For better or for worse, the racing worlds both real world and virtual simply cannot escape the legend that is Spa-Francorchamps. To describe its past month’s worth of history as a ‘whirlwind’ would be underselling it somewhat. Tragedy and triumph are often too closely tied around this circuit.
Here at Traxion.GG, we found ourselves divided upon the conclusion of the whimsically named ‘Golden Toast GP’ – the most recent of competitions to gain notoriety outside of our niche community. Yet, as iRacing poster-boy Max Verstappen was under the microscope for all the wrong reasons again, over on Assetto Corsa Competizione a far larger event was running in tandem.
The Intercontinental GT Challenge Esports was back with a mammoth 24-hour event in its globally sourced calendar. Both races to this point had been incredibly different affairs; from the sensational comeback of McLaren-Veloce in Australia to victory for Williams in tricky conditions around Kyalami.
Round 3 expected nothing different. Indeed through server restarts, outstanding overtakes and sumptuous strategies, this particular test of endurance was sure to live long in the memory.
With plenty of grunt to demonstrate out of the slow-speed corners, Mercedes-AMG teams were the ones to look out for in qualifying. Dáire McCormack was to lead from pole position in his Williams Mercedes-AMG Team Williams Esports machine ahead of Bastian Richter for Unicorns of Love.
Then came the Audi pair of Wipperman Racing and the aforementioned #66 car. They were to be piloted from the off by Jakob Ostermann and Tinko van der Velde respectively.
Krämer Racing Esports enjoyed the slim luxury of Silver class pole position putting their early hopes in the hands of Marco Bischoff. He would have a tall task on his hands as three of his fellow class rivals lay just two to four positions behind with only the PRO runner of ITB Sainteloc’s Mikhail Statsenko separating them.
Dáire McCormack was out of the gates like a whippet. His early aggression paid off handsomely with Williams taking the lead by Les Combes. The only person who might have laid claim to a better start within the top ten was Jordan Sherratt. In just a few turns the South African had launched his Ferrari up to second from fifth.
Things didn’t go so well for Bischoff who lost his buffer to the rest of the Silver class immediately. Statsenko had done what was required of him and now sat neatly behind van der Velde who had arguably the weakest start without drama of some kind. Sherratt wasn’t done just yet, however. A mistake by McCormack allowed both himself and Richter back through seeing Ferrari take an unlikely lead.
You should never head to Spa-Francorchamps without a poncho and for good reason. Rain is never too far away and the intense micro-climate struck yet again. Through the wet weather emerged Mercedes-AMG dominance as had been predicted. The characteristics of their machines allowed Unicorns of Love, the Mercedes-Williams and even Team HRT to jump Ferrari and the struggling Audi-Williams.
By the halfway point, the Silver class had mixed up quite a bit seeing the pole sitters eventually slip to tenth on the road but crucially third in class. Ahead of them now sat FFS Racing and – leading the category – Team Racing Point who were hoping to string together back-to-back victories.
Rain would return before the race was out; a heavy downpour threw yet another curveball into the mix with under six hours left to run. Racing Point had only furthered their advantage over the chasing Silver runners by this stage leaving most of them for dust. So strong was the form that they had brought themselves into overall podium contention.
Ultimately, this would prove a step too far although fourth place was still an incredible reward for an incredible team performance. Mercedes-AMG entries ended up locking out the podium although the true scale of the Unicorn’s win was stark once the results were all in. The only car that remained on the lead lap was the #555 Williams.
SRO Esports Spa 24 Hours 2023 Pro Class Results
- Mercedes-AMG Esports Team Unicorns of Love – Bastian Richter/Tobias Pfeffer/Tobias Gronewald/Michael Tauscher
- Mercedes-AMG Team Williams Esports – Dennis Schöniger/Dáire McCormack/Dominik Blajer
- Mercedes-AMG Esports Team HRT by UOL – Niklas Houben/Leon Otocki/Lars Kisser/Nils Klinkmüller
- Scuderia Ferrari Esports Team – Jordan Sherratt/Chris Harteveld/Andrea Capoccia/Jonathan Riley
- Automobili Lamborghini Esports Team – Danilo Santoro/David Tonizza/Luca Losio/Alberto Garcia
SRO Esports Spa 24 Hours 2023 Silver Class Results
- Team Racing Point – D. Pertile/A. Castorino/L. Matěja/M. Zampedri
- GetCloserRacing – F. Arndt/M. Popp/S. Hettich/T. Gorka/ T. Schurr
- FFS Racing – M. Nobel/A. Franke/J. Willem van Ommen/K. Ryan-Meenan/M. Grady
- RennWelten eSports Red – S. Ibraimi/L. Berndt/T. Pietschmann/L. Lucaßen
- RennWelten eSports Blue – O. Rätz/J. Naumann/J. Fawkes/F. Appel/L. Waidelich