SRO GT World Challenge Esports series returns for 2022, test drives up for grabs

Ross McGregor

The SRO Motorsports Group has announced that its flagship range of esports events will return this year, again using Kunos Simulazioni’s superlative GT3 simulator Assetto Corsa Competizione.

This time, however, the regional Endurance categories have been consolidated into a single, larger series named the Intercontinental GT Challenge Esports (IGTC Esports).

Eligibility and Pro drivers

Series organisers have adopted the real-life championship’s rule in that two separate classes will compete against each other in the same race – Pro and Silver.

The regional Sprint championships – Europe, Asia and America – will remain this year, and still consist of 60-minute races in which competitors are obliged to pit at least once.

A list of Pro drivers eligible for this series has already been published, including professional esports athletes like defending European Sprint Series champion James Baldwin, VRS Coanda Simsport’s Josh Rogers, Team Redline’s Kevin Siggy and Ferrari Driver Academy-backed drivers David Tonizza and Brendon Leigh.

This isn’t an entry list, but a collation of qualified drivers to this point. Teams can change their Pro drivers when the racing begins.

Drivers have been assigned to the Pro category if they scored more than 25 points in last year’s SRO European Esports series – or those who scored 15 points in the Asian or American variants. Those who failed to score this amount have been declared as Silver drivers by default.

For the regional and international competitions, manufacturers can nominate drivers for two of their Pro cars, with any available spaces filled via a hot stint qualifying session for the remaining Pros.

To determine the Silver class line-ups, three drivers from each prospective team must run qualifying laps around three tracks, with the aim of setting the fastest average time. The top 24 teams then qualify for the Silver class.

Real-world test drive and €120,000 prize pool

In a shakeup to the distribution of prizes, more drivers than ever will be eligible for rewards across both classes, with a prize pool of €120,000 in cash mooted, and extra bonuses for those who finish in the top 10.

The IGTC prize pool for the Pro class is set at €35,000 cash, with a further €8,000 in products and prizes, with the Silver class receiving €15,000 cash and €4,000 in products and prizes.

Those in the European regional Sprint series Pro category stand to compete for €10,000 in cash and €5,000 in prizes, with Silver drivers racing for €5,000 cash and €3,000 in product value.

The Asian and American regional Sprint Series lack a cash fund, but products and prizes equate to €12,500 and €5,000 for Pro and Silver categories respectively.

Prizes include Fanatec and AK Informatica products, VIP Hospitality for undisclosed events, but most intriguingly of all, driver tests for as-yet-to-be-determined teams.

Information on this prize, in particular, will be keenly followed by all those involved in SRO’s Esports fare, and the fact it will be open to top ten finishers and not just championship winners provides a huge incentive to competitors.

New Balance of Performance process

As a welcome addition to the format, organisers have partially made the Balance of Performance (BoP) process more transparent, after a few teams expressed concerns over the way weight penalties were distributed previously.

As has been proposed, drivers can test other cars on request, but whether this means more detailed BoP information will be made public remains to be seen.

Qualifying dates

Silver Cup qualifying for the regional Sprint series commences 21st February, with Intercontinental GT Challenge (IGTC) Esports qualifying beginning a week later on the 28th February.

For Pro drivers, Sprint qualifying starts on 14th March, with IGTC from 21st March 2022.

SRO Esports 2022 calendar

SRO Esports 2022 entry fees

Intercontinental GT Challenge Esports 2022

  • Pro – €1,000 per team
  • Silver – €500 per team

GT World Challenge Esports 2022 Europe Sprint Series

  • Pro – €250 per driver
  • Silver – €100 per driver

GT World Challenge Esports 2022 Asia and America Sprint Series

  • Pro – Free
  • Silver – Free

SRO Esports 2022 Calendars

GT World Challenge Esports Sprint Series – Europe 2022 calendar

  • Round 1 – Misano – 6th April
  • Round 2 – Zandvoort – 4th May
  • Round 3 – Nürburgring – 8th June
  • Round 4 – Hungaroring – 6th July
  • Round 5 – Monza – 3rd August

GT World Challenge Esports Sprint Series – Asia 2022 calendar

  • Round 1 – Barcelona – 13th April
  • Round 2 – Imola – 11th May
  • Round 3 – Bathurst – 15th June
  • Round 4 – Zolder – 13th July
  • Round 5 – Suzuka – 24th August

GT World Challenge Esports Sprint Series – America 2022 calendar

  • Round 1 – Zolder – 23rd April
  • Round 2 – Silverstone – 28th May
  • Round 3 – Kyalami – 25th June
  • Round 4 – Donington Park – 9th July
  • Round 5 – Laguna Seca – 13th August

Intercontinental GT Challenge Esports 2022 calendar

  • Round 1 – Bathurst 12 Hours – 21st May 
  • Round 2 – Indy 8HR – 16th July 
  • Round 3 – Suzuka 10 Hours – 27th August 
  • Round 4 – The Kyalami 9 Hours – 10th September
  • Round 5 – 24 Hours of Spa – 22nd October
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