GT Rivals Esports Invitational returned to action visiting the popular Italian raceway - Misano World Circuit - for Round 2. Utilizing Assetto Corsa Competizione, the official game of GT World Challenge powered by AWS, thirty-three real world pros and sim racers from the Champion Motorsports sim racing league took to the racetrack for a 60-minute feature race.
After first lap mayhem at Laguna Seca took out many contenders in Round 1, Josh Staffin in his Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo led the field to the green flag into the tight first set of turns at Misano. Laguna Seca winner Bryan Heitkotter slotted into the second position in his Nissan GT-R GT3, keeping pressure on Staffin for the lead for over half of the race.
Kenton Koch in the BSPort Racing Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT3 stayed in the fight, gaining on the lead duo as they navigated through traffic. A slight miscue with lapped traffic resulted in avoidable contact for Koch and a drive-thru penalty was given. Unfortunately it would get worse for Koch, being disqualified after not serving his DT penalty, unknowingly to him.
Heitkotter would push too far, clipping the big track limit curbs in Turn 6 that turned his Nissan GT-R GT3 into the inside wall. Damage limited his racecars performance as he dropped down the field trying to salvage a decent position.
Kevin Boehm in the CrowdStrike Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 cruised to a second-place finish after a strong qualifying and good pace in the race. He wouldn’t be able to contest Staffin, but drove smart and had a comfortable margin over third-place finisher Takis Weekes in another Nissan GT-R GT3. Weekes inherited the last podium position after sim racer Don Bélanger received a post-race penalty for track limit infractions.
Dirk Groeneveld who had an eventful race, showed great pace but ran into a few incidents limiting him to finish fourth. Bryan Heikotter was able to hang on for a Top 5 finish in his damaged Nissan.
A trio of Honda NSX GT3 Evos finished in the 6th - 9th position, with Karl Wittmer recovering from an early drive-thru penalty over Racers Edge driver Shelby Blackstock, and Tom O’Gorman. Nikko Reger drove the first Italian car across the line to finish ninth in the Ferrari 488 GT3 with Don Bélanger listed in the tenth position after his post-race penalty.
Battles throughout the field made for more great racing in Assetto Corsa Competizione. As our real world pros begin to come to grips with the racing sim, we expect to see even closer racing in the next round.
GT Rivals Esports Invitational returns to action on Sunday, April 26th from the south of France at Paul Ricard. Tune-in on Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook for all the action.
The SRO America GT Rivals Esports Invitational is in partnership with ASUS Republic of Gamers, ASUS TUF Gaming, Fanatec, Sim-Lab, Champion Motorsports, and SYM TV. Along with series partners AWS, CrowdStrike, Pirelli, Rebellion Timepieces, Total, Optima, Skip Barber, and 5.11.