The Gran Turismo World Series Showdown event in Amsterdam saw the Manufacturers Cup won by Porsche and Spain taking the Nations Cup win, with Jose Serrano doing the double!
Gran Turismo live racing returned for the first time since November’s World Finals as drivers competed in Amsterdam. 12 teams of three across both the Manufacturers Cup and Nations Cup would do battle in one long haul race, with each driver having to perform a minimum stint time.
Here’s how the action went down in both the Manufacturers Cup and Nations Cup competitions in the Gran Turismo World Series Showdown.
Porsche’s Stunning Comeback
Qualifying for the Manufacturers Cup took place at the Suzuka circuit and Toyota was among the favourites. But they suffered a torrid initial qualifying. Subaru just made it into the top six qualifier by the skin of their teeth. Here, all teams would run a single lap to set positions 1-6 on the grid.
Subaru topped the session for the most part, but then BMW’s Thomas Labouteley performed an incredible lap to steal the pole at the death by more than four tenths of a second! With rain scheduled for the race though, it was not going to be a straightforward affair for any team.
At the start, Subaru’s Takuma Miyazono took the Medium tyres in the hopes of quickly passing the Hard tyre-starting BMW. He did so when the BMW ran wide at Degner 2, and from that point on, everything pointed towards Subaru running away with it.
Whilst Miyazono set about making as much of a lead as he could, chaos ensued behind. Plenty of over-the-line aggressive racing from the drivers giving chase. That advantage only got bigger when the rain arrived.
Subaru pitted when the surface became slippery towards Spoon Curve. Despite the teams behind catching up dramatically on the rest of the track, it all came undone for them when they hit the standing water. After they all pitted, Subaru’s closest on track rival was Lamborghini. They sat around 20 seconds behind despite pitting for intermediates around the same time.
Everything seemed done and dusted. When the track dried up, Subaru went for the Hard tyres to satisfy the regulations. Lamborghini made huge inroads during the rain with a star performance by Randall Haywood. But after the second round of stops, they were still trailing by 13 seconds.
Not only that, but Porsche trailed Lamborghini by 18 seconds. With nine laps left, any rational-thinking person would assume Subaru had this in the bag. But one thing they didn’t count on was Jose Serrano.
The Spaniard was double stinting, taking over from Takuma Sasaki who began the race. They were the only team competing as a duo due to Angel Inostroza having to withdraw. The Nations Cup vice-champion sustained an ankle injury in a road traffic collision, but is on his way to recovery. He is expected to return for the World Finals in December.
Serrano began making massive inroads on the Lamborghini ahead. It only took three laps to eliminate that 18-second deficit, a rate of six seconds per lap! Better yet, the two teams were running the same compound of tyre. So Subaru on the less grippy tyres another 12 seconds up the road were surely nervous.
So it proved to be. In just four laps, Porsche were on the back of Subaru. They made the overtake around the outside of the hairpin with two laps remaining and pulled a six-second advantage by the end. Truly one of the greatest surprise comebacks in Gran Turismo live event history.
Manufacturers Cup result:
1. Porsche (Jose Serrano, Takuma Sasaki, Angel Inostroza*)
2. Subaru (Kylian Drumont, Takuma Miyazono, Roberto Sternberg) +6.385
3. Lamborghini (Randall Haywood, Will Murdoch, Yuki Kodaka) +10.682
* – Inostroza withdrew due to injury
If the Manufacturers Cup result was a surprise, the Nations Cup did the same for a vastly different reason. In initial qualifying, the drivers took to Grand Valley Highway in Ferrari VGT cars. This not only decided their grid position for the qualifying race on the same track, but also what car they would use.
France got the best time so had first pickings, with the cars of choice being performance road cars. The qualifying race was a straightforward affair for France, winning by a sizeable margin. Netherlands’ Kai De Bruin gave the home crowd plenty to shout about. The local hero went from eighth to fifth, holding off neighbouring Belgium towards the end.
Spain benefitted from a slow down that Italy incurred on the last lap. They finished second, Italy was third and Japan ended up fourth courtesy of debutant, Rikuto Kobayashi.
For the Main Race, the signature X2019 Competition cars were brought out and it would be on the full Maggiore circuit. The teams went from just the one driver to all three, and France’s Thomas Labouteley took the start on Medium tyres. Spain rather interestingly elected to start on the Soft tyres, with relative newcomer Pol Urra taking the start.
Alongside Urra as part of Team Spain was the previous day’s Manufacturers Cup winner Jose Serrano and reigning Nations Cup champion Coque López. The trio were banking on Urra doing what Miyazono did the previous day, getting the lead early and building a gap. But as was proved the previous day, going on the softest compound early runs the risk of being vulnerable towards the end.
At the start, Urra wasted no time muscling himself into the lead. By the time second placed France pitted, they tailed by over 16 seconds and things wouldn’t get better for them. Labouteley handed it over to Baptiste Beauvois, whose stint was marred with driver errors.
With France’s chances all but over, the next big threat to Spain was Japan. They ran the Hard tyres in their second stint and Kobayashi took over with eleven laps to go on the Soft tyres. López performed the Medium tyre stint for Spain and with eight laps from the end, handed it over to Serrano with Hard tyres.
López had planned to run the Hard tyre stint claiming Urra and Serrano were much quicker, despite being reigning champion. But López struggled on the Hards during practice, so Serrano elected to take them. Urra and López developed quite the buffer for Serrano, with him exiting the pits over 25 seconds ahead of Canada.
Japan on the Soft tyres quickly cut down the eight second deficit to the Hard-tyre running Canada. But there were no other worldly-levels of deficit reducing to the leader like the previous day. Kobayashi could only cut down the gap by nine seconds, which wasn’t enough. Spain subverted all expectations, acing the alternate strategy to take a dominant victory.
Brazil followed Spain and Japan, with their middle stint on the Medium tyres by 2018 Nations Cup champion Igor Fraga proving crucial. The Super Formula Lights racer performed some incredible overtakes on Italy and France before handing it over to 2020 Americas Regional Final champion Adriano Carrazza.
Nations Cup result:
1. Spain (Pol Urra, Coque López, Jose Serrano)
2. Japan (Rikuto Kobayashi, Takuma Sasaki, Seiya Suzuki) +6.385
3. Brazil (Igor Fraga, Adriano Carrazza, Lucas Bonelli) +10.682
Barcelona World Finals
During the Manufacturers Cup broadcast, the location for the World Finals was announced. For the first time since the series’ inception, the World Finals live event will not take place in Monaco. Instead, the competitors will head to Barcelona, Spain.
With a dominant win in the Gran Turismo Showdown Nations Cup, López could become the first ever two-time Nations Cup champion if they repeat their performance in front of an adoring home crowd. As for the Manufacturers Cup, that has been dominated by Toyota-affiliated brands.
Lexus in 2018, Toyota in 2019 and 2021, and Subaru in 2020 and 2022. Can Porsche be the first non-Japanese marque to win it? Furthermore, can Jose Serrano do the double again when it matters?
The Gran Turismo World Finals will take place 1-3 December, with the first day playing host to the Toyota Gazoo Racing GT Cup Final. To re-watch all the racing from the World Series Showdown, the Manufacturers Cup and Nations Cup are both available to watch on YouTube.
Also, if you followed the action through the Viewers Campaign tab on Gran Turismo 7, log in now to claim a 6-star engine swap roulette ticket and Toyota Ambulance Himedic. If you didn’t do this, don’t worry! They will still be gifted to you on 21 August.
Along with that, watch how our very own Marvin Miller got on in the Pro-AM Semi Final B race.
What did you make of the Gran Turismo World Series Showdown in Amsterdam? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!