the same car, this time the Suzuki VGT Gr.3, a mad little roadster that mixed a motorcycle engine with an electric motor.
The race was 15 laps, with 1x fuel consumption, 6x tyre wear and the choice of soft, medium or hard racing rubber with one mandatory pitstop.
In the single hot lap qualifying session, it was Brazil locking out the front row, with 2018 champion Igor Fraga double-up on pole positions after the same result in the first Manufacturers Cup race, just 0.038 ahead of Bonelli.
Baptiste Beauvois for France lined up third while reigning champion Valerio Gallo languished down in 14th.
It was Bonelli who got the jump over compatriot Fraga off the standing start, leading through the first corner on soft tyres, compared to Fraga’s hard set. Behind, Gallo picked up a two-second penalty for contact with a gaggle of cars.
Beauvois and Hungarian entrant Patrik Blazsán battled through the Inner Loop before the latter slewed into the barriers at the Outer Loop and lost momentum.
Fraga’s tyre choice meant he was significantly slower than those around him in the early stages, falling behind Beauvois, Matthew McEwen and a recovering Blazsán before the end of the first lap.
From here it was a case of working out who was on the quicker rubber and keeping an eye on the myriad of strategies in play.
McEwen came a cropper trying to slingshot by Beauvois on the third lap through the chicane. He ran wide, picked up a 0.5s penalty for track limits, let Blazsán past before getting sideways at the Chute allowing McEwen, Fraga and Takuma Miyazono to get ahead too.
Blazsán suffered a similar fate trying to overtake Beauvois a lap later, another 0.5s penalty dished out and positions dropped.
The first pitstop happened at the end of the fourth lap, with McEwen switching from soft to hard tyres. Race leader Bonelli enacted the same strategy one lap later, along with Australia’s Andrew lee who was by now up in third place.
At the end of the eighth lap, leader Beauvois pitted to rid himself of the medium tyres and move onto a set of the softs. Meanwhile, erstwhile leader Bonelli had caught some drivers who were staying out longer on worn Michelins and nudged Kanata Kawakami out of the way, receiving a one-second penalty. This allowed the French driver through.
In an entertaining move, Gallo had switched onto soft tyres – his pace catapulting him up to third place, But with four laps left, the wear rate was too much. Despite some robust defending, Fraga and Miyazono got through, although the hapless Blazsán picked up a penalty trying to get by.
Then the rubber really gave way, as the field ganged up on the Italian driver. Gallo would eventually visit the pits for a second time, and came home in last position.
On to the final lap, and Beauvois was guaranteed a victory, with a five-second gap ahead of the two Brazilian drivers. But it all came to nothing after he spun at the Inner Loop chicane. After turning the car back around again, he would be a lowly eighth at the line.
All that meant Bonelli won ahead of Fraga with Miyazono in third, sharing the points between them.
“[I] had a good pace with the soft compound tyre, but with the strategy I had when I stopped and changed for the hard compound tyre I found myself in traffic,” explained the race-winner.
“I was disappointed by the one-second penalty, but unfortunately for [Beauvois] he ended up making a mistake on the last lap in the chicane.”
Gran Turismo 2022 nations Cup, Round 1, results
- Lucas Bonelli – Brazil – 15 laps
- Igor Fraga – Brazil +0.469
- Takuma Miyazono – Japan +5.041
- Juan Hernandez – Argentina +5.766
- Giorgio Mangano – Italy +8.014
- Jose Serrano – Spain +8.101
- Patrik Blazsán – Hungary + 9.427
- Baptiste Beauvois – France +9.77
- Angel Inostroza – Chile +12.053
- Andrew Lee – Australia +12.629
Images: Polyphony Digital