From Spa to Spain. Round 5 of the 2017 major Project CARS esports championship took place at Catalunya. The world famous home of Formula One's Spanish Grand Prix. Catalunya is one of the most technical circuit layouts in the world. It demands a driver who can perfectly balance their car on the edge of grip, to carry as much speed as possible through its many fast corners. The flowing turns are punctuated by slower hairpins and chicanes, which provide the best opportunities to overtake around the tricky course.
In the LMP2 Pro Class, it's all about the battle for the teams championship, the prize money and the places at the Gamescom World Finals. Coming into the race, the championship was very tight between Team Redline, eSports+Cars and SDL. With series underdogs VP Gaming also right in the mix, while some of their rival teams search for more consistency and more points.
In the GT3 Challenger class, individual glory is the name of the game, as Yoohan, Vernux, Tidgney and others are still running phenomenally close together at the top of the standings after 4 races.
Did the current form book continue at Catalunya, or did the unforgiving circuit throw up some surprises? Read on to find out.
It was Redline's Mangator that took the pole position in LMP2. Whilst Tidgney took the qualifying top spot in GT3 after missing last week's round through some real-world racing commitments.
There was chaotic start as several of the LMP2 drivers made contact in the early stages, but Mangator and Magic Michael shot to the front for Team Redline early on. Followed by SDL’s StorM and eSports+Cars’ DriverR1. Several more of the LMP2 drivers were caught out by their rivals’ mistakes in the opening lap, which significantly mixed up the field in the Pro Class. Meanwhile, Tidgney made a great start to maintain his lead in the GT3 race ahead of Rossi46 who was having a nice battle to defend his position from Popsu at the end of the long straights.
At the start of lap 2, TX3’s Ludovic made an easy pass on flamedphoenix of the Euronics team to take P5 in LMP2.
Euronics’ Hades made an ambitious move up the inside of TX3’s Michele into the hairpin, but Michele defended beautifully, gave him just enough space to avoid contact, and still maintained his P7 in the Pro Class, only for Hades to then sneak through into the turn 1.
After 10 minutes of racing, the top 4 in LMP2 were still separated by just 4 or 5 seconds, in one of the tightest Pro Class races that we’ve seen so far this season. It was looking like a tough afternoon for the VP team though, as both drivers ran towards the back of the LMP2 field after being caught out by the issues on the opening laps.
Tidgney was still doing his thing out front in the GT3 race. He put in a great lap on the Project CARS 2 rig at Goodwood Festival of Speed on the Saturday before this weekend’s SMS-R race, and he was clearly maintaining that good form.
SDL’s StorM made a move on Redline’s Magic Michael to progress up to 2nd as the top 4 continued to close in one each other. They were now separated by only 1 or 2 car lengths between each driver. StorM’s progress didn’t stop there either as he then passed the next Redline driver, Mangator, to take the lead of the race with 18 minutes still to go. All the while, DriverR1 was lurking just behind the battle for the top 3, watching and waiting for a chance to pounce as the drivers began to battle through the GT3 traffic.
A little further back we saw some contact between flamedphoenix of Euronics and Michele of TX3 which allowed the Euronics driver to steal P7 with some very aggressive driving. Ockerocker was also beginning to move through the field up to 9th so far, to improve the race for his VP team.
In GT3 with 10 minutes to go, Tidgney was still out in front, with Popsu moved up into 2nd, followed by Vernux and Rossi46, who had lost a couple of positions. Ockerocker’s charge continued in LMP2 as the VP driver made it past flamedphoenix to go up to P8. Meanwhile, SDL’s SoniK unfortunately retired from the race with technical issues.
DriverR1 suddenly made his move as the frontrunners closed up again while lapping the GT3 traffic. He went for it on the outside of Magic Michael into the hairpin, but the two unfortunately made contact, which gave P3 to the eSports+Cars driver and dropped Michael to 4th. Meanwhile Ockerocker made yet another pass. This time on TX3’s Michele, to move up to 7th after running all the way back in 11th in the early stages.
StorM took the Pro Class race win for SDL, but Team Redline were the overall winners thanks to the combined points of Mangator in 2nd and Magic Michael in 4th. Meanwhile Tidgney returned to SMS-R action with a bang to win the Challenger Class race and gain some ground on his rivals at the top of the standings.
Team Redline are leading the way in the Pro Class points, followed by eSports+Cars and SDL. In Challenger Class, Yoohan is the points leader, ahead of Venux and Tidgney.
Standings and results will be updated after ESL has posted the latest points information at the ESL play website.
Next: Round 6
We're off to America for Round 6 next time out, as the drivers will face the bumpy, high speed challenges of Road America. Tune in live on Twitch on Saturday July 8 at 16:00 BST to watch all of the action.
Don't forget to visit the ESL website at the link below to register to race in the next Go4 Cup on PC. Take the chance to show your skills to the world, and you might even qualify to compete in Challenger Class later this season.