Eve 2022 24 Hours of Spa, currently Alpine Esports Champion British GT race winner James Baldwin won the Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series at Spa-Francorchamps.
The Championship – the real competition for the SRO GT World Challenge Europe drivers Assetto Corsa Competizione Simulated races over event weekends – saw victories for Tommaso Mosca And the Neil Verhagen So far this season.
Round three was held at the Belgian race venue, thanks to Baldwin’s entry to 24 Hours Garage 59, the former winner of the world’s fastest player was able to enter the GT Pro series as a one-off special. He bolstered his sim racing credentials with a 1st place by 0.9sec.
Second on the grid was Row Racing’s Max Hess, ahead of Beechdean AMR driver Nicki Thiim and Audi Sport Team Tresor newcomer Luca Ghiotto in fourth.
When the 60-minute race got off to a staggered start, Baldwin executed a perfect ranch and vanished at sunset with a harmonious fit. Fastest to qualify, drives every lap, wins the race. Set and match game.
But drama ensued behind it.
Tim moved for second on Hess, coming to Les Fagnes on the first lap to secure second place. Meanwhile, Mosca was attacked in sixth by Audi driver Alex Aka, pushing Mercedes-AMG away.
Then Lorenzo, son of six-time Formula 1 winner Ricardo Patrese, braked too late for the final catch, mowing down Rafael Marcello as his father watched anxiously in the crowd. Fortunately, no damage was done, and both continued uninterrupted.
Ezequiel Pérez Companc wasn’t so lucky, audibly frustrated inside the Fanatec Arena after he got involved in a second lap clash and retired.
Hess will start to fall off the field after a strong qualifying session. He initially relinquished his position to Niklas Nielsen and then Giotto. Then the latter snatched Ferrari to finish third moments later.
Mosca was trapped in charge after the agonizing opening segment but stretched into retirement in an attempt to pass Hess at Blanchemont.
As the halfway point approached, Aka attempted to take Hess around outside of Les Combes, only to run wide and through the replay. The only problem is that Hess also missed at the same time and lost an extra position to Daniel Murad. It was difficult to judge whether fairness should be carried out, but attitudes remained albeit Arca now with a five-second penalty.
After completing the stops, Baldwin stayed ahead of Theme, with Nielsen back on the Iron Linux podium.
With time, with less than 10 minutes remaining, Dries Vanthoor made a move for Patrice in seventh, but dropped to 12th on the last lap.
The gap between Baldwin in first and Thiem in second was more than 15 seconds, the reward was 6000 euros and five points for the team championship in the real world standings.
“In qualifying, I did a lap that I was very happy with,” the winner Baldwin told Traxion.GG after the race.
“The race itself, in terms of performance, was probably not my best, but I just wanted to take it home.
“I was able to build a hole in Nicki Thiim, he was really fast, but I think my tire management was a little better.”
Baldwin now starts the 24 Hours race in a McLaren, starting from 26th on the grid and fifth in the Silver Cup class.
Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series, Spa, Results
- James Baldwin – Silver – McLaren 720S GT3 Garage 59-25 laps
- Nikki Theme – Pro – Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 Bichden AMR +15.181
- Niklas Nielsen – PRO – Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo Iron Linux +33.344.0000
- Luca Ghiotto – Pro – Audi R8 LMS Evo II GT3 Audi Sport Team Tresor +35.364
- Max Hess – PRO – BMW M4 GT3 Rowe Racing +50.604
- Alex Aka – Silver – Audi R8 LMS Evo II GT3 Attempto Racing +59.214.7
- Lorenzo Patrice – Silver – Audi R8 LMS Evo II GT3 Tresor by Car Collection +1: 03.699
- Jannes Fittje – Silver – Team Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo Haupt Racing +1: 21.816
- Daniel Murad – Silver – Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo Al Manar Racing by HRT +1: 22.643
- Jean Baptiste Seminauer – Silver – Audi R8 LMS Evo II GT3 Team WRT +1: 28.166