Returning for a third season, the Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series takes real-world drivers competing in the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup and places them within a one-hour Assetto Corsa Competizione sim race.
Alongside prize money, GTWC teams’ championship points were also on the line as Sandy Mitchell led the field from pole position in his K-Pax Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2 down to the Variante del Rettifilo.
However, it was Marius Zug who took the lead for Winward Racing, around the outside into the first corner, with Alexey Nesov for Madpanda Motorsport following through to make it a Mercedes-AMG one-two. Porsche driver Laurin Heinrich also made it up to third.
Further back, pandemonium, as Alex Aka make contact with the rear of Thomas Drouet through the chicane. As the driver representing the reigning GT Pro Series champions, Mercedes AMG Team Akkodis ASP, span into the gravel, the field behind checked up.
The resulting chaos witnessed a gaggle of cars rubbing into each other and skirting through the sand trap, although thankfully no serious contact. Aka would receive a drivethrough penalty for his role in the incident.
Before the end of the first lap, Nesov made a move for the lead into Curva Parabolica and was never headed until the pitstop phase.
Four minutes later and Mitchell ran wide coming out of the Variante Ascari, gifting Max Hesse in the ROWE BMW M4 fourth place. This move resulted in an attempt to fight back from the Lamborghini, but the battling only helped the chasing pack close in.
Things came to a head when Dries Vanthoor looked to make contact with Mitchell who in turn hit Hesse, with the two cars flying into the gravel at Ascari. The incident gifted Jordan Pepper fifth place, who made it through unscathed.
At the head of the field, things remained calm with the exception of Ferrari’s Nicklas Nielsen spinning out of eighth place at the first corner right in front of Charlie Fagg’s McLaren.
Later in the race, Jop Rappange received a stop-and-go penalty for making contact with Drouet under yellow flags for a spun Hesse. The resulting incident also saw the demise of Gilles Magnus.
With 35 minutes remaining, the 10-minute pit window opened, and it was Vanthoor who visited the land first from sixth.
Race leader Nesov pitted two laps further into the race, but had a relatively slow pitstop resulting in Heinrich jumping the Mercedes-AMG. The former leader would fight back, making a new-signature move down the inside of Parabolica, only for the Porsche to return serve at the Rettifilo.
The two would run side-by-side until Ascari, with Nesov prevailing.
Also further up the field, and now in the lead was Zug, but this was due to not taking on the minimum required fuel level in the pitstop.
While the German driver would cross the line first, a 15-second penalty dropped him to second – although he was still first in the new-for-2023 Gold category.
Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series 2023, Round 1, Monza, Results
- Alexey Nesov – Mercedes-AMG GT3 – Madpanda Motorsport SILVER – 33 Laps
- Marius Zug – Mercedes-AMG GT3 – Winward Racing GOLD +1.575 4
- Jordan Pepper – Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 – Iron Lynx PRO +11.414 3
- Laurin Heinrich – Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) – Rutronik Racing PRO +17.141 2
- Dries Vanthoor – BMW M4 GT3 – Team WRT PRO +18.203 1
- Mattia Drudi – Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II – Tresor Orange 1 (Attempto) PRO +28.506
- Alex Aka – Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II – Tresor Attempto SILVER +50.450
- Ayhancan Güven – Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) – Dinamic GT Huber Racing PRO +52.137
- Roee Meyuhas – Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II – Boutsen VDS SILVER +53.439
- Charlie Fagg – McLaren 720S GT3 – Optimum Motorsport GOLD +53.439
- Nicklas Nielsen – Ferrari 296 GT3 – AF Corse PRO +56.584
- Sandy Mitchell – Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 – K-Pax Racing PRO +1:12495
- Simon Gachet – Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II – Sainteloc Junior Team PRO +1:13.838
- Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer – BMW M4 GT3 – Team WRT GOLD +1:21.503
- Fabrizio Crestani – Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 GRT – Grasser Racing Team SILVER +1:24.940
- Thomas Drouet – Mercedes AMG Team Akkodis ASP – Mercedes-AMG GT3 PRO + 1:27.194
- Erwan Bastard – Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II – Sainteloc Junior Team SILVER +1 lap
- Sam Dejonghe – Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II – Comtoyou Racing SILVER +1 lap
- Alberto di Folco – Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II – Boutsen VDS GOLD +1 lap
- Leonardo Pulcini – Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 – Iron Lynx GOLD +1 lap
- Gilles Magnus – Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II – Comtoyou Racing PRO +1 lap
- Daniele Di Amato – Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) – Dinamic GT Huber Racing SILVER DNF
- Max Hesse – BMW M4 GT3 – ROWE PRO DNF
- Nicolai Kjærgaard – McLaren 720S GT3 – Garage59 PRO DNF