It has been another superb year of competition in the Logitech G Challenge. A grass roots sim-racing competition to find the world's fastest Project CARS 2 driver to join the McLaren Shadow project. 15,000 drivers entered the competition in Europe this year, and the top 10 travelled to Motorworld in Cologne, Germany to battle for the European championship crown. Not only that, but the top two drivers would qualify for the G Challenge World Finals, which take place in just six days time on November 16 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Coming into the European Finals, the favourite for victory was undoubtedly Isaac Gilissen (VP Isaac21). As a member of VP Gaming, Isaac made a big contribution to his team's victory in this year's Playseat SMS-R Series. However, he wasn't the only big name to reach the event in Cologne. SMS-R Challenger Finalist, Darren King (THR Dalking) was also on the roster. As was previous McLaren Shadow finalist, Miguel Ballester, and drivers from the Lazarus, and FPR esports teams. The full roster included:
Read on to get the race reports, results, and catch-up with the livestream.
LiveStream Part 1
Only two drivers could earn a place in the World Finals in Vegas next week. To decide who they would be, the European finals had four races in the McLaren 650S GT3, each with 10 minutes of qualifying followed by an 8-lap sprint.
Race 1: Silverstone
The first race was at the home of the British Grand Prix, the scene of many success stories for McLaren over their history. In qualifying, it was Wolf who grabbed pole position, ahead of Dalking and Isaac. The favourites for victory filled out the front of the grid, but it was a surprise not to see Isaac on pole position.
When the race got underway, the top three immediately pulled away at the front. After the first lap Wolf had already begun to build a gap in first while Dalking & Isaac battled aggressively behind, which cost them some time to the leader. Isaac was eventually able to wrestle second place away from Dalking and set off after Wolf.
Further back in the pack, Mr Bones slipped back after a spin in the final sector, which allowed local German boy, ReuberRacing to move up from tenth to ninth. Miguel Ballester was also having a tough time in the opening race, as he got stuck in the middle of the pack in sixth in the early laps.
The race settled into a rhythm from there, but there was a big moment for Dalking in third just two laps from the end. He spun the car into the final complex of corners, but somehow survived to maintain third place, having built a healthy gap over DiHeidi earlier in the race. Dalking's spin gave Isaac a nice comfort blanket to hold onto second in the final laps with some of the earlier pressure now lifted off his shoulders. In the final lap, DiHeidi closed right in on Dalking after keeping better control of his tyre temps during the race, but he couldn't find a way past in the end. Dalking hung on for third, with Isaac second, but it was a comfortable win for Wolf in race one.
Livestream Part 2
Race 2: Azure Circuit
When you think of McLaren and Formula One, it doesn't get much more iconic than Monaco. Race two was a huge change from the fast & flowing Silverstone circuit, and a big challenge in the tin-top 650S GT3 car. The 10 minutes of qualifying were absolutely crucial, and Wolf grabbed pole once again. This time with Isaac in second and Dalking third.
The top two made a clean start in the race, but Dalking hit the armco barrier on the outside of St. Devote. He somehow clung on to third place through Casino Square ahead of DiHeidi in fourth. However, Dalking now had to carry some damage from his first corner incident for the rest of the race. Miguel Ballester also picked up some damage in the middle of the pack on the first lap.
Poffe made a name for himself in his first appearance at a Project CARS esports final, with a nice pass on DiHeidi for P4, whilst DiHeidi also picked up a track limits penalty in the Novelle Chicane. Despite the penalty, DiHeidi and Poffe had a fantastic battle. They went side-by-side in their GT3 cars through Tabac, but they survived the corner and maintained their positions. Unfortunately for Poffe though, he lost the rear of his car later in the race in the second Swimming Pool chicane, and DiHeidi grabbed fourth place.
Up at the front, Isaac closed Wolf down, and looked up the inside into Casino Square, but Wolf hung on around the outside. On the next lap, Isaac tried again, this time around the outside into the same corner. He brushed the barrier, but held his nerve to take the lead.
