We didn’t quite know what to expect for the return of iRacing‘s Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup in 2023, but the first pair of races on the season at Hockenheim, plus the All-Star races prior, put on an exciting show nevertheless for fans to tune in to on Saturday (4th February).
In the PESC All-Stars events, the Sprint Race was conquered by eNASCAR champion Casey Kirwan, who was able to hold off Tony Kanaan. After the full field invert, it was Jardier capitalizing and taking the win in the Feature following a last lap incident between the two leaders, Basic Ollie and Emree.
After that, the main event was the pair of World Championship races with the 30 top qualified iRacers into the series for 2023. These drivers were entered by either finishing in the Top 15 last season in PESC points or by advancing into or returning to the series through the Contender round last year.
Charlie Collins would leave Hockenheim as the points leader after finishing runner up in the Sprint race to the defending champion Diogo Pinto and then to his Coanda teammate Zac Campbell in the Feature.
14 ALL-STARS, ONE HOCKENHEIM
The first raceday of the season started out with a pair of All-Star races with some of the biggest names in sim racing streaming taking part in the festivities. Names such as Kirwan, Jardier, Emree and the defending champion, Tyson Meier, also known better as Quirkitized all returned to action once more.
All-Stars also saw the return of Heikki360, Dan Suzuki, Borja Zazo, Matt Malone, Stradi and the world famous Tony Kanaan for Hockenheim. They were all met by Basic Ollie, LoveFortySix and Keny500, all new to the grid this season. Dave Cam also makes his return to the All-Stars for the first time since 2021.
Kirwan took the pole position for the Sprint by nearly half a second over Kanaan. For the first few minutes, Kanaan kept in touch, utilizing the draft to stay within a shot, but Kirwan was too powerful and went on to win by more than three seconds.
ALL-STARS – HOCKENHEIM SPRINT RACE TOP 10 RESULTS
|POS||CAR #||DRIVER||INTERVAL||PTS||TOTAL PTS|
|1||95||Casey Kirwan||10 LAPS||25||28|
|2||06||Tony Kanaan||+3.055 sec||20||20|
|3||56||Borja Zazo||+4.063 sec||17||17|
|6||83||Matt Malone||+9.120 sec||10||10|
|8||786||Dave Cam||+16.038 sec||8||8|
A full-field invert would see Jardier and Basic Ollie on the front row for the feature. Jardier was able to get a good launch, but before the first lap was completed, Basic Ollie had taken control. Emree had started third after a few incidents in the Sprint. She quickly made her move on Jardier to take second.
A 16 lap race in the 27 minute time limit, Basic Ollie had led the first 15 as Emree stalked to the white flag. In the Hairpin, Turn 6, Emree made a lunge on Basic Ollie and the two made contact. This allowed Jardier to slip by and take the lead and win.
ALL-STARS – HOCKENHEIM FEATURE RACE TOP 10 RESULTS
|POS||CAR #||DRIVER||INTERVAL||PTS||TOTAL PTS|
|2||37||Basic Ollie||+1.179 sec||20||23|
|4||95||Casey Kirwan||+2.696 sec||15||43|
|7||06||Tony Kanaan||+7.309 sec||9||29|
|8||35||Dan Suzuki||+9.756 sec||8||13|
|10||786||Dave Cam||+10.839 sec||6||14|
Kirwan managed to finish in fourth in the Feature and leads the points leaving Hockenheim after scoring the Sprint win and the pole position as well, which offers three bonus points. Second place is currently Kanaan after his seventh place effort in the Feature. Jardier will sit third leaving Hockenheim.
ALL-STARS – POINTS STANDINGS AFTER EVENT #1 – HOCKENHEIM
|POS||CAR #||DRIVER||SP. WINS||FT. WINS||TOP 5s||TOTAL PTS|
PINTO, CAMPBELL TAKE HOCKENHEIM WINS IN PESC RETURN
The iRacing World Championship returned in full force on Saturday evening with a pair of wild races to kick off the 2023 Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup season. Hockenheim would be the venue, same as the All-Stars, a 4.574-kilometer (2.842-miles) course with 17 corners located in Germany.
A 30-car field of Porsche 911 GT3 Cup 992 cars were in attendance to take on the opening round of the series. After qualifying had been settled, Altus Esports sophomore driver Jordan Caruso would start out the season on top with a pole position and 10 bonus points.
