Only a single week removed from the last Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup event at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, the series returned on 8th April for the sixth race of the 2023 season. The final trip to the United States saw the PESC drives taking on scenic Watkins Glen’s Classic layout in both the Supercup and All-Star fields.
The All-Stars kicked off the show with two pack races in the Cayman 718 GT4s. The ever-dominant Casey Kirwan would go on to win the Sprint race from the pole position. In the Feature, Kirwan wasn’t as lucky as he was involved in a late crash, giving way to Keny500 to score his second Feature win in a row.
After the All-Stars, the Supercup drivers would put on their own pair of pack races. Gustavo Ariel, fresh off of his first career win last week at the Red Bull Ring, managed to win his second in a row in the Sprint race. In the Feature, Coanda Esports would sweep the podium with Zac Campbell on the top step.
KIRWAN, KENY500 WIN AGAIN, THIS TIME AT WATKINS GLEN
While the Inner Loop is a staple when the NASCAR and eNASCAR series visit Watkins Glen International, things felt even more NASCAR-esque in the Porsche Supercup All-Stars race without it. Only seven corners, most fast and sweeping, and with three fairly long straights, there would be a lot of drafting taking place.
That drafting started as early as group qualifying, where the eNASCAR champion Kirwan was able to use his opponents to his advantage for the pole position. Christian “Keny500” Ortega started alongside in second. Through the early stages, Dave Cam had managed to slice his way up to the front as Keny500 faltered.
With a few laps to go, Dave made a move and took the lead for a moment from Kirwan. However, Kirwan was ready to fight back. The two went at it until the final moments, but Kirwan was victorious in this battle, holding off Dave and the help he had from Tony Kanaan behind.
ALL-STARS: WATKINS GLEN SPRINT RACE TOP 10 RESULTS
|FIN||STA||CAR #||DRIVER||INTERVAL||SPRINT PTS||AGG PTS|
|1||1||95||Casey Kirwan||14 LAPS||25||28|
|2||7||786||Dave Cam||+0.276 sec||20||20|
|3||3||6||Tony Kanaan||+0.644 sec||17||17|
|4||5||504||The Pulpo López||+0.849 sec||14||14|
|8||10||35||Dan Suzuki||+2.542 sec||8||8|
|9||15||56||Borja Zazo||+2.793 sec||7||7|
|10||14||83||Matt Malone||+2.934 sec||6||6|
The full field invert never disappoints, especially in chaotic moments like we saw on Saturday. LoveFortySix and Emily “Emree” Jones started on the front row, but nearing the end of the first lap, disaster struck from second on back.
Emree got out of the groove while the field stacked up behind, many hopefuls like Pablo “The Pulpo” López collecting damage in the fracas. LoveFortySix managed to pull to an incredible lead, but it didn’t take long for the pack to catch back up. Kirwan and Dave Cam were back in the mix, as well as some new players.
Bowling did occur at the Glen, and that would spell the end of both LoveFortySix and Casey Kirwan’s chances as they would be taken out of the equation. That left four drivers, including Keny500, in contention. Xabier “Heikki360ES” Sanchez made a move, Dan Suzuki made another move, and the end result was another Keny500 victory.
ALL-STARS: WATKINS GLEN FEATURE RACE TOP 10 RESULTS
|FIN||STA||CAR #||DRIVER||INTERVAL||FT. PTS||TOTAL PTS|
|2||8||35||Dan Suzuki||+0.263 sec||20||28|
|3||6||83||Matt Malone||+0.760 sec||17||23|
|5||14||786||Dave Cam||+5.309 sec||12||32|
|7||7||56||Borja Zazo||+10.626 sec||9||16|
|10||12||504||The Pulpo López||+27.884 sec||6||20|
Can anyone catch Casey Kirwan before the end of the season? Probably not, as he has nearly double the points of second place and defending champion, Tyson “Quirkitized” Meier. Jaroslav “Jardier” Honzik falls down to third while Emree and Keny500 round out the Top 5.
With a solid outing at Watkins Glen, Dave Cam leap frogs into sixth. The trio of Heikki360ES, Dan Suzuki and Borja Zazo have all had quiet seasons so far, still finding themselves in the conversation but also with not much to show for it. López, who only joined the season in Race 4, is now up to 10th overall.
ALL-STARS: POINTS AFTER EVENT #6 – WATKINS GLEN
|POS||CAR #||DRIVER||SP. WINS||FT. WINS||TOTAL PTS||BEHIND|
|10||504||The Pulpo López||0||1||94||-156|
PACK RACING PREVALENT AT CLASSIC WATKINS GLEN
After the All-Stars were concluded, the Top 30 drivers were up to take on the same course, but with the more powerful Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Car 992.
Sebastian Job would set the pace early on, scoring the pole position and those valuable 10 bonus points. Zac Campbell would start alongside with Charlie Collins, Gustavo Ariel and Diogo Pinto rounding out the Top 5.
THE SPRINT RACE
Off of the grid start, Campbell managed to snooker Job for the lead into and out of Turn 1 and up the esses. Campbell would hold on to it for a while, but eventually Job would take it back.
Collins and Pinto would collide in the Outer Loop before too long, essentially ruining Collins’ chances at a decent race early on. Things would single out following that, except for the battle for what was eighth at the time.
Zalenski wanted it, but he had to get through Kevin Nielsen to get it. The two would make contact, sending Nielsen around in Turn 1 and Zalenski into what was the transfer at the time.
The final lap is where the hinges began to fall off. Coming out of the esses, Pinto managed to get alongside Job for the top spot. There was contact, and Pinto wound up losing out tremendously after heavy contact.
This allowed Ariel to scoot inside of Job into the Outer Loop, but a push there allowed Campbell to get back into the battle. Ariel had the preferred line though, and through the final two corners, Ariel was able to score his second win in a row.
PESC: WATKINS GLEN SPRINT RACE TOP 10 RESULTS
|FIN||STA||CAR #||DRIVER||TEAM||INTERVAL||PTS||AGG PTS|
|1||4||21||Gustavo Ariel||TXC Racing by TK||11 LAPS||25||29|
|2||1||22||Sebastian Job||Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports||+0.495 sec||22||32|
|3||6||12||Jordan Caruso||Altus Esports||+0.756 sec||20||20|
|4||8||77||Alessandro Bico||Williams Esports||+0.859 sec||18||18|
|5||2||15||Zac Campbell||VRS Coanda Esports||+0.866 sec||16||24|
|6||7||46||Bryn Collins||VRS Coanda Esports||+0.935 sec||15||15|
|7||11||83||Bobby Zalenski||VRS Coanda Esports||+1.068 sec||14||14|
|8||12||47||Alejandro Sánchez||Stormforce Racing ART||+1.193 sec||13||13|
|9||10||69||Moreno Sirica||Williams Esports||+1.611 sec||12||12|
|10||13||28||Sam Kuitert||URANO eSports||+1.669 sec||11||11|
THE FEATURE RACE
With Pinto losing multiple spots on the final lap, the battle for eighth prior wound up as the battle for seventh ultimately. This allowed the driver that was in ninth, Alejandro Sánchez, to move into the prime spot to invert to the pole alongside Zalenski. Coanda teammates Bryn Collins and Campbell would occupy the second row.
Early on, it was clear that Coanda would be doing whatever it took to win. That meant fighting each other at times, but it also meant shuffling Sánchez out and holding Job at bay for the majority of the time.
Sánchez had the early lead, but eventually that gave way to Bryn Collins. A lap later, Campbell had taken the top spot. The fight for second would not be so over with just yet as Sánchez fought tooth and nail with Collins and Zalenski. At one point, the trio was three wide, and that allowed Job to reenter the conversation.
On the final lap, Job was on Campbell’s bumper and looked left. Collins was there too and looked even more left, making it three-wide into the Outer Loop. Job was unfortunate, bouncing off car after car through the final corners as Coanda Esports put Campbell, Collins and Zalenski across the line for the podium sweep.
PESC: WATKINS GLEN FEATURE RACE TOP 10 RESULTS
|FIN||STA||CAR #||DRIVER||TEAM||INTERVAL||PTS||TOTAL PTS|
|1||4||15||Zac Campbell||VRS Coanda Esports||22 LAPS||50||74|
|2||3||46||Bryn Collins||VRS Coanda Esports||+0.530 sec||45||60|
|3||2||83||Bobby Zalenski||VRS Coanda Esports||+0.718 sec||40||54|
|4||1||47||Alejandro Sánchez||Stormforce Racing ART||+0.780 sec||37||50|
|5||11||99||Oscar Mangan||Altus Esports||+0.906 sec||34||44|
|6||8||21||Gustavo Ariel||TXC Racing by TK||+0.962 sec||31||60|
|7||7||22||Sebastian Job||Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports||+1.020 sec||28||60|
|8||6||12||Jordan Caruso||Altus Esports||+1.280 sec||26||46|
|9||5||77||Alessandro Bico||Williams Esports||+5.937 sec||24||42|
|10||15||4||Salva Talens||Stormforce Racing ART||+6.029 sec||22||28|
POINTS STANDINGS LEAVING FINAL RACE IN AMERICA
Points leader Jordan Caruso had a quiet, but strong outing on Saturday. A third in the Sprint and an eighth in the Feature might not sound incredible, but when faced against a Charlie Collins who failed to finish in the Top 15 in either race as well as a Pinto that wrecked in the Sprint and clawed back to 12th in the Feature, that sounds pretty good.
Perhaps with the most to gain on the night could have been Sebastian Job. Job had the possibility to win both races, and at the minimum, finish second in each. Some rough and rowdy racing to the line was detrimental to this as he wound up seventh overall, still a full race distance behind Caruso.
Sánchez and Campbell are also about in that area. Campbell, in particular, wound up with two Top 5s on the night, one of which was a win. There was nobody that scored more points than that No. 15. Still, Caruso is sitting pretty with 58 points over Pinto with four races to go.
PESC: POINTS AFTER EVENT #6 – WATKINS GLEN
|POS||CAR #||DRIVER||TEAM||SP. WINS||FT. WINS||T5s||TOTAL PTS|
|1||12||Jordan Caruso||Altus Esports||1||0||9||348*|
|2||1||Diogo C. Pinto||Team Redline||1||1||7||290*|
|3||93||Charlie Collins||VRS Coanda Esports||0||1||6||286|
|4||22||Sebastian Job||Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports||0||1||7||273*|
|5||47||Alejandro Sánchez||Stormforce Racing ART||1||0||7||269*|
|6||15||Zac Campbell||VRS Coanda Esports||1||2||6||258|
|7||90||Yohann Harth||Stormforce Racing ART||0||0||2||188*|
|8||37||Cooper Webster||Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports||0||0||3||185|
|9||21||Gustavo Ariel||TXC Racing by TK||1||1||2||148*|
|10||49||Jamie Fluke||Apex Racing Team||0||0||2||144*|
UP NEXT: BACK TO EUROPE FOR A SPA DATE
There are no more trips to North America this season for the series. The remainder of the race dates will be set across Europe, and the first one of the final four races will take place at the famous Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.
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 kicks off around 2:00 pm ET / 6:00 pm GMT / 7:00 pm BST for the All-Stars while the World Championship goes off an hour later.
2023 PORSCHE TAG HEUER ESPORTS SUPERCUP SCHEDULE
|EVENT||DATE||VENUE||Sprint Laps||Feature Laps|
|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|