The Project CARS esports championship continued the American leg of the season at the weekend, with Round 8 at one of California's many famous desert raceways, Sonoma.
With it's numerous blind corners, sweeping high-speed chicanes and dangerous sand traps, this is not a track that any driver can take lightly, especially our top esports competitors. With points gaps beginning to close throughout the Pro Class, there was a lot at stake in Round 8. After this, there is only one more chance to gather points in the last race, to take home prize money, and claim a place in the Gamescom World Final.
Round 8 proved to be a chaotic event, which will keep the championship on a knife-edge with only one race to go. Read on to find out which drivers and teams were the winners and losers in the California sunshine.
In qualifying, StorM took the Pro Class pole for SDL, whilst Tidgney pulled out a nice lap to lead the GT3 cars off the line in Challenger Class. It was a tough start for Team Redline’s Managator as he dropped back to 10th in turn 2, while his teammate Magic Michael took the lead from SDL’s StorM in the opening corners. SDL are pushing hard to catch TRL in the points standings for the lead of the series.
BAM’s “Polish monster,” Khaki had a poor start in his LMP2 car and dropped to the back of the Pro Class pack. There was even more drama the opening lap as Ludovic looked to have made a great start for TX3 all the way into the top 5, only to then pick up a cutting penalty which dropped him back to 9th. Then eSports+Cars’ Ralphy went for a spin which forced him to retire, in a frantic start to the Pro Class race.
Then there was another big moment as Ludovic spun and retired from the race right in front of Mangator, opening the door for BAM to catch TX3 in the championship, and the fight for places at the Gamescom World Final. Magic Michael also retired for Team Redline, which put SDL into 1st and 2nd in the race, and gave them a big chance to close the gap in the championship. Meanwhile, after all the drama in Pro Class, further back in the GT3 Challenger Class field, Popsu lead the way with a solid performance in the first half of the race, ahead of championship leader, Yoohan and the always fast, Tidgney.
A mistake dropped BAM’s Tomikillos out of the top 5, and down to P6 in class, as VP’s Isaac21 and TRL’s Managator took advantage to move up to 4th and 5th as the LMP2 cars started to lap the GT3 traffic. Isaac got too close to the traffic though and touched with one of the GT3 cars, which allowed Managator to sneak through into P4 and continue his charge back through the field after his mistake at the start.
TX3’s Tscharf also made contact with a back-marker, but lived to fight another day. Isaac though had another difficult moment in the traffic, which gave Tscharf the chance to steal 6th in Pro Class. In the GT3 pack, Popsu was maintaining his lead, now over Tidgney who moved back up to 2nd, ahead of Vernux, with series leader, Yoohan only in 4th place.
With TRL having had a driver retire from the race, this 1-2 result was a big gain for SDL to keep the Pro Class championship battle alive as we wait to see which team will come out on top in the final round next week. Popsu took a brilliant victory in the Challenger Class, but Yoohan remains the favourite to take the Challenger championship crown when we head to the final race at the Nurburgring next week.
Standings and results will be updated after ESL has posted the latest points information at the ESL play website.
Next: round 9
Next week, it's the final race in the championship at Nurburgring GP. Who will win the prize money? Which teams will win a place at the Gamescom World Final? Tune in live on Twitch on Saturday August 5 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.