Diogo Pinto, Charlie Collins, Alejandro Sánchez and Sebastian Job would round out the Top 5, all collecting qualifying points as well.
THE SPRINT RACE
Just like last season, the Sprint race would send the drivers off in the same positions they qualified in, later to invert the Top 8 finishers after nine laps. Caruso led the field down through the Parabolica, but at the Hairpin, he locked up the front tire and gave way to both Pinto and Collins who exited side-by-side.
Pinto took full advantage of the lead through Mercedes corner as Collins fell back in line to get a tow. Into Sachskurve, Collins went left and the two made contact once, then twice. Pinto fell back in line as Job managed to take the left position of Collins to complete the first lap.
Through the second edition of the Nordkurve, Job began to slip back, yielding to Collins and Pinto before entering the next corner. As they made their way back to the Parabolica for the second time, Pinto was able to clear Collins and take the lead back fully. Sánchez moved into third, Caruso to fourth and Job fifth.
The Top 5 drivers ran like this without change until the penultimate lap, when Caruso made the move to take the final step of the podium away from Sánchez. Pinto scored the victory over Collins, the first winner on the new year.
PESC HOCKENHEIM SPRINT RACE TOP 10 RESULTS
|POS||CAR #||DRIVER||TEAM||INTERVAL||PTS||AGG PTS|
|1||1||Diogo Pinto||Team Redline||9 LAPS||25||33|
|2||93||Charlie Collins||VRS Coanda Esports||+0.382 sec||22||28|
|3||12||Jordan Caruso||Altus Esports||+2.043 sec||20||30|
|4||47||Alejandro Sánchez||Stormforce Racing ART||+2.683 sec||18||22|
|5||22||Sebastian Job||Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports||+2.948 sec||16||18|
|6||15||Zac Campbell||VRS Coanda Esports||+3.186 sec||15||19|
|7||77||Alessandro Bico||Williams Esports||+3.652 sec||14||14|
|8||24||Lasse Bak (R)||FYRA SimSport||+4.317 sec||13||13|
|9||4||Salva Talens||Stormforce Racing ART||+5.334 sec||12||12|
|10||49||Jamie Fluke||Apex Racing Team||+5.924 sec||11||11|
THE FEATURE RACE
With the same rules in place as last season, the Top 8 finishers from the Sprint race would be subject to an invert. The first place finisher would start eighth, the eighth place finisher would start first, and everyone in between would also swap positions similarly.
This would put rookie Lasse Bak with FYRA SimSport on the pole position for the first time with Williams Esports’ Alessandro Bico alongside. The two would get off to a fantastic start as Job was able to initially get the jump on Zac Campbell exiting the first right hander.
Things seemed quiet at first, but then, pandemonium broke out in the Hairpin.
Another rookie in the series, Gustavo Ariel in the #21, went a little too deep entering. This wound up with him making contact with Williams Esports’ Moreno Sirica, who was then sent like a missile into the two Stormforce Racing ART drivers of Salva Talens and Sánchez.
More would get involved, including Cooper Webster, Luka Kita, Julien Soenen, Bryn Collins, Oskari Rinne, Bobby Zalenski, Christopher Dambietz, Simone Maria Marcenò, Mathias Stokbæk Jensen, Alexey Nesov, Kevin Nielsen and Tuomas Tähtelä. More than half the field had some contact one way or another.
MEANWHILE, BACK UP FRONT
As the field thinned out behind, the battle at the front would get spicy as well. The third lap is when things began to unravel for some and become perfect for others.
After a fifth in the Sprint, Job had two cars that he knew he had more pace than in front of him, one a rookie to the competition and the other in their sophomore season. In the Hairpin, Job looked to go too deep, or possibly the two in front of him went too easy. Either way, Job locked up, body slamming Bico.
This allowed Campbell to move up into position behind Job, who was trying to get his way around Bak the long way leaving Mercedes. Job kept the pressure on alongside into Mobil 1, but in Sachskurve, possible invisible contact forced Job out of his line as he began to fade into the next row of cars.
Job would find himself three wide with Caruson and Bico and off the racing surface exiting Sachskurve and subsequently this led to an excursion through the grass, ending his chances. Up to second was Campbell, who was ready to pounce with no threat from Job anymore.
