The former Nations Cups and McLaren Shadow victor, Igor Fraga, dominated the second Gran Turismo World Series Manufacturers Cup round at Spa-Francorchamps.
So far, Subaru drivers Kylian Drumont, Daniel Solis and Takuma Miyazono had earned the maximum amount of Manufacturers Cup points available. However, following Round 1 in July and the in-person Showdown in August, it was now the turn of Toyota to steal the limelight during Round 2.
The reigning champions started out well at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, with Igor Fraga taking pole position by 0.3s ahead of Mazda’s Giorgio Mangano and BMW’s Erik Cases Vazquez. A stand-out performer on debut this season, Subaru’s Kylian Drumont would start in fourth.
As the ten-lap race began from a rolling start, of the 12-car Gr.3 field, only Fraga elected for the soft compound tyres – the other entrants opting for mediums during the opening stint.
As he moved to the right of the Kemmel Straight to avoid those behind picking up a slipstream, AMG driver Baptiste Beauvois slipped by Drumont.
Onto the third lap, and the soft-shod Brazilian driver had a lead of over four seconds. Behind, Beauvois repeated his move of the opening lap, but this time on Cases Vazquez for third.
Fraga pitted for medium tyres at the end of the fourth lap, dropping down to the back of the field, but crucially in clean air.
A lap later, and the first of the medium-equipped drivers also visited the pitlane, namely the leading Mazda of Mangano and the Subaru of Drumont. Beauvois and Cases Vazquez elected to stay out for an additional tour.
It was clear that those stopping on the fifth lap for soft rubber would undercut those who stayed until the sixth, but they risked their compound wearing out before the race end.
Cases Vazquez dropped to sixth position, however, strangely, when Beauvois emerged from pitlane he retained third – but with a three-second penalty for cutting the exit line. Once the reprimand was served, he dropped to seventh.
Once the strategies and penalties had played out, Fraga comfortably led ahead of Mangano and Drumont. Seiya Suzuki in the Volkswagen Bettle found himself in fourth, albeit briefly as Cases Vazquez swept by down Kemmel with two laps remaining, bringing Jaguar’s Ádám Tápai with him.
Nicolas Romero in the Genesis would pull off a similar move minutes later. Beauvois’ tumultuous race continued, as he tried to make a move on the ailing VW at the Chicane. Sadly, he tapped Romero in the process, forcing the Korean car wide.
That allowed Suzuki back up to sixth, with the Porsche of Angel Inostroza leapfrogging both the AMG and Genesis. The fight wasn’t settled there, however, as Romero powered back past once more down the long straight.
Upfront, the 2018 Nations Cup champion, Fraga, had enacted a perfect race, not even close to being troubled at any point. With that, Toyota picked up three Manufacturers Cup points, Mazda two and Subaru one.
“For the race, I actually didn’t know how the car would react to the high fuel consumption and tyre wear,” said race-winner Fraga.
“In the end, it did very well. It was key to start at the front and establish a good pace at the beginning.
“It’s getting really close with the other constructors, so these points going into the World Finals are crucial.”
The next Gran Turismo World Series event is Round 2 of the Nations Cup, broadcast on the Gran Turismo TV YouTube Channel, 9th October.
Gran Turismo Manufacturers Cup 2022, Round 2, race results
- Toyota – Igor Fraga – 10 laps
- Mazda – Giorgio Mangano +4.478
- Subaru – Kylian Drumont +8.743
- BMW – Erik Cases Vazquez +10.553
- Jaguar – Ádám Tápai +12.560
- Genesis – Nicolas Romero +13.477
- Porsche – Angel Inostroza +14.783
- AMG – Baptiste Beauvois +15.544
- Chevrolet – Adriano Carrazza +17.071
- Volkswagen – Seiya Suzuki +18.874
- Mitsubishi – Joss Legrand +19.171
- Nissan – Harald Walsen +26.683