The drivers of the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup and the accompanying All-Star-Series raced for the penultimate time in the 2023 season this past Saturday. The venue for this ninth event of the season was the Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans. With its many long straights, the races held as part of both series saw plenty of slipstream fights for the win with the race lead changing multiple times in each one of them.
Sebastian Job comes through to win the sprint race
In qualifying, it was 2022 series champion Diogo C. Pinto (PT/Team Redline) who scored his first pole position of the season, narrowly beating out Alejandro Sánchez (E/Stormforce Racing ART) by less than two one-hundredths of a second. Row two was made up of Sebastian Job (GB/Oracle Redbull Racing Esports) and Zac Campbell (USA/VRS Coanda) in third and fourth respectively. Championship leader Jordan Caruso (AUS/Altus Esports) had a tougher qualifying, lining up in eighth.
First PESC victory for Yohann Harth in the main race
When the lights went green for the second race, it wasn’t pole sitter Harth who got the best launch, but third place starter Alessandro Bico (IT/Williams Esports) who squeezed his way past the Frenchman and Jordan Caruso, being in first place even before having to brake for the Dunlop chicane. While all of that went off without a hitch, the same couldn’t be said about what happened further back in the field. A spinning Bryn Collins (GB/VRS Coanda) kicked off plenty of chaos and crashes, despite many drivers’ attempts to avoid the spinning Collins. Diogo C. Pinto also ended up being involved in an incident, losing roughly ten places when he went off the road on the exit of the esses when he tried to avoid Bobby Zalenski (USA/VRS Coanda) after the latter had locked up and gone deep into one of the corners.
Overall, it was a somewhat messy opening lap, the first real bit of drama outside of the many slipstream battles which resumed at the head of the field by lap two of the race. Yohann Harth showed once more that the outside line on the entry to Indianapolis was a great spot for overtaking, passing Bico there to take the lead on lap two. At the beginning of lap three, Caruso had to give up third place to Charlie Collins (GB/VRS Coanda) under braking for the first chicane on the Hunaudières straight. The battle for the lead never let up though as Harth and Bico kept switching positions, sometimes multiple times per lap. Their squabbling kept pulling more and more cars into the battle from the following pack, making the battle even more heated.
For Jordan Caruso, things couldn’t have gone much worse. First an incident on the penultimate lap left him dropping from fourth to eighth before an overly eager Mathias Stokbæk Jensen (DK/FYRA SimSport) hit him from behind on the entry of the Porsche Curves on the final lap. With no room to save his car, Caruso hit the wall hard, with the Australian only being classified twenty-fifth in a meeting which he could feasibly have left with an insurmountable points lead. At the front of the field, Yohann Harth played a blinder, with him and Alejandro Sánchez having worked together to come out on top as the field was approaching Arnage for the final time. It was Harth who crossed the line first in his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, taking his first victory in the virtual one-make cup in the process, just a few car lengths ahead of his team mate. In the fight for third, Charlie Collins came out on top. Biggest mover of the main race was Kevin Nielsen (DK/FYRA SimSport) in tenth position, who gained fifteen positions during the six racing laps.
Tyson “Quirkitized” Meