After a two week hiatus, the final round of the British GT Esports Championship got underway with the Donington decider on Sunday evening. The familiar one hour long sprint format would be the deciding race for the GT4 category and a battle for overall podium positions in the GT3s.
With real-world motorsport ramping up the GT3 field was very light with only eight cars taking the green light, including the champion-elect James Baldwin who was absent thanks to other commitments. However, there was still some close racing to be had.
The GT4 grid was again compiled of championship regulars, but there was a host of new names to join the party for the last round, including Williams Esports driver Jack Keithley and also our very own Traxion contributor and Assetto Corsa Competizione expert, Ross McGregor.
BRITISH GT ESPORTS CHAMPIONSHIP, GT3, ROUND 5
With Baldwin absent, the track was clear for his closest rival Angus Fender to capitalise the most, and so he started as he meant to carry on with taking pole ahead of Michael O’Brien, even with the extra 10kg from his Silverstone podium.
Second position was not O’Brien’s for long, however, running wide on the opening corner and dropping to fourth, leaving Fender to scamper off and start building a lead. It wasn’t long before Fender had a four-second cushion and was leading O’Brien again after he dispatched the second BMW of Ben Green plus Sandy Mitchell after he served a drive-through penalty for jumping the start.
It was the Aston Martin’s of Bobby Trundley and Tom Canning who were squabbling for positions running up to the pitstops, the duel lasting for several laps until Trundley made the move stick between traffic at the hairpin.
The order resumed as-was after the filed had stopped, and despite keeping the BMW taillights insight during the first stint, O’Brien’s McLaren had no answer to the M6 GT3 for the remaining 20 minutes – leaving Fender to take glory once again and solidify his second place in the Championship standings.
It was another sly race from Jody Fannin who had pace and patience throughout, gradually making his way up to third from sixth at the start. Despite no win throughout the championship, his consistency and race-craft would not go unrewarded with third overall in the standings.
And after an intense three-way battle between Trundley, Mitchell and Green, it was the Team BRIT driver who managed to hold onto fourth and ahead of Mitchell by the slimmest of margins. An unlucky coming-together with a GT4 car put Green out of the battle and would ultimately cross the line in seventh behind a recovering Canning.
- Angus Fender – BMW M6 GT3 – Century Motorsport 1:00:17.785 25
- Michael O’Brien – McLaren 720S GT3 – Team Rocket RJN +10.503 18
- Jody Fannin – Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo – JMW Motorsport +37.412 15
- Bobby Trundley – Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 – Team BRIT +46.710 12
- Sandy Mitchell – Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo – Barwell Motorsport +46.962 10
- Tom Canning – Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 – TF Sport +54.933 8
- Ben Green – BMW M6 GT3 – Century Motorsport +1:12.459 6
- Jack Lemmer – Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo – Barwell Motorsport +1:13.313 4
BRITISH GT ESPORTS CHAMPIONSHIP, GT4, ROUND 5
The outside chance for Jack McIntyre to overhaul Nils Naujoks point lead took a big hit even before the green flag dropped with the McIntyre starting down in fifth, while leader Naujoks stuck it on pole by just 0.03 seconds.
In comparison to previous rounds, the wide-open nature of Donington resulted in a clean start for the GT4’s with the top few positions staying put while they navigated the first few laps. There was great battling further down the field in the early stages with Matt Richards’ Ginetta all over the bumper of Williams Esports driver Jack Keithley whose KTM didn’t look to suit the track and was struggling for pace.
The racing gods finally intervened for McIntyre 15 minutes into the race when Robbie Stapleford made an optimistic lunge into the hairpin for second on Charlie Crossland, leaving the door open for McIntyre to sweep into second. Still seven seconds behind Naujoks and needing the BMW to drop to at least fourth, the odds were stacked against him.
By the time the pit window opened, Naujoks had extended his lead to over 10 seconds. But, the chasing McIntyre had a brilliant stop and managed to shrink the gap slightly once the top runners had stopped.
Try as he might, McIntyre had no answer to the BMW M4 of Naujoks. The additional ballast, and the likely risk-free run for Naujoks, left him with a unchallenged run to the finish and a perfect way to win the championship – securing Fanatec’s €2,000 prize bundle.
Second on the road for McIntyre would also mean second in the championship standings, with the final round podium going to series returnee Crossland.
Stapleford just missed out on the top 10 after a late drive-through penalty for track limits, meanwhile, a clean race to fifth for Moritz Löhner meant he wrapped up third in the overall standings.
Ross McGregor had a challenging race, running briefly in the top 10 after starting 15th, but a 10-second penalty would scupper any chances of making real progress, crossing the line in 13th.
- Nils Naujoks – BMW M4 GT4 – BMW Motorsport SIM G2 1:00:33.564 25
- Jack McIntyre – Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 – Zansho Rocket Simsport +9.794 18
- Charlie Crossland – Alpine A110 GT4 – Team Fordzilla +15.349 15
- Lucas Müller – BMW M4 GT4 – Haupt Racing Team eSports +16.638 12
- Moritz Löhner – McLaren 570S GT4 – Dörr Esports +18.021 10
- Tariq Gamil – Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 – Private +18.309 8
- Kevin Siclari – Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 – Racing Line Motorsport +21.504 6
- Robbie Stapleford – Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 – Profile Racing +39.868 4
- Samir Ibraimi – Audi R8 LMS GT4 – Rennwelten Pro Team +47.121 2
- Ben Hitz – Mercedes-AMG GT4 – Haupt Racing Team eSports +48.682 1
- Michael Kundakcioglu – Alpine A110 GT4 – SideMax Motorworks +49.570 0
- Jordan Burrows – Chevrolet Camaro GT4R – Solo Racing +55.942 0
- Ross McGregor – Mercedes-AMG GT4 – Zansho Rocket Simsport +57.503 0
- Chris Hoeke – Audi R8 LMS GT4 – Rennwelten Pro Team +59.226 0
- Pierre-Olivier Cloutier – KTM X-Bow GT4 – EGT Motorsports +1:06.153 0
- Paul Baty – Ginetta G55 GT4 – HTA Team +1:06.602 0
- Jack Keithley – KTM X-Bow GT4 – Williams Esports +1:13.379 0
- Andreas Schwerin – Chevrolet Camaro GT4R – ThePitCrew Works Racing +1:32.983 0
- Matt Richards – Ginetta G55 GT4 – Zansho Rocket Simsport +1 Lap 0
With the inaugural British GT Esports Championship action over, all eyes will now look forward to the GT World Challenge Europe Esports which will start next month on the 21st May. Both British GT class champions have gained an automatic entry into the series and we hope to cover each race here on Traxion.
Images from the British GT media portal.