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.
Race 1: Hockenheim
The SMS-R Series began at Hockenheim, the legendary German circuit. Throughout the tournament, the Pro Class drivers raced in the Mercedes-AMG GT3, and the Challengers in the Mercedes-AMG A45 Touring Car. They shared the track to give us some thrilling multi-class action as each group battled for supremacy against their rivals in Class, whilst also managing the infamous 'Traffic Time,' as the Pros would have to lap the slower Challenger cars at least once in each race. It was Oscaro/SDL's day in Race 1 as Rotax took the Pro Class win for the multiple times Project CARS esports champions. However, it was teams VP and ACR who took the early championship lead thanks to more consistent team results shared by their driver pairings. In the Challenger Class, Pelucaa took a surprise victory in Round 1, after he was gifted the race following a last corner collision between 2018's Logitech G Challenge champion, Kristian Kwietniewski and THR Operator. Next up, Monza.
Race 2: Monza
The second race took us to a very wet Monza circuit, for a race full of thrills and spills as the drivers battled with the elements as well as the colossal slipstreaming opportunities that this famous Italian circuit provides. After wet qualifying, the race started dry, but the rain quickly arrived again and forced the drivers to change their tyres at the half-way point in the 30 minute battle. As always in any season, consistency is the key to success, and the ACR drivers showed this once again to score solid points for their team in Pro Class. However, the Pro Class win went to Team Redline's Magic_Michael ahead of DiHeidi for Lazarus, who had a brilliant drive to claw his way up through the field on the damp track. Even more special though was the performance from THR Operator in Challenger Class. After a tough race at Hockenheim, he earned his redemption by staying out on slick tyres in the wet conditions while his rivals all pitted to change tyres. Somehow he clung on and avoided aquaplaning to secure a memorable victory.
Race 3: Fuji
The technical confines of the Fuji Speedway circuit provided the setting for Round 3, and it marked a crucial turning point in the season for the Veloce esports team. With their drivers Storm and James Baldwin, Veloce came into the 2019 SMS-R Series with high hopes, as both pilots have won previous championships in Project CARS 2. However, they had a very tough time in the first two races as incidents and penalties hurt their chances to score points. In many ways they had to reset their season at Fuji, and they pulled it off. They finished third and fourth in this night race to finally bag some big points, which gave the team a shot at making it into the overall top four to qualify for the Finals. The Pro Class win though went to Magic_Michael for Team Redline once again. ACR's consistency paid off too, as second place at Fuji for Jardier secured the team's place in the Finals with one race still to go in the online series. Kwietniewski took the Challenger Class win, and Operator's rollercoaster season continued as he was disqualified for stopping in a dangerous position on the circuit. Fan-favourite, Khaki was also DQ'ed for causing a big collision with one of the Pro drivers. This put these guys under a lot of pressure going into the showdown at Watkins Glen.
Race 4: Watkins Glen
The last race in the online championship was a tense affair. ACR were already qualified for the Finals in Pro Class, but every other qualifying spot in both classes was still up for grabs. Only four Pro teams and eight Challenger drivers could progress to the Finals. The Veloce boys continued their resurgent form to score a double-podium in second and third, and take a well deserved spot in the Finals. VP's Isaac won the race ahead of them, and that was enough to send VP to the Finals too. It's yet another Project CARS esports Final for VP, who have been present at almost every major championship decider in the franchise's history. Team Redline also scored enough points to earn a place at Mercedes-Benz World, however a scheduling conflict will prevent them from joining the other finalists in the UK. Therefore, their place will be taken by the Oscaro/SDL team who finished fifth in the overall standings. They were actually on equal points with team Lazarus, but finish ahead of them by virtue of Rotax's win in the first race at Hockenheim.
In the Challenger Class, Khaki redeemed himself at Watkins Glen with a great win after a race long battle with Villalobos. Villalobos needed that win for himself though to make it to the finals, so second place saw him lose out to Operator in the overall standings by just one point. The Challenger finalists are; Kwietniewski, Khaki, Popsu, Mr Van Ommen, Dornieden, Pelucaa, Dalking, & Operator.
Where to watch
Tune in to the Apex Online Racing YouTube channel at 16:30 BST on Saturday May 11 for the Playseat® SMS-R Series Finals, as our fastest competitors race at Nurburgring GP and Road America for €20,000 in prizes.
You can also attend the Finals in person at Mercedes-Benz World in the UK. Just grab yourself a ticket, or you can attend the event with a Project CARS 2 "Esports Live VIP Pass" from the Collectors' or Ultra Edition of the game.