After winning last time out at Suzuka, Veloce McLaren GT jumped to the top of the 2022 Mobileye Intercontinental GT Challenge Esports standings, 10 points clear of its closest challenger, BMW Team BS+COMPETITION.
Indeed, the Veloce line-up of James Baldwin, Eamonn Murphy and George Boothby secured two wins in-a-row at the Japanese track, after also crossing the line first at the Indianapolis 8 Hours in July.
With neither the McLaren 720S nor BMW M4 enjoying front-running pace at Kyalami, the stage was set for a nine-hour battle. But which team could make the best of a bad situation? And with the top two set for a tough round, could any of the other Pro class teams force their way into championship contention?
Just like the opening round of the season at Mount Panorama, the Automobili Lamborghini Esports Team snatched pole position, with South African driver Jordan Sherratt setting the scratch time at his home track.
The Lamborghini just shaded a pack of chasing Mercedes AMGs that filled out second, third and fourth spots behind, with the Mkers example ahead of the Mercedes-AMG E-Sports Team HRT (HRT) and Mercedes-AMG E-Sports Team UoL (UoL) squads respectively.
Of the championship protagonists, Veloce took sixth place in Pro (seventh overall) with BS+COMPETITION 11th (17th overall).
In Silver, KKrämer Racing eSports secured pole position and a mightily impressive second overall in its Porsche 911 GT3-R driven by Marco Bischoff, Patrick Pignone and Noah Eder. Their closest challenger, the FFS Racing AMR Vantage, was eight spots away in tenth overall
The early running was dominated by Sherratt, as he gapped the Silver Porsche of Marco Bischoff by three seconds. Bischoff was chased by a trio of AMGs, led by Marek Schinz of the Mkers team.
After the first round of pit stops, Tobias Pfeffer had worked his UoL Mercedes to the tail of the Lamborghini, now driven by Giorgio Simonini. After some intense racing, the decisive move for the lead came on the exit of Turn 11. After some side-by-side battling through Mineshaft, the pass was completed exiting The Crocodiles.
With two hours gone, the UoL Mercedes had already made its race-winning manoeuvre and the team was never seriously challenged from then on. Behind, the Automobili Lamborghini Esports Team soldiered on in second, but the fight was on between the two AMGs of Mkers and HRT, and the Bentley Continental GT of TRITON Racing for third.
The pressure told on Mkers’ Marek Schinz with five hours gone, as he lost the rear of his car exiting Cheetah and made hard contact with the barriers after spearing across the circuit. Unfortunately, the car was too badly damaged to continue
After a hard-fought duel for third over the last four hours, the HRT AMG of Bastian Richter, Nils Klinkmüller and Leon Otocki crossed the line in third with a six-second gap to the Bentley.
The Veloce GT McLaren finished an impressive fifth. The team ran as long as they could between stints, leaving a late splash-and-dash for fuel with around 20 minutes to go, although they were never really under threat from the Keberz Engineering Simware.pro by VDES Bentley in sixth.
The BS+ COMPETITION BMW of Nils Naujoks, Arthur Kammerer and Gregor Schil finished seventh in Pro, just ahead of the Silver class-winning Porsche of KKrämer Racing eSports.
Jordan Sherratt put in a strong final stint performance to cut the deficit to the UoL car, but Tobias Gronewald was mostly untroubled – even when the German inadvertently switched his engine off on the final lap! Snatching the fastest lap merely underlined UoL’s dominance.
With the 24 Hours of Spa set to conclude the season, McLaren Veloce GT hold a 15-point lead over BS+ COMPETITION in the Pro standings, with Mercedes-AMG E-Sports Team UoL and Automobili Lamborghini Esports Team now playing themselves into championship contention.
In Silver, FFS Racing lead from the McLaren of AJA® Simracing Team powered by GAADI, with Race Anywhere Simsport 27 points off the lead.
