29 September 2023
A host of championships to be decided during historic SRO Esports weekend in Barcelona
- Fanatec Arena to host twin championship showdowns for the first time in Spain
- Competitive action at Barcelona starts with the Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series on Friday, where all three class crowns are up for grabs
- Finale of the inaugural SRO Esports SIM Pro Series Powered by RAFA Racing Club takes centre stage on Saturday where it’s Mercedes-AMG vs Lamborghini vs Ferrari vs BMW for the title
SRO Esports is set for its biggest ever live-action weekend at the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya as, for the first time ever, two different championships will crown their victors within the Fanatec Arena.
Built at the heart of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS paddock, the Fanatec Arena brings Esports competition as close to real-world sportscar racing as possible. This weekend it will host season finales featuring both the world’s leading real-life GT3 drivers and the cream of professional sim racing.
The weekend’s competitive action gets underway with the GT Pro Series on Friday, where all three class championships are still on the line – along with a healthy dose of points towards the real-life Fanatec GT Teams’ Championship and some big cash prizes.
The finale of the inaugural SRO Esports SIM Pro Series Powered by RAFA Racing Club follows on Saturday, where the best professional sim racers will go head-to-head to decide which team will make history by being crowned as the best of the best.
All three GT Pro titles on the line, but Rutronik on the brink
In the white-hot atmosphere of the Fanatec Arena trying to keep your cool is perhaps the biggest factor for success, and Rutronik Racing’s Laurin Heinrich has done that better than most this year.
While all three class titles remain undecided heading into the Barcelona showdown, Heinrich is the sole driver to enjoy an advantage of more than a few points over his rivals, courtesy of a win and two second places. Rutronik sits four points clear at the top of the Pro standings, putting Heinrich in pole position to wrap up the crown as he just needs to outscore K-Pax Racing’s Lamborghini by a single point. But that could be a big ask, given that Sandy Mitchell was the form man last time out at the Nürburgring, giving K-Pax its first outright victory. That does however mean that he’ll carry the maximum success ballast in Spain.
Dinamic GT runs third in the points thanks to Ayhancan Güven, but even a win here would only be good enough to tie him with Rutronik, with Heinrich boasting the better scores on countback.
Things are far more open in both the Gold and Silver classes, where the leaders are separated by just two points in each.
The combination of Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer and Calan Williams has been a winning one for Team WRT, which leads the way in Gold, with the BMW squad just ahead of Winward Racing’s Mercedes-AMG. Team WRT calls on Williams again this weekend, with Winward sticking with Marius Zug for what promises to be a cagey contest.
The Silver showdown perhaps promises to be the most fraught, with Boutsen VDS up against Madpanda Motorsport. Madpanda’s Alexey Nesov has arguably been the fastest driver of all in the Arena this season, being the only person to register two outright wins. However, trouble around those wins means he trails the Boutsen VDS Audi so far shared by Roee Meyuhas and Cesar Gazeau by two points. Without the full success ballast in Spain, expect the Madpanda Mercedes-AMG to come out fighting, and the pressure will be on Boutsen VDS driver Gazeau to respond. Only a win will be good enough to keep reigning Silver champion Alex Aka in the title hunt, and even then the Tresor Attempto Audi needs both Madpanda and Boutsen VDS to hit trouble.
The Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series finale will be streamed live via the GT World YouTube channel on Friday, September 29.
Unicorns of Love leads the way in SIM Pro, but only just…
When we talk about wide-open championship finales, this year’s SRO Esports SIM Pro Series Powered by RAFA Racing Club’s decider is going to take some beating.
The inaugural championship has enjoyed three different race winners from the four rounds so far, and any of the top nine teams could still mathematically land the title in the final race of the season.
The combined efforts of Tobias Gronewald and Bastian Richter has put Mercedes-AMG Esports Team Unicorn of Love in the most favourable position, with the team holding a slender seven-point advantage.
However, David Tonizza has been a man on a mission lately. Having become the only two-time winner this year last time out at the Nürburgring, Tonizza moved the Automobili Lamborghini Esports Team into striking distance, and has the momentum heading to Spain.
Williams Esports sits third thanks to Dominik Blajer, whose run of finishing inside the top four on every outing was ended by a series of clashes in Germany, meaning the pressure is on him to bounce back.
It’s been a mixed year for the Scuderia Ferrari Esports Team, with both Jordan Sherratt and Chris Harteveld showing flashes of pace. However, some bad luck for Sherratt means he’s well out of contention, but that does free him up to assist his team-mate, with Harteveld tied for third in the points. Some team tactics came into play in Germany, helping Harteveld onto the podium, and that could be a factor again this weekend.
Mercedes-AMG Team Williams Esports is just a point further back thanks to the efforts of their Tinko van der Velde/Dáire McCormack/Dennis Schöniger trio, while Tobias Pfeffer’s already been an overall winner this term in the Team HRT by UOL Mercedes-AMG… now would be an ideal time for a repeat performance from the winner of the very first SIM Pro event in Monza.
Those with an outside chance of the crown include the twin BMW M Team BS+Competition M4s, which sit seventh and eighth in the points, but both realistically need big trouble for those ahead. The last team still in contention is Flash Axle Esports, thanks to Ar Muhammad Aleef’s fine efforts. Commuting from Singapore for every round, the team’s Ferrari is always one to watch, even if it holds the longest odds of any to snatch the championship.
The finale of the SRO Esports SIM Pro Series Powered by RAFA Racing Club will be streamed live via the GT World YouTube channel on Satuday, September 30.