The teams’ championship was decided after two days and an eight-hour finale event, with Porsche beating all comers
Heading into the title-deciding race at Spa-Francorchamps, it could have gone either way. The BMW-equipped Team Redline actually headed the points standings ahead of Porsche Coanda Esports Racing Team – but with both in the ‘finalist mode’, if any driver from either team could win the race, the title was theirs.
While Redline was undoubtedly the most consistent team with lightning-fast drivers, race wins have eluded them, not picking up a single top step of the rostrum all day.
If the top two teams fell over each other, the Audi-driving MOUZ team was next in line to meet the all-important status that allows for the overall victory, pegged at 150 points.
Heading into the eighth race of the day, it was Porsche’s Joshua Rogers who claimed pole position, looking to make up for missing out on the drivers’ title to MOUZ’s Maximilian Benecke two days prior.
The best of the Redline drivers was Enzo Bonito in third, with team-mate Kevin Siggy in fifth. Rogers’ squad member Mack Bakkum was a relatively lowly seventh.
At the seven-lap encounter began Rogers defended from R8G Esports’ Erhan Jajovski into La Source, successfully holding off the R8 LMS GT3.
However, as ever, the Kemmel Straight delivers a strong slipstream, the Audi driver was tucked right in behind the 911 GT3 R, and Bonito threatened just behind. Jajovski went around the outside of Rogers at Les Combes, as the pair then ran side-by-side through Malmedy before the former slipped through into the lead at Bruxelles.
One lap later, though, Rodgers replayed the same move, only this time getting ahead before the right-hander. A stunning final sector meant the Porsche driver eked out a 0.5s advantage, just enough to avoid the draft effect for those behind.
By the end of the third lap, that gap was one second – game set and match. Behind, Jajovski battled Bonito, much to the Italian’s irk, at times gesticulating in frustration.
Bonito would eventually make it through for second at Les Combe two laps later, but the damage was done, with Rogers 1.9s up the road by now. This was compounded when Jajovski made it back past on the sixth lap, and Rennsport-debutant and two-time Formula E Accelerate champion Frederik Rasmussen, driving for G2 Sim Racing, started to attack his brand colleague.
In the end, a dominant victory by Rogers helped his Porsche Coanda team and Dayne Warren, Mitchell DeJong and Bakkum team-mates to the Gamers8 title and $250,000.
“All the hard work we put in as a team, considering how Friday went, to be able to leave Sunday and go into season two of ESL R1 with this, I feel it’s the best way we can start it,” said Rogers.
“It’s such a huge team effort to get to this point,” said deJong.
“Sim racing is growing quite a bit, and to be on the big stage… It’s such a cool feeling to just be here… If you look at the big picture, it’s amazing to be in this situation.”
The day before, FaZe Clan, BMW M Team BS+Competition, Furia, Apex Racing Team, Heroic and Mercedes-AMG Team Williams Esports we knocked out of the competition, leaving six contenders on the last day of the event.
2020 Porsche Esports Supercup champion Sebastian Job took the first two race wind of the final day for G2 at Monza and Nürburgring respectively, but the team’s attack faded throughout proceedings.
MOUZ entered the fray with a one-two for Benecke and Patrik Holzmann in the fourth race, and the former would win once more in the next race.
Porsche Coanda pounced in the third race, with Warren winning and deJong on the podium in third and then repeating that same result in the sixth round, becoming the first team to enter finalist mode.
In comparison, Redline was subdued, but picking up solid results throughout. A podium for Kevin Siggy in the seventh race also triggered the crucial signifier.
Away from the singular Gamers8 event, the competitors will next take part in ESL R1’s Fall season, once again utilising the embryonic Rennsport platform, culminating at an in-person title decider at the DreamHack Winter event in Sweden this November.
ESL R1 Gamers8 2023 teams’ championship standings
- Porsche Coanda Esports Racing Team
- Team Redline
- G2 Esports
- MOUZ $50,000
- R8G Esports
- Mercedes-AMG Petronas