After a week off, the elite Project CARS esports championship returned on Saturday with another race around one of America's most beloved road courses. This time, our drivers took to the track at New York's awesome Watkins Glen. An undulating circuit with plenty of elevation change, and some fantastic high speed curves.
The Glen is a real test of consistency and will reward the drivers who are best at carrying apex speed through the wide and long turns. Many of the corners here are deceptively quick, meaning big closing speeds between our faster LMP2 cars in the Pro Class, and the slower GT3 machines in the Challenger Class. Managing the multiclass traffic without losing too much time was crucial for the frontrunners as always.
After the short break since Round 6 at Road America, we came into this race with Team Redline beginning to pull away slightly in the lead of the LMP2 Pro Class teams championship. SDL came into Watkins Glen in 2nd place, just 2 points ahead of the eSports+Cars team. In the GT3 Challenger Class, Yoohan was still the points leader, just 4 ahead of Vernux, but Tidgney is rapidly closing in on them both after terrific performances in the last 2 races.
Read on to see which teams and drivers shone at the Glen.
Tidgney was unfortunately missing from the Challenger Class race today, as he was busy with the Overclockers Racing Series, racing a BAC Mono in real life in the UK, after he qualified for their competition thanks to his pace in Project CARS. Back to the the esports action though, and pole position in Pro Class for this race went to Team Redline's Mangator, whilst Yoohan headed the grid in Challenger Class.
The start saw contact in the middle of the LMP2 field which pushed DriverR1 into a spin and really spoiled the eSports+Cars driver’s race. It was a storming start by SDL's StorM who pulled out a big lead on the opening lap, with pole sitter, Mangator in 2nd for Team Redline, and Ockerocker in 3rd for VP Gaming. Back in the GT3 class, Yoohan lead the early laps, although he wasn’t pulling out his usual big lead, at least for now.
There was a close fight shaping up from 3rd down to 6th in the LMP2 field, with a bit of train forming behind Ockerocker. Ockerocker was extremely smooth though, especially through the final sector, which was enough for him to hold his position in the first few laps.
TomiKillos was having a difficult race for BAM, and dropped his LMP2 machine back amongst the GT3 cars after a incident that took place off-camera. Meanwhile, up at the front, Rotax pinched P4 off Magic Michael into the Inner Loop chicane, with a terrific late braking move. With StorM still leading, SDL now held 1st and 4th in LMP2, which would be enough to give them the biggest team points haul if the race finished with this result.
We saw some outstanding driving in the middle part of the race as the LMP2 cars began to negotiate their way around the GT3 traffic. Drivers went 2, 3 and even 4 wide as the faster Pro class came through the Challenger field. Isaac of VP Gaming then made a great move on BAM’s Khaki into turn 1 to edge up the field into P6. He did really well to hold his line on the brakes and not run too wide whilst claiming the position. DriverR1 was edging his way back up the field as well after being caught in that incident at the start. With 12 minutes still to go, the eSports+Cars man was back up to 9th in class.
Back in the Challenger class, Yoohan had now pulled out his traditional big lead. He was looking very comfortable in 1st place in the GT3 race with 7 minutes still to go. Would it have been the same story though if Tidgney had not missed this week’s action?
SDL’s race continued to improve as Rotax made a brilliant move on Ockrocker into the Inner Loop chicane to make a clean pass for P3. SDL were now looking at a double podium. It was a shame for VP Gaming’s Ockerocker who was having a superb drive, but there was no holding Rotax back.
Ockerocker then came under pressure from MagicMichael of Team Redline, but defended well to hold onto P4.
Sadly there was contact between these two on the last lap and Ockerocker dropped back to P6 as VP’s Issac came though to P5, with MagicMichael finishing 4th in the end.
It was a totally dominant performance by StorM to win for SDL, with Mangator 2nd for Team Redline and Rotax 3rd. That meant SDL were the winning Pro Class team, taking home the most points in Round 7 to close the gap slightly to Team Redline in the championship standings. In Challenger class, Yoohan ran away with victory, to take full advantage of Tidgney’s absence, and extend his points lead.
Standings and results will be updated after ESL has posted the latest points information at the ESL play website.
Next: Round 8
Once again, we'll be staying in America for the next Round, as we cross from the east coast, to the west coast. Round 8 will take place in the California sun at Sonoma Raceway. Tune in live on Twitch on Saturday July 29 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.