With big points on offer at Spa, it’s all to play for in the final round of 2022’s Mobileye Intercontinental GT Challenge 2022. Can Veloce hold on to take the title or can BS+ COMPETITION and UoL usurp the McLaren team at the death?
ROUND 4 – KYALAMI 9HR – RACE RESULTS – PRO CLASS
- Tobias Gronewald – Michael Tauscher – Tobias Pfeffer Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo Mercedes-AMG E-Sports Team UoL 540:29.860
- Jordan Sherratt – Gianfranco Giglioli – Giorgio Simonini Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo Automobili Lamborghini Esports Team +11.738
- Bastian Richter – Nils Klinkmüller – Leon Otocki Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo Mercedes-AMG E-Sports Team HRT +21.183
- Dominik Blajer – Jakub Charkot – Mateusz Tyszkiewicz Bentley Continental GT3 2018 TRITON Racing +27.946
- Eamonn Murphy – James Baldwin – George Boothby McLaren 720S GT3 McLaren Veloce GT +33.848
ROUND 4 – KYALAMI 9HR – RACE RESULTS – SILVER CLASS
- Marco Bischoff – Patrick Pignone – Noah Eder Porsche 911 GT3 R (2019) KKrämer Racing eSports 541:46.586 34
- James Parker – Jan Willem van Ommen – Killian Ryan-Meenan – Joe McAuley AMR V8 Vantage FFS Racing +7.209 29
- Valentin Barrier – Maximilien Vedy – Maxime Chasset AMR V8 Vantage Virtualdrivers By TX3 +8.298 25
- Fabien Piffet – Maciej Hyla – Trevor Wenham – Grantas Kareckas Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo Race Anywhere Simsport – Silver +8.690 21
- Jura Petritchenko – Jan-Marcel Dietrich – Jakob Ostermann – Luis Roters McLaren 720S GT3 AJA® Simracing Team powered by GAADI +1L
INTERCONTINENTAL GT CHALLENGE ESPORTS 2022 CALENDAR CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS PRO
- Eamonn Murphy – James Baldwin – George Boothby McLaren 720S GT3 McLaren Veloce GT, 107 points
- Nils Naujoks – Arthur Kammerer – Gregor Schill BMW M4 GT3 BMW Team BS+COMPETITION, 92 points
- Tobias Gronewald – Michael Tauscher – Tobias Pfeffer Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo Mercedes-AMG E-Sports Team UoL, 72 points
- Jordan Sherratt – Gianfranco Giglioli – Giorgio Simonini Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo Automobili Lamborghini Esports Team, 71 points
- Dominik Blajer – Jakub Charkot – Mateusz Tyszkiewicz Bentley Continental GT3 2018 TRITON Racing, 61 points
INTERCONTINENTAL GT CHALLENGE ESPORTS 2022 CALENDAR CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS SILVER
- James Parker – Jan Willem van Ommen – Killian Ryan-Meenan – Joe McAuley AMR V8 Vantage FFS Racing, 108 points
- Jura Petritchenko – Jan-Marcel Dietrich – Jakob Ostermann – Luis Roters McLaren 720S GT3 AJA® Simracing Team powered by GAADI, 100 points
- Fabien Piffet – Maciej Hyla – Trevor Wenham – Grantas Kareckas Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo Race Anywhere Simsport – Silver, 81 points
- Valentin Barrier – Maximilien Vedy – Maxime Chasset AMR V8 Vantage Virtualdrivers By TX3, 56 points
- Alexander Novikov – Nikita Bogoroditskiy – Kirill Sadyrov Bentley Continental GT3 2018 Simware.Pro by VDES – Blue, 53 points
INTERCONTINENTAL GT CHALLENGE ESPORTS 2022 CALENDAR
Round 1 – Bathurst 12 Hours – 21st May Round 2 – 24 Hours of Spa – 18-19th June Round 3 – The 8 Hours of Laguna Seca – 16th July Round 4 – The Kyalami 9 Hours – 27th August
- Round 5 – Suzuka 10 Hours – TBC