Over the British Grand Prix weekend, hopeful F1 Esports drivers competed in the Pro Exhibition’s evaluation races looking to get selected for the Pro Championship. Here are a few who really impressed us.
Image credit: F1 Esports
In the leadup to the 2022 F1 Esports Series Pro Championship season, there are many drivers looking to make an impression. The F1 Esports Pro Exhibition was held at Silverstone prior to the Grand Prix from 2-4 July.
The top drivers from all three platforms in F1 Esports Challengers, the winner of the Women’s Wildcard qualifier and the top players from each platform in the DHL Time Trial competition made up 26 drivers. They would compete in 25% distance races and five lap sprints, and a champion would be crowned.
So who were the drivers that came out of the event who had impressed the most? Three in particular stamped their authority.
The Dutch driver qualified for the event by setting the best times in the DHL Time Trial on Xbox. Having risen suddenly from relative anonymity, Ronhaar became a Veloce Esports academy driver in January. He has been making a real name for himself after winning the Xbox championship in World Online Racing.
Ronhaar ended up winning the Pro Exhibition and is certainly hot property amongst the teams. Being a Veloce-affiliated driver, the easy prediction is that he will go to one of the teams that Veloce Esports operate. Those being Alfa Romeo, McLaren and Mercedes.
However, there may not be any room. Out of those three, the most likely destination for Ronhaar is Alfa Romeo. They will be fielding a fully new lineup, and it seems that it will most likely consist of former Alpine driver Nicolas Longuet and PC Challengers champion Tomek Poradzisz. Regardless of where he ends up, we’re certain Ronhaar will be in the Pro Championship.
Not to be confused with the Autosport or Bungie writers of the same name, Smith earned his way into the competition by clocking the 3rd best lap-time in the DHL Time Trial qualifiers. It was identical to Ronhaar’s Xbox time, which shows how equally matched the drivers are across all platforms.
Smith is part of RaceClutch who operate Alpine’s F1 team. However, Alpine already have a full line-up. They have their 2021 driver Patrik Sipos, former Ferrari and Alfa Romeo driver Filip Prešnajder and PC Challengers 5th place finisher Samuel Bean.
If Smith is to be selected, we don’t know exactly which team it will be for. But winning the final race of the Pro Exhibition with an amazing move on Ronhaar and subsequently finishing runner-up will make him a real option for many teams.
Last but not least, we have DHL Time Trial PC 2nd place qualifier Jake Benham. The 16-year old wasn’t old enough to compete in Challengers but has been a hot prospect in the league racing scene for years. He’s a two-time WOR champion, winning on Xbox before moving to PC and winning that too against many top esports-level drivers.
Like Ronhaar, Benham is a part of Veloce. He joined in August 2021 along with PC Challengers 3rd place finisher in 2021 Nicolas Mateo and PlayStation Challengers champion Valentin Brüffer. Again, the most likely destination for Benham is one of the Veloce-affiliated teams.
Our best guess is Mercedes, since their third driver from last season Bono Huis never ended up racing. As brilliant a driver he is on other, more simulated titles, Huis has never been up there with F1 game specialists. Perhaps Benham will play a supporting role to Jarno Opmeer and Dani Moreno, and hopefully get a few outings in order to prove himself.
Who impressed you the most in the F1 Esports Pro Exhibition? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!