Baldwin wins GT World Challenge Europe Esports Sprint Series

McLaren Shadow driver and reigning British GT Esports champion James Baldwin has won the GT World Challenge Europe Esports Sprint Series ahead of Ferrari's David Tonizza.

Baldwin wins GT World Challenge Europe Esports Sprint Series

The final and deciding round of the GTWC Europe Esports Sprint Series was from Spa-Francorchamps, and the main plotline was the battle for the championship between McLaren Shadow’s James Baldwin and Ferrari Driving Academy’s (FDA) David Tonizza.

The SRO Sprint and Endurance Esports series have been a huge success this year with high-quality broadcasts of some of the finest sim racers on the planet, representing leading real and virtual motorsport teams such as Williams Esports, YAS HEAT, Jota, VRS Coanda Simsport, Team Redline and Rocket Simsport.

 

Separated by two points after round nine at Barcelona, it was first blood to Tonizza, as he qualified three positions ahead of Baldwin in 11th place. With Tonizza’s teammate – Giovanni De Salvo – qualifying eighth, the advantage surely lay with the Ferrari pilot as the race got underway.

However, with Tonizza sitting in seventh and Baldwin 12th, the Italian driver was hit with a 10s penalty for making contact with the Porsche of Maciej Malinowski on the opening lap. With Baldwin stuck behind De Salvo, and the gap to Tonizza increasing gradually, the McLaren Shadow driver made his mandatory stop as the pit window opened, hoping to undercut De Salvo and gain track position.

Unfortunately for Baldwin, De Salvo increased his advantage slightly, but both were now ahead of Tonizza after he served his 10s penalty – a crucial development in the championship race.

Out front was GTWR R8G Academy driver Niklas Houben, enjoying his best run to date in the Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo. He drove an excellent race after overtaking the pole-sitting Lamborghini of Jakob Ostermann during a tense exchange of positions. Ostermann’s challenge faded slightly, with the BMW M6 GT3s of teammates Nils Naujoks and Arthur Kammerer filling the void, working together for SIM Racing G2 Esports to try and catch Houben ahead.

Ultimately, the podium finished Houben, Kammerer, Naujoks; enough for Naujoks to secure third in the championship ahead of rivals Kevin Siggy and De Salvo. Naujoks packed in some strong results into the tail-end of his season, including a brace of victories, and carried this momentum through to the final round.

 

As for the championship battle, Tonizza was unable to bridge the four-second gap to Baldwin despite De Salvo’s sterling efforts keeping the McLaren Shadow driver behind, and Baldwin’s series win was cemented on the final lap after De Salvo and Gregor Schill made contact at Chicane, gifting Baldwin sixth place and confirming his position at the top of the standings.

It marks the second SRO Esports title for Baldwin this season, after his triumph in the British GT Esports Competition earlier this year.

Although Tonizza will perhaps rue the 10s penalty in this round, his two non-scores during the season were the deciding factor. Baldwin’s consistent placing made him the only driver in the championship to score in every event, finishing a mere eight points ahead of Tonizza in what was an exciting conclusion to the inaugural GT World Challenge Europe Esports Sprint Series.

 

GT World Challenge Europe Esports Sprint Series, Round 10 race results

  1. Niklas Houben, GTWR R8G Academy – 26 laps
  2. Arthur Kammerer, BMW SIM Racing G2 Esports +3.563
  3. Nils Naujoks, BMW SIM Racing G2 Esports +3.650
  4. Tobias Gronewald, Unicorns of Love +5.577
  5. Jakob Ostermann, GAADI Racing +8.955
  6. James Baldwin, McLaren Shadow +16.558
  7. Giovanni De Salvo, FDA Esports Team +16.925
  8. Gregor Schill, BMW SIM Racing G2 Esports +18.419
  9. David Tonizza, FDA Esports Team +20.114
  10. Maciej Malinowski, Random Pasta Bowl +24.397

GT World Challenge Europe Esports Sprint Series, championship standings

  1. James Baldwin, McLaren Shadow – 142pts
  2. David Tonizza, FDA Esports Team – 134pts
  3. Nils Naujoks, BMW SIM Racing G2 Esports – 92pts
  4. Kevin Siggy, Team Redline – 81pts
  5. Giovanni De Salvo, FDA Esports Team – 75pts
shares
comments
Le Mans Virtual Series: Team Redline and TESLA R8G win shortened Nürburgring race
Previous article

Le Mans Virtual Series: Team Redline and TESLA R8G win shortened Nürburgring race

Next article

​NASCAR Heat Ultimate Edition+ officially launches on Nintendo Switch

​NASCAR Heat Ultimate Edition+ officially launches on Nintendo Switch
Load comments
How an unlikely tie-up won sim racing's biggest prize Prime

How an unlikely tie-up won sim racing's biggest prize

An unlikely partnership between World Endurance Championship LMP1 privateers Rebellion Racing and Williams Formula 1's highly-successful sim racing team yielded victory in the inaugural 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual. Here's how it triumphed in the biggest sim race ever staged

Esports
Jun 15, 2020
How seriously should Esports be taken? Prime

How seriously should Esports be taken?

As interest in Esports has increased during the coronavirus lockdown, the lines have become blurred between what's real and what's virtual - especially when some high-profile participants seem to be playing for laughs, says Luke Smith

Esports
Jun 10, 2020
Why Abt's deception left Audi with no choice Prime

Why Abt's deception left Audi with no choice

Daniel Abt's suspension by the Audi Formula E team - and possible loss of his drive - for fielding a ringer in an Esports event could be considered an overreaction. But in a wider context, his employers had little other alternative

Esports
May 26, 2020
How Leclerc is embracing his new mission Prime

How Leclerc is embracing his new mission

The emergence of Ferrari F1 driver Charles Leclerc as a Twitch streaming star has been one of the pleasant surprises of lockdown so far. He says it is giving fans a greater insight into his nature, but that's not his primary purpose

Formula 1
Apr 23, 2020
Leclerc's Virtual GP annihilation deserves great credit Prime

Leclerc's Virtual GP annihilation deserves great credit

The introduction of Charles Leclerc, Alex Albon, George Russell and Antonio Giovinazzi to Formula 1's Virtual GP last weekend meant it was a step above the franchise's debut two weeks ago. But a dominant performance from Esports newcomer Leclerc stole the show

Esports
Apr 6, 2020
How the hidden side of being fast has been exposed Prime

How the hidden side of being fast has been exposed

The lack of real track action so far this year hasn't stop drivers from keeping their racing brains 'fresh', as former F1 star Stoffel Vandoorne suggested last weekend.

Esports
Apr 2, 2020
Why entertainment isn't Esports greatest virtue right now Prime

Why entertainment isn't Esports greatest virtue right now

MotoGP's virtual #StayAtHomeGP was a sad reminder of some of the storylines that could be unfolding had the real-life season not been delayed indefinitely by the coronavirus pandemic. While we can bemoan Esports as being a poor relation of the real thing, it has an even more important function to perform

MotoGP
Mar 30, 2020
F1’s pantomime Virtual GP is fun but unsustainable Prime

F1’s pantomime Virtual GP is fun but unsustainable

F1 Esports' inaugural Virtual Grand Prix last weekend provided brilliant entertainment to those tuning in to watch a mix of F1 drivers and celebrities battle on track, but was a missed opportunity for marketing its own Esports stars. A change of approach is needed if it is to successfully fill the void until the resumption of proper racing

Esports
Mar 24, 2020