“Always the bridesmaids, but never the brides.”
That was the phrase that followed VP Gaming throughout the last few years of Project CARS esports, ever since it was uttered by Slightly Mad Studios' Creative Director, Andy Tudor more than two years ago. This talented German team has always shown great potential in major tournaments, but never quite secured a major title win. That all changed this year though when they finally went the extra mile and won the the Pro Class in the Playseat® SMS-R Series.
Over the four races in the online series, VP found a great rhythm and consistency in their driving, which saw them qualify comfortably for the Series Finals at Mercedes-Benz World in the UK. Their lead driver Isaac21 also came into form at exactly the right time in the competition. He won the last race in online Series and continued his momentum into the Finals, where he won one of the two races to boost VP’s points total and secure overall victory for the team.
We caught up with team manager and driver, Darwin_Daume after the Finals and found out what it means to finally have some major Project CARS silverware in their clutches.
After months of build-up and excitement, we finally arrived at the Finals of the 2019 Project CARS esports major, the Playseat® SMS-R Series, Powered by The Events House. 3200 drivers took part in the Qualifying Rounds for this tournament, and 10 Pro Class teams battled to prove their reputations, but it all came down to this. One day, two races, live from Mercedes-Benz World in the UK with €20,000 on the line.
After 4 Qualifying events, one shootout race, and the four-race online championship, we arrived at the Finals with only 16 competitors remaining. Eight Pro Class drivers racing GT3 cars and representing four of the world’s fastest sim-racing teams: ACR, VP, Veloce, & SDL. They were joined by eight Challenger Class drivers in Touring Cars, who had to fight to earn their place vs all of the other drivers from around the world who took part in the early Qualifying Rounds. The eight Challenger finalists were; Kristian Kwietniewski, Khaki, Popsu, Mr Van Ommen, Alexander Dornieden, Pelucaa, Dalking, & Operator.
Read on below to catch-up on the incredible stories from the Finals, and find out which teams and drivers walked away with the titles and the prizes.
The Finals of the Playseat® SMS-R Series are almost upon us. On Saturday May 11, four Pro Class teams and eight Challenger Class drivers will compete for the Series championships and €20,000 in cash prizes. It's been a phenomenal competition, with spectacular driving, breathtaking overtakes, and terrific comebacks. If you've missed any of the action so far, then catch-up with our series recap below, and get ready to watch the finals live on Saturday at 16:30 BST. You can also see the finals live and in-person at Mercedes-Benz World in the UK. Tickets are available now.
After the very modern trappings of Fuji Speedway, we returned to a classic motorsport venue for the final online round in the Playseat® SMS-R Series. The world's fastest Project CARS 2 esports drivers battled at Watkins Glen. This famous American circuit has hosted everything from Formula One to IMSA, and its flowing layout is well suited to both the Pro Class GT3 machines, and the Touring Cars driven by our Challengers. From sweeping uphill corners, to downhill plunges, hairpins and chicanes, Watkins Glen has a bit of everything, and almost all of it happens at very high speed.
We arrived at the Glen knowing that this race would decide which teams and drivers will make it to the Finals to compete for €20,000 in cash prizes. Only the top four Pro teams and top eight Challenger drivers can progress from here. After the previous three rounds Team ACR were already safely though to the Finals in Pro Class, leaving three spots still up for grabs. Team Redline, VP, Lazarus, Oscaro and Veloce all came to the Glen with a chance to make it into the top four, but who would be successful?
In Challenger Class FA Kristian Kwietniewski and THR Operator looked safe after the first three rounds, albeit with neither mathematically confirmed as finalists just yet. All of the other drivers in the Class also came to Watkins Glen with their fate still in their own hands. Dalking was the driver on the bubble in eighth place overall after Race 3, but Khaki and Dornieden just ahead weren't out of danger just yet, and Villalobos behind was in good form after coming second at Fuji.
Watkins Glen was a crucial race in both classes, so read on to see who has made it through to the Finals at Mercedes-Benz World. Don't forget to grab your tickets to see the Finals live and in-person on Saturday May 11.
Following two races on legendary European circuits, Round 3 of the Playseat® SMS-R Series took us to Japan, and the awesome Fuji Speedway. The modern layout at Fuji was first redesigned for Formula One, but it has since become a staple of Super GT and the World Endurance Championship. Like many modern circuits, it has a huge start-finish straight to provide slipstreaming possibilities, and some tight technical sections elsewhere in the lap. Including some very challenging switchback corners in the final sector.
After the first two races in the Series, we arrived at Fuji with the overall standings in both classes beginning to take shape. The Pro Class win in Round 2 at Monza went to Team Redline's Magic_Michael, but it was teams ACR and VP who put in the most consistent team performances, to come out first and second overall in the Pro Class team standings. Team Redline sat in third place overall coming into Round 3, just ahead of Oscaro in fourth.
In Challenger Class, Monza victory was taken by THR Operator with an incredible drive on dry tyres in wet conditions. He arrived at Monza with the points lead in Challenger Class, ahead of Pelucaa and Mr Van Ommen, who shared the same points total after two races.
It's still all to play for in both the GT3 Pro Class and the TCR Challenger Class, to decide which teams and drivers will make it to the finals at Mercedes-Benz World. Don't forget to grab your tickets to see the Finals live and in-person on Saturday May 11.
Follow on below to catch-up on the Race 3 livestream, read our race report, and check out the latest standings.