The gloves proverbially came off at Circuit de la Sarthe this past weekend in the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup. Jordan Caruso (Altus Esports) has been sitting on a sizable lead for a good portion of the 2023 campaign, but after a last lap crash in the Porsche Curves on Saturday (20th May), the title bout is wide open.
Possible contact with Sebastian Job (Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports), who also won the Sprint Race and is one of the top drivers on the season sent Caruso around on the final lap, and it resulted in a 25th place finish for the points leader.
Job won the Sprint and finished eighth as the other possible title fighter, Zac Campbell (VRS Coanda Esports) finished fourth and fifth in the two races respectively.
After penalties were assessed, Caruso leads by only 37 points—still a large gap but not nearly the gap he had two race events ago. Campbell sits second while Job, who is 41 points back, sits in third. Alejandro Sánchez (Stormforce Racing ART) was also assessed penalty points, but also has an outside mathematical shot.
In the All-Stars, the opposite was true as Casey Kirwan managed to clinch the title following a Feature victory. Despite the defending champ Tyson “Quirkitized” Meier scoring the Sprint win and scoring more points, Kirwan cannot lose with only one race remaining in the season.
QUIRKITIZED BESTS THE PULPO LÓPEZ IN ALL-STAR SPRINT
It wasn’t just a ride in the park for Kirwan at Le Mans. He still needed to score enough points to make the clinch a guarantee, and that almost became a tough chore after failing to put down a qualifying lap. Pablo “The Pulpo” López took the pole position and started alongside Lyubov “LoveFortySix” Ozeretskovskaya.
LoveFortySix would not have a great start, and that opened the door for Quirk to take advantage. Both López and Quirk managed to pull away as the rest of the field fell back. On the second lap, Kirwan and LoveFortySix collided, ending both of their chances. It meant they would start on the front row of the Feature, however.
Up front, Quirk managed to snooker López. In Indianapolis on the final lap, Quirk took control as López took a trip into the kitty litter. The two still finished 1-2 as Dave Cam managed to come in third.
ALL-STARS: LE MANS SPRINT RACE TOP 10 RESULTS
|FIN||STA||CAR #||DRIVER||INTERVAL||SPRINT PTS||AGG PTS|
|2||1||504||The Pulpo López||+1.009 sec||20||23|
|3||9||786||Dave Cam||+6.782 sec||17||17|
|5||12||37||Basic Ollie||+8.796 sec||12||12|
|6||7||56||Borja Zazo||+9.089 sec||10||10|
|7||10||35||Dan Suzuki||+11.223 sec||9||9|
|9||8||83||Matt Malone||+26.948 sec||7||7|
KIRWAN BOUNCES BACK FOR ALL-STAR FEATURE VICTORY
For the Feature, Kirwan was up front once again, but his lack of expertise at the venue caused another unforced error early as he obtained a slow down penalty while leading. This opened the door for Javier “Stradi” Soto to take the lead, and later, Dan Suzuki. Kirwan wasn’t out, but he did have to fight back.
On the final lap, Kirwan managed to take back the lead. As the likes of Xabier “Heikki360ES” Sanchez, LoveFortySix and others went off course, Kirwan managed to get a large gap back to the rest of the field.
Without the drafting help, Kirwan was able to win easily by over two seconds.
ALL-STARS: LE MANS FEATURE RACE TOP 10 RESULTS
|FIN||STA||CAR #||DRIVER||INTERVAL||FT. PTS||TOTAL PTS|
|1||1||95||Casey Kirwan||6 LAPS||26||30|
|2||6||35||Dan Suzuki||+2.130 sec||20||29|
|4||11||504||The Pulpo López||+3.630 sec||14||37|
|6||8||37||Basic Ollie||+9.508 sec||10||22|
|8||7||56||Borja Zazo||+11.891 sec||8||18|
|10||4||83||Matt Malone||+18.474 sec||6||13|
Quirk was able to gain points on Kirwan, but he truly would have needed to win from the pole to have a realistic shot at obtaining enough points. In fact, Kirwan may have been able to clinch the moment the green flag flew at Le Mans.
