Saturday 4th February saw the new Stormforce Racing ART cars take to the track for the very first time, in the inaugural round of the 2023 Porsche Tag Heuer eSports Super Cup series, and what a weekend of racing it was! From blisteringly fast sprint laps to devastating crashes, amazing comebacks and mechanical failures, one thing’s for sure, Stormforce Racing ART has made it mark in the PESC.
Lining up on the grid in Stormforce Liveries for the very first time –
Qualifying - 1 Lone Lap
Qualifying is following a new format for the 2023 competition:
Lone Qualifying – 1 Lap Per Driver
Qualifying Split into 2 Groups
Group A: P30-P6 in points, go all at once
Group B: P5-P1 in points, go one by one
Order for Race 1 is set by 2022 standings
All 3 Stormforce Racing ART drivers put in a strong showing, with Alejandro Sanchez ending up in the points in P4 with a time just under 3 tenths of a second off Caruso in pole, and both Salva Talens and Mathias Stokbæk making it to the first half of the grid, in P8 3.5 tenths off and P15 just under 5 tenths off respectively.
Jamie Fluke racing for our friends at ART came in just over half a second behind pole, giving him a respectable mid grid starting position in P18, whilst Yohann Harth had a qualifying lap he’d sooner forget!
An excellent drive from Jordan Caruso for Altus Esports saw him take pole for the sprint, thoroughly well deserved and earning him points in the TAG Heuer Pole Award race to win a special Porsche Edition Tag Heuer Connected Watch.
Sprint Race - 9 Laps
Early in the sprint, Caruso lost his lead to Charlie Collins from VRS Coanda, before an excellent overtaking move saw defending PESC champion Diogo C. Pinto leading the pack over the line in his Team Redline Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, with Collins close on his bumper.
Stormforce Racing ART’s hot favourite Alejandro Sanchez pulled out all of the stops, securing P4 with a gap behind pole of just 2.683 seconds and missing out on a spot on the podium to Australia’s Jordan Caruso over the final few metres of the track by just a shade over 6 tenths…truly nail biting stuff!
Alex’s Spanish compatriot Salva Talens was hampered by his disappointing qualifying lap, but did well to hold position in a rapidly changing race pack, dropping just 1 place down the standings from his P8 grid start to cross the line in P9, just over 5 seconds behind Pinto.
In his first competitive PESC race, Mathias Stokbæk took some contact damage early on but remained committed to his goal and came in P25, leading Tuomas Tähtelä by 2.686 seconds as the sprint drew to a close.
Feature Race - 18 Laps
Sadly not a great result for the Stormforce Racing ART guys in the main event, with both Sanchez and Talens involved in a nasty incident at the T4 hairpin on the very first lap, sustaining damage to their cars and losing valuable seconds in a hotly contested race.
Alex fought valiantly to recover ground and managed a respectable P22 despite the earlier chaos, however Salva was also hit by technical issues later in the race which proved impossible to overcome, leading to a P29 finish.
Mathias was up against it from the start, with his P25 grid position leaving an uphill struggle, but against the odds he dug deep and managed to make up 7 places, crossing the line in P18.
The feature was kinder to our friends racing in ART colours, with Jamie Fluke gaining a place to finish in P9, and Yohann Harth more than making up for his disappointing qualifying lap to achieve P6, gaining 10 places from his grid position and setting out his stall as a force to be reckoned with for the remainder of the series.
Check out the 1st lap incident at the hairpin below. It had to be a Chillblast car that took us out didn’t it! But it certainly added some drama to the race, and whilst we’re disappointed for the guys we’re looking forward to doing battle with our friendly rivals again soon.
Where They Stand
There’s not a lot for Stormforce Racing ART fans to get too excited about near the top of the table after Round 1, but we’re absolutely delighted to see our Apex Racing Team friends Yohann Harth (7) and Jamie Fluke (9) making in into the top 10, with 36 and 35 championship points respectively.
Despite the challenges of the Hockenheimring, we’re delighted to see Alejandro Sanchez (12) and Salva Talens (18) sitting comfortably mid-table, with 26 and 12 points, and Mathias (22) just challenging for a place in the middle 10 on 8 points, with all still to race for.
Looking Ahead to Round 2 - Magny Cours
The second round of the PESC takes place on Saturday 18th February, again kicking off at 7PM GMT (with the All-Stars race, consisting of everybody’s favourite content creators, before hand). This time the drivers will be swapping Germany for France and heading to the former F1 race circuit at Magny Cours, 4.411 kilometres of prime racing real estate featuring challenging corners modelled on famous turns from many other circuits. Keep your eyes peeled for excitement and possibly even carnage as the driving field take on the fast Estori corner T3, the Adelaide hairpin T5, and the Nürburgring T7 and Imola T12 chicanes. New to the PESC series, everybody is looking forward to seeing how this classic grand prix track suits the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, and how the standings will look after what’s sure to be an exciting race.
Countdown to the 2nd round...
Catch Up On The Action
The Apex Racing guys provided a high-tech, multi feed steam of the action from their state of the art broadcast suite located within the Apex Sim Racing Centre at Corby, including expert analysis from Peter Berryman and truly entertaining commentary from David Sampson and Owen Caryl. We love the studio and feed branding too!
Want to catch up with the steam? You can watch it back here on the Apex Racing Team Twitch Channel.
The race was also streamed live on Twitch and Youtube, across the official Porsche Motorsport and iRacing channels, with the video below capturing all of the action from the All-Stars preliminary race right through to the main feature. Strap yourselves in and enjoy the ride!