Miyazono, Subaru win first Gran Turismo Manufacturers Cup race at Watkins Glen

Thomas Harrison-Lord
Takuma Miyazono outwitted his opponents, jumping from third for first thanks to an early pitstop and consistent lap times, despite managing fuel levels.
Miyazono, Subaru win first Gran Turismo Manufacturers Cup race at Watkins Glen

The first racing esports event within Gran Turismo 7 has been won by Takuma Miyazono and Subaru.

The pre-recorded round was the first in the 2022 Manufacturers Cup, this year running without an FIA affiliation while the online stability of the platform is developed further.

It took place at the Watkins Glen circuit, using the full Long Course layout – which was recently added to the game in the June 1.17 update.

The setup was thus: single-lap qualifying in Gr.3 machinery, followed by a 14-lap race on the racing hard tyres with 4x fuel consumption and a mandatory pitstop.

For those unaware of the competition, the Manufacturers Cup – formerly Manufacturers Series – sees one driver per entered car brand at each event, before three represent each brand in the World Finals later this year.

There are 10 brands in total, with Genesis new for this season. Also new for this year is the BRZ replacing the Impreza for the Subaru team.

Start, 2022 Gran Turismo Manufacturers Cup race at Watkins Glen

In qualifying, it was Igor Fraga – the reigning champion for Toyota – who took his Supra to pole position by a not insignificant 0.184s ahead of Nissan’s Mehdi Hafidi, who in turn was just a millisecond ahead of 2020 champion Miyazono for Subaru. 10th and last on the grid was the Volkswagen Beetle of Brazilian Roberto Sternberg.

As the race began with a rolling start, the leading trio stretched their legs, but fourth-placed Nicolas Romero in the Genesis was immediately under attack from Ryo Kumata in the BMW. The Spanish driver prevailed, however.

Miyazono and Jaguar driver Adam Tapai then made the bold call of pitting at the end of the first lap. Presumably, in an effort to find a clear track, it also meant they were missing a slipstream.

Igor Grada leads in the early stages, 2022 Gran Turismo Manufacturers Cup race at Watkins Glen

Up front, Fraga was still in the lead, with Hafidi seemingly comfortable to follow around in the tow, but with Romero setting the quickest race lap so far to close in and bringing Kumata with him. At the end of the third lap, Hafidi decided to visit the pitlane.

Re-joining the track, crucially Miyazono in the BRZ jumped him. Eschewing the common logic that a draft was valuable at this venue, the Japanese driver had made time on his own.

The top two of Fraga and Romero would then take their pitstops at the end of the fifth lap. As they completed their tyre swaps, Miyazono gained another position and claimed the lead, while Fraga also lost out to Hafidi for second position.

Mehdi Hafidi – Nissan, Nicolas Romero – Genesis, Gran Turismo Manufacturers Cup race at Watkins Glen

Romero also tried to get past the Toyota, but the Brazilian defended heavily and held on. However, resistance was futile, the Genesis slipstreaming ahead on the very next lap down the Back Straight. AMG driver Lucas Bonelli would follow suit soon after.

Romero was on a charge, overtaking the Nissan for second place at the end of the 10th lap after Hafidi clipped the wall on the exit of the final corner. Meanwhile, Kumata in the BMW had stayed out until 10 laps into the race, but re-joined in a lowly eighth – a far cry from the fifth position held early on.

In the end, Miyazono’s undercut strategy paid off, metronomically setting quick laps to win the race with consummate ease for Subaru. Romero claimed second for Genesis, with Hafidi in third for Nissan. Therefore Subaru received three Manufacturer Cup points, Genesis two and Nissan one.

Takuma Miyazono – Subaru, wins Gran Turismo Manufacturers Cup race at Watkins Glen

“I thought the Subaru BRZ has a slight advantage in terms of fuel economy, so in that respect, I was very confident about the racing pace this time,” explained winner Miyazono.

“I thought if I pit in the first lap I would be able to take the two in front. I was constantly watching the [fuel] percentage remaining. I think this victory is very good in terms of the flow and momentum this year.”

Tomorrow, 24th July, will see the opening race of the Nations Cup, where Italian Valerio Gallo will seek to defend the crown.

Gran Turismo 2022 Manufacturers Cup, Round 1 results

  1. Takuma Miyazono – Subaru – 14 laps
  2. Nicolas Romero – Genesis +3.802
  3. Mehdi Hafidi – Nissan +5.317
  4. Lucas Bonelli – AMG +6.190
  5. Igor Fraga – Toyota +8.965
  6. Jose Serrano – Porsche +8.980
  7. Adam Tapai – Jaguar +10.493
  8. Ryo Kumata – BMW +10.930
  9. Roberto Sternberg – Volkswagen +12.129
  10. Adam Wilk – Aston Martin +17.181

Images: Polyphony Digital

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