The real battle will be for the Top 5, the payout spots of the All-Star Series. Quirk and López are sitting somewhat comfortably in the Top 3, but after that, it’s anyone’s guess as to who finishes in the Top 5.
Emily “Emree” Jones and Suzuki are currently in those spots, but Heikki360ES, Dave Cam, Jaroslav “Jardier” Honzik and Christian “Keny500” Ortega have a realistic shot at pointing in. Borja Zazo, Stradi, Oliver “Basic Ollie” Furnell and Matt Malone also have an outside mathematical shot as well.
ALL-STARS: POINTS AFTER EVENT #9 – LE MANS
|POS||CAR #||DRIVER||SP. WINS||FT. WINS||TOTAL PTS||BEHIND|
|3||504||The Pulpo López||1||1||201||-139|
CHAMPIONSHIP BATTLE GETS CLOSE AFTER CARUSO CRASH
Two race events ago at Spa-Francorchamps, Jordan Caruso was in position to have the championship locked up possibly as soon as after the Nürburgring. His Green Hell experience wasn’t the best, so that possibility moved to this week at the Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans. Again, it didn’t happen.
Even worse, his competition has a realistic shot at overtaking him if he continues to have this poor luck.
Caruso’s lead is down to 37 points leaving Le Mans, and if Zac Campbell or Sebastian Job can get a perfect day at Monza, Caruso would still need 49 points scored to clinch, no easy task. Winning a Feature would be the only guarantee Caruso has, and as we see on a weekly basis, nobody is safe from danger.
THE SPRINT RACE: JOB GETS THE JOB DONE OVER PINTO
Knowing that his competition would need some poor luck to be back in the conversation, Sebastian Job had to get a solid day out of Le Mans to keep the dream alive for his second PESC title. Defending series champion Diogo Pinto (Team Redline) took the pole and the early lead, but Job was in attack mode early.
Three-wide on the first lap with Pinto, Job and Alejandro Sánchez gave Job the advantage by the end of the first lap. Pinto made it out of there in second while Sánchez was relegated to third. They stayed calm until the final lap, where Pinto possibly made his move too early.
Job briefly lost the top spot to Pinto, but he fought back on the outside entering Indianapolis and managed to pull off the pass. Job held on through the Porsche Curves and stole the Sprint win, gaining 17 points on Jordan Caruso who finished seventh. Yohann Harth would invert to the Feature pole after finishing eighth.
PESC: LE MANS SPRINT RACE TOP 10 RESULTS
|FIN||STA||CAR #||DRIVER||TEAM||INTERVAL||PTS||AGG PTS|
|1||3||22||Sebastian Job||Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports||3 LAPS||25||31|
|2||1||1||Diogo C. Pinto||Team Redline||+0.437 sec||22||32|
|3||2||47||Alejandro Sánchez||Stormforce Racing ART||+0.676 sec||20||28|
|4||4||15||Zac Campbell||VRS Coanda Esports||+1.104 sec||18||22|
|5||9||93||Charlie Collins||VRS Coanda Esports||+1.291 sec||16||16|
|6||5||77||Alessandro Bico||Williams Esports||+1.647 sec||15||17|
|7||8||12||Jordan Caruso||Altus Esports||+2.082 sec||14||14|
|8||6||90||Yohann Harth||Stormforce Racing ART||+2.412 sec||13||13|
|9||11||4||Salva Talens||Stormforce Racing ART||+2.778 sec||12||12|
|10||12||24||Lasse Bak||FYRA SimSport||+3.103 sec||11||11|
THE FEATURE RACE: HARTH FINALLY TAKES PESC VICTORY
In the Feature, three drivers made themselves known as the ones to beat. Harth, Alessandro Bico (Williams Esports) and Charlie Collins (VRS Coanda Esports) were the three best through the six-lap feature. Collins had help from behind with Campbell while Harth had help from Sánchez.
On the penultimate lap, Job and Caruso were fighting for a Top 5 spot when they made contact, sending Caruso into the wall and Job down the order with a slow down penalty. The two were out of the running for the win, but the intensity did not cease.
On the final lap in the same area, the Porsche Curves, Caruso once again hit the wall, but this time it was catastrophic. Whether Job or another car behind made contact was not clear, but what was clear was that Caruso was going to score minimal points.
Up front, Harth took Bico and Collins three-wide down the final long straight. Harth got a perfect shove from Sánchez behind as the pair cleared the others and took control. Harth managed to hang on for his first career victory in the series.
PESC: LE MANS FEATURE RACE TOP 10 RESULTS
|FIN||STA||CAR #||DRIVER||TEAM||INTERVAL||PTS||TOTAL PTS|
|1||1||90||Yohann Harth||Stormforce Racing ART||6 LAPS||50||63|
|2||6||47||Alejandro Sánchez||Stormforce Racing ART||+0.184 sec||45||73|
|3||4||93||Charlie Collins||VRS Coanda Esports||+1.214 sec||40||56|
|4||3||77||Alessandro Bico||Williams Esports||+1.517 sec||37||54|
|5||5||15||Zac Campbell||VRS Coanda Esports||+1.848 sec||34||56|
|6||9||4||Salva Talens||Stormforce Racing ART||+2.551 sec||31||43|
|7||7||1||Diogo C. Pinto||Team Redline||+2.664 sec||28||60|
|8||8||22||Sebastian Job||Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports||+4.383 sec||26||57|
|9||14||92||Mathias Stokbæk Jensen||FYRA SimSport||+4.665 sec||24||31|
|10||25||3||Kevin Nielsen||FYRA SimSport||+4.984 sec||22||22|
POINTS STANDINGS LEAVING LE MANS
Following penalties levied on certain drivers, the points situation is clear. Jordan Caruso needs to score 49 points to ensure the championship in two weeks at Monza. If he doesn’t he needs to hope either Zac Campbell doesn’t score 38 more points than him, or Sebastian Job 41 more points.
Alejandro Sanchez has had a career season, and he has an outside shot at the title at 73 points behind. The maximum points in a race, by scoring the pole and winning both races, is 85 points. Sánchez would be a lot closer if not for 55 points in penalties removed.
As for the rest of the field, their championship hopes are done and dusted. Collins, Pinto, Bico and Harth are all locks into the 2024 season and will avoid relegation. Cooper Webster (Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports) should be safe as well. The rest of the field, for the most part, will be doing what they can to avoid relegation.
PESC: POINTS AFTER EVENT #9 – LE MANS
|POS||CAR #||DRIVER||TEAM||SP. WINS||FT. WINS||T5s||TOTAL PTS|
|1||12||Jordan Caruso||Altus Esports||1||1||10||464*|
|2||15||Zac Campbell||VRS Coanda Esports||1||2||11||427|
|3||22||Sebastian Job||Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports||1||1||9||423*|
|4||47||Alejandro Sánchez||Stormforce Racing ART||2||0||10||391*|
|5||93||Charlie Collins||VRS Coanda Esports||0||1||8||358*|
|5||1||Diogo C. Pinto||Team Redline||1||1||8||358*|
|7||77||Alessandro Bico||Williams Esports||1||1||5||325*|
|8||90||Yohann Harth||Stormforce Racing ART||0||1||5||320*|
|9||37||Cooper Webster||Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports||0||0||4||248|
|10||69||Moreno Sirica||Williams Esports||0||0||0||227*|
UP NEXT: MONZA FINALE
The Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup will conclude the 2023 season with another finale battle at Autodromo Nazionale Monza. The Temple of Speed will host the championship where Caruso, Campbell, Job or Sánchez could be crowned.
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|
|10||3-Jun||Autodromo Nazionale Monza||7||14|