Isaac hung on from there to win race two, ahead of Wolf. This put them on equal points at the halfway stage of the event. Dalking took his second podium of the day in third, despite his first corner meeting with the barriers.
Race 3: Indianapolis Road Course
Our drivers crossed the virtual pond from Europe to the United States for race three. The Indy Road Course uses a mixture of the oval and the infield, making for a super fast main straight, with slower and more technical sections elsewhere in the lap. Qualifying was a repeat of race two, with Wolf on pole once more, followed by Isaac, and Dalking. However, a false start in the race, meant that Qualifying had to be repeated with a shorter, 5-minute session. That didn't disrupt the order though, as our top three replicated their performances from the first session.
When the race finally got underway, the top three started well, and Poffe also showed great form in fourth place into turn one. The race then settled into a rhythm throughout the pack as all of the drivers followed one another to take advantage of the slipstream on the main straight.
After the opening third of the race, Dalking began to drop off the pace of the front two, and Wolf and Isaac pulled a gap ahead. At the midway point, Poffe also began to drop his pace as the pressure built from DiHeidi who was right on his tail to try to take fourth. Miguel Ballester got in on the action too. A bit of a train began to form behind Poffe, and DiHeidi eventually passed him with a late braking move on the outside in the infield section. Unfortunately, Poffe then had another late spin, very similar to race two, and that gifted another position to Miguel.
Also just like in race two, Isaac began to close in on Wolf for the lead in the latter stages. Perhaps by doing a better job of managing his tyre temperatures to keep the grip alive for longer. Isaac kept the pressure on Wolf all the way until the final lap when Wolf made a mistake in the final few corners. He ran wide and opened the door for Isaac to take his second victory of the day, which also gave him the lead in the overall standings with one race to go. Dalking took another third place, as this trio continued to dominate the podiums. However, in the last race things would look very different indeed.
Race 4: Monza
Italy's "Temple of Speed" hosted the final race in the G Challenge European Finals. With those all important places in Vegas on the line it was Wolf, Isaac, & Dalking who dominated Qualifying once again.
The tension rose as the lights came on for the start of the race. Isaac forced his way into the lead past Wolf in the first chicane. Wolf then made a spectacular attempt to repass Isaac into the second chicane but couldn't quite manage to find a way around the outside. Dalking then piled the pressure onto Wolf as he stole second from his THR teammate on the outside into the Parabolica at the end of lap one.
On lap two, DiHeidi missed the first chicane which cost him two positions to Poffe and Miguel, while the top three broke away from the pack again. This time with Isaac in front, from Dalking, and Wolf. There was major drama ahead though. Dalking spun in the Parabolica and collected Wolf when he slid back across the racing line. Poffe took full advantage to move into second, ahead of both THR drivers. DeHeidi then picked Wolf off as well, around the outside into the Ascari chicane, and Miguel found a way past him as well. Wolf was now back in fifth, whilst Dalking dropped back to sixth. He also picked up a 5 second penalty, and some damage from the crash for good measure.
Isaac took a comfortable victory in race four to win the European title and earn a place at the Las Vegas World Finals. Italian driver, DeHeidi joined the race four podium in second at his home track, and Poffe recovered from his mistakes in the earlier races to grab third at Monza for an outstanding race result on his Project CARS esports debut.
SMS-R Pro Champion, Isaac is the Logitech G Challenge EU Champion and will represent Europe in the Las Vegas Finals. Joining him in Vegas will be overall second place finisher, Wolf. Despite a very messy final race at Monza his results earlier in the day were enough for him to make it through. DeHeidi took the final place on the European podium, after some solid performances, and an opportunistic last race where he took advantage of Dalking's misfortune.
Tune in at twitch.tv/logitechg on Saturday November 16 for the World Finals from Vegas. Our European top two will join winners from the USA, South America, and Asia to battle for the Logitech G Challenge world title, and a place in the McLaren Shadow project.