Campbell took control on the fourth lap from Bak just before the Parabolica. Bak kept him honest for a few laps, but then began to fade as the rest of the field started stacking up behind him with Campbell pulling away.
Bak would eventually fade back to finish seventh. Collins had found his pace and moved into second with four laps to go, but the gap to Campbell was over two seconds. Even after getting the draft, Collins needed at least one more lap to get the job done. Campbell scored the victory, leading 15 of 18 laps.
PESC HOCKENHEIM FEATURE RACE TOP 10 RESULTS
|POS||CAR #||DRIVER||TEAM||INTERVAL||PTS||AGG PTS|
|1||15||Zac Campbell||VRS Coanda Esports||18 LAPS||50||65|
|2||93||Charlie Collins||VRS Coanda Esports||+0.518 sec||45||73|
|3||77||Alessandro Bico||Williams Esports||+1.266 sec||40||54|
|4||12||Jordan Caruso||Altus Esports||+1.726 sec||37||67|
|5||1||Diogo Pinto||Team Redline||+4.143 sec||34||67|
|6||90||Yohann Harth||Apex Racing Team||+4.471 sec||31||36|
|7||24||Lasse Bak (R)||FYRA SimSport||+5.059 sec||28||41|
|8||11||Maximilian Benecke||MOUZ||+5.225 sec||26||35|
|9||49||Jamie Fluke||Apex Racing Team||+6.449 sec||24||35|
|10||21||Gustavo Ariel (R)||TXC Racing by TK||+6.841 sec||22||30*|
POINTS STANDINGS LEAVING HOCKENHEIM
After a wild pair of races, and despite having no wins to show for it, Charlie Collins leaves Hockenheim as the 2023 Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup points leader. His VRS Coanda Esports teammate Campbell sits in fourth behind the pole sitter Caruso and the Sprint winner Pinto, who are tied in second.
Bico sits in fifth after a seventh and third place result, and after that, there’s a decent drop back to Bak in sixth. Yohann Harth, Maximilian Benecke, Jamie Fluke and Julien Soenen round out the Top 10.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment so far comes from Sebastian Job, down in 12th. It seemed uncharacteristic for him to have the issues he did in the second race. He’ll be the first one not listed on the sheet below.
|POS||CAR #||DRIVER||TEAM||SP. WINS||FT. WINS||T5s||TOTAL PTS|
|1||93||Charlie Collins||VRS Coanda Esports||0||0||2||73|
|2||12||Jordan Caruso||Altus Esports||0||0||2||67|
|2||1||Diogo Pinto||Team Redline||1||0||2||67|
|4||15||Zac Campbell||VRS Coanda Esports||0||1||1||65|
|5||77||Alessandro Bico||Williams Esports||0||0||1||54|
|6||24||Lasse Bak (R)||FYRA SimSport||0||0||0||41|
|7||90||Yohann Harth||Apex Racing Team||0||0||0||36|
|8||49||Jamie Fluke||Apex Racing Team||0||0||0||35|
|10||40||Julien Soenen||R8G Esports||0||0||0||26|
|10||47||Alejandro Sánchez||Stormforce Racing ART||0||0||1||26|
UP NEXT – MAGNY-COURS
With the brand new and shiny season just begun, the PESC series heads to a brand new and shiny track on the iRacing service as of 2023 Season 1. Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours is that venue, and in two weeks time, the best in PESC will take on the French circuit.
The broadcast will be primarily advertised for the Porsche Motorsports social channels, although like eNASCAR, it will also find itself on the iRacing social channels. The broadcast is set to kick off around 1:00 pm ET / 6:00 pm GMT for the PESC All-Stars, while the PESC World Championship goes off an hour later.
2023 PORSCHE TAG HEUER ESPORTS SUPERCUP SCHEDULE
|EVENT||DATE||VENUE||Sprint Laps||Feature Laps|
|2||18-Feb||Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours||9||18|
|3||4-Mar||TO BE VOTED UPON||TBD||TBD|
|4||18-Mar||Circuit of the Americas||8||16|
|5||1-Apr||Red Bull Ring||10||20|
|6||8-Apr||Watkins Glen International||11||22|
|7||22-Apr||Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps||6||12|
|9||20-May||Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans||3||6|
|10||3-Jun||Autodromo Nazionale Monza||7||14|