Gran Turismo World Series Nations Cup: Miyazono takes early lead in Montréal

Thomas Harrison-Lord
A victory for Takuma Miyazono in the Gran Turismo World Series event means the Japanese driver takes the lead in the returning solo-driver Nations Cup format.
Gran Turismo World Series Nations Cup Miyazono takes early lead in Montréal

Japan’s Takuma Miyazono leads the Gran Turismo World Series Nations Cup competition following an opening 35-lap race.

New for 2024, the Nations Cup is a solo affair – last season each nation had three drivers, teaming up for a multi-driver race at the world finals – determining the quickest region, but also an unofficial ‘world’s best Gran Turismo driver’ title.

Following a calendar of in-game online Gran Turismo 7 qualifying rounds, four in-person events will determine this season’s champion.

The competition began in the Canadian city of Montréal, with Miyazono on pole position for a sprint race – the result of which set the grid for the points-paying main race.

Sprint race

Japan’s yellow Ferrari F50 led the way off the line, only to be overtaken by Kylian Drumont in a Corvette on the opening lap. The French driver then disappeared up the road for a comfortable victory.

The seven-lap affair around a virtual Watkins Glen would also see Takuma Sasaki make his way past the pole sitter on the third lap. But, it wouldn’t hold, the two Japanese drivers duking it out all the way through.

Behind in fourth, Italy’s Valerio Gallo tried to defend from the chasing pack, coming unstuck on the final lap and dropping to seventh.

Kylian Drumont wins Gran Turismo World Series Nations Cup 2024 Round 1 sprint race

Main race

Onto the big event at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. Every driver was in the same Red Bull X2019 Competition car – the stalwart fictional racing machine designed by lionised Formula 1 engineer Adrian Newey.

Much like the earlier Manufacturers Cup race, there was a mandatory requirement to use multiple tyre compounds. This time, the soft, medium and hard had to be fitted at some point.

Gran Turismo World Series Nations Cup round 1 mid-race battle 02

As a result, a myriad of differing strategies were in play, and it was only in the latter stages that it became clear who was in contention to win.

Pole sitter Drumont was the only driver to start on the soft tyres. The two Japanese drivers in second and third, Miyazono and Sasaki, opted for mediums.

Spain’s Coque López jumped Sasaki for third at the rolling start. The two-time Nations Cup champion would then pass Miyazono for second as the Japanese driver received a 0.5s penalty for a track limit transgression.

That position would switch back in the draft just one lap later, however. López would lose another spot to a charging Kaj de Bruin and then again to Sasaki by the seventh lap.

Kylian Drumont crashes Gran Turismo World Series Nations Cup 2024 Round 1

Drumont blinked first, pitting at the end of the 10th lap, although suffering from a squirrely lane entrance.

Rewinding somewhat, at the end of the first lap Calen Roach, Guy Barbara, Angel Inostroza and Robert Heck all started on hards and elected to get rid at the end of the first lap. This would be pivotal, as by 15 laps into the race, having pitted for a second time, this quartet found themselves a lap down but on fresh rubber.

They would then try to regain the lost lap and got embroiled in the battle for second place – dicing with López, de Bruin, Jose Serrano and Gallo. In the process, the Italian 2021 champion would also spin out of contention.

All of this allowed Miyazono to create a gap over those on a similar initial strategy despite incurring a second track limit-related penalty.

As the race progressed, it seemed like a straight fight between France and Japan. But, disaster struck for the net leader Drumont as he spun into the barriers at Turn 5 with eight laps remaining.

Takuma Miyazono wins Gran Turismo World Series Nations Cup 2024 Round 1

On paper, that handed the win to Japan, however, Spain’s Serrano put in a Herculean stint on soft tyres. Pitting with just two laps remaining for hards, he exited the pitlane just 0.4s ahead of Miyazono.

The 2020 Nations Cup champion, however, utilised the slipstream effect immediately, scything by for the win on the back straight.

Six points Miyazono then at the first round, with a Spain two-three (Serrano ahead of López) and a valiant effort by The Netherlands’ de Bruin in fourth. The next round is in Prague, Czechia, next month.

Gran Turismo World Series 2024, Round 1, Montréal, Nations Cup race results

  1. Takuma Miyazono – Japan – 35 laps
  2. Jose Serrano – Spain +1.0684
  3. Coque López – Spain +5.678
  4. Kaj de Bruin – The Netherlands +8.184
  5. Takuma Sasaki – Japan +8.184
  6. Valerio Gallo – Italy +28.755
  7. Calen Roach – United States +35.113
  8. Robert Heck – United States +41.215
  9. Adriano Carrazza – Brazil + 43.476
  10. Kylian Drumont – France +1:05.950
  11. Angel Inostroza – Chile +1:22.152
  12. Guy Barbara – Australia N/A

Gran Turismo World Series 2024, Nations Cup standings after Round 1

  1. Takuma Miyazono – 6 points
  2. Jose Serrano – 5 points
  3. Coque López – 4 points
  4. Kaj de Bruin – 3 points
  5. Takuma Sasaki – 2 points
  6. Valerio Gallo – 1 point
  7. Calen Roach – 0 points
  8. Robert Heck – 0 points
  9. Adriano Carrazza – 0 points
  10. Kylian Drumont – 0 points
  11. Angel Inostroza – 0 points
  12. Guy Barbara – 0 points
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