A collection of Porsche 992 GT3 Cup cars on iRacing between turns 1 and 2 on Hockenheim.

Pinto and Campbell share PESC opener wins


Did you miss the first round of the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup on iRacing last Saturday? Here are the results and standings after the PESC season opener at Hockenheim.

Image credit: Porsche

After concluding the 2022 season in June, the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup got underway once again on iRacing‘s build of Hockenheim. The drivers wasted absolutely no time getting their elbows out, as they aim to stamp their authority and get the biggest slice of the $200,000 prize pool.

Here’s a recap of all the action from the first round of PESC.

Pinto Begins Title Defence

In the hyperpole-style single lap qualifying, the first pole position of the year went the way of Altus Esports’ Jordan Caruso, earning the first TAG Heuer Pole Award. The driver come season end with the most pole positions will earn themselves a TAG Heuer brand watch.

Reigning champion Diogo Pinto was just over a tenth and a half off and was in turn ahead of Charlie Collins and Alejandro Sánchez. 2020 series champion Sebastian Job could only manage fifth, despite being the driver last year with the most poles. Job took half of the poles in 2022, with Pinto and former PESC racer Dayne Warren managing only two apiece.

At the start, it wasn’t long before Caruso’s lead was usurped after he ran wide at the hairpin. Pinto and Collins took advantage and proceeded to squabble. The Coanda driver sent it down the inside at the stadium hairpin, forcing Pinto wide and allowed Job to get alongside Collins.

They went over the line completely neck and neck, which really set the tone for the race as a whole. The way the drivers battled, you would have thought it was the last lap of the last race, but it was the first lap of the first race! Then Pinto passed the pair of them in the space of two corners.

With the hard racing came the inevitable collisions. In a series as hard-fought as PESC, even the first round of the season seemed excessive in terms of incidents.

In any case, once Pinto got the lead back on lap two, he never looked back and took the first Sprint Race win of the season.

Sprint Race Result:

1. Diogo Pinto (PRT, Team Redline)
2. Charlie Collins (GBR, VRS Coanda) +0.382
3. Jordan Caruso (AUS, Altus Esports) +2.043
4. Alejandro Sánchez (ESP, Stormforce Racing ART) +2.683
5. Sebastian Job (GBR, Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports) +2.948

Campbell Avoids Trouble

For the Main Race, the finishing order of the Sprint is taken with the top eight inverted. That put series debutant and PESC Qualifying Series champion Lasse Bak of FYRA SimSport on pole ahead of Williams’ Alessandro Bico and 2022 PESC title challenger Zac Campbell.

Unfortunately, the opening lap of the Main Race made the incidents in the Sprint Race look tame. A massive pileup took place at the hairpin, with close to half of the field involved. In the midst of the commotion, Job had passed Campbell and was sitting in third.

After punting Bico wide at the hairpin on lap three, the Red Bull racer set about trying to pass race leader Bak. They ran alongside heading through the stadium section, Job locked up and was passed by Campbell, Caruso and Bico. The latter two were already side by side and there was no space for Job who clipped the back of Bico and took to the gravel.

Job’s race didn’t improve, as he became one of a number of drivers who accumulated too many in-game warnings and had to take a drive-through penalty.

After making it past Bak at the second corner on lap 4, Zac Campbell set about making the most of the clean air. Meanwhile, his teammate Charlie Collins after getting second in the Sprint was making moves. He started seventh as a result of the top eight invert, but got up to second and closed the gap to Campbell quite significantly after getting into second with five laps to go.

But it wasn’t enough and with that, Zac Campbell took the first Main Race win of the year.

Main Race Result:

1. Zac Campbell (USA, VRS Coanda)
2. Charlie Collins (GBR, VRS Coanda) +0.518
3. Alessandro Bico (ITA, Williams Esports) +1.266
4. Jordan Caruso (AUS, Altus Esports) +1.726
5. Diogo Pinto (PRT, Team Redline) +4.413

As a result of the double second place finishes, Charlie Collins leads the championship from Jordan Caruso and Diogo Pinto both tied and six points behind. Sebastian Job’s torrid main race leaves him on the back foot, only on 24 points.

Supercup Standings:

1. Charlie Collins (GBR, VRS Coanda) – 73
2. Jordan Caruso (AUS, Altus Esports) – 67
3. Diogo Pinto (PRT, Team Redline) – 67
4. Zac Campbell (USA, VRS Coanda) – 65
5. Alessandro Bico (ITA, Williams Esports) – 54

All Stars Provide Action

It wasn’t just the pro drivers in the Supercup racing, it was also the opening round of the Porsche Esports All Stars. In this series, some of the most prevalent sim racing streamers and content creators as well as the odd real world racing driver compete on the undercard to the Supercup.

This year, the drivers will race the same 992 GT3 Cup as the Supercup drivers in the first three rounds. From rounds 4 to 6, they’ll switch over to the 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport and then to 911 RSR from the LMGTE category for rounds 7 to 9. The finale will see the competitors tackle Monza in the all-electric Mission R.

But who was competing?

In terms of sim racing streamers and content creators, the usual names were present like Jardier, Dan Suzuki, Matt Malone and the two Porsche All Stars champions like Quirkitized and our own Emily Jones. There were a couple of newbies to the series as well though.

After competing in a few rounds back in 2021 and even winning some races, DaveCam was back in the series. Lyubov Ozeretskovskaya aka LoveFortySix made her debut, as did Basic Ollie. Along with the streamers and content creators, there was also eNASCAR champion Casey Kirwan who competed last season and was a prevalent double race winner, and also Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan.

In qualifying, it was little surprise to nobody that Kirwan was on pole by almost half a second. Kanaan was behind him, and less than half a tenth back was LoveFortySix.

In the first race, Kirwan didn’t have it all his own way at first with Kanaan shodowing him. He managed to break away and eventually take the win whilst the chasing pack behind got caught up in incidents, champions Emree and Quirkitized came together which sent them down the order.

This though would help them start towards the front for the longer second race, as unlike in the Supercup, the entire finishing order is inverted which put race winner Kirwan at the very back. In the second race, debutant Basic Ollie was hugely impressive.

For the entire race once he took the lead, he held off both Emree and Jardier and looked set to take an incredible win. Unfortunately on the last lap, Emree tried a move at the hairpin which went wrong and allowed Jardier to pass them and pick up the spoils. Kirwan made his way through the field to just come up short of a podium.

Nevertheless, Basic Ollie impressed everyone on his All Stars debut and came away with the Driver of the Day award.

In terms of the standings, Kirwan is so far the runaway leader with a sizeable 14 points over Kanaan. After not competing the full season of Porsche Esports All Stars last year, he still ended up fourth overall only 105 points behind champion Tyson ‘Quirkitized’ Meier.

If he’s doing the full season, perhaps it’s fair to say we may as well award him the championship now. But can Quirk, Emree, Jardier or even Basic Ollie give him some trouble?

All Star Standings:

1. Casey Kirwan (USA) – 43
2. Tony Kanaan (BRA) – 29
3. Jaroslav ‘Jardier’ Honzik (CZE) – 27
4. Oliver ‘Basic Ollie’ Furnell (GBR) – 23
5. Emily ‘Emree’ Jones (AUS) – 21

New Track, Same Action

The next round of the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup takes place on 18 February and will be on the former French Grand Prix venue Magny-Cours. The circuit is a new addition to iRacing and it will be interesting to see if the track will provide the same level of intense racing as Hockenheim.

All the action can be seen on Porsche’s YouTube and Twitch channels starting at 7pm CET. To rewatch all the action from the first round, the entire stream is available below.

Who impressed you the most in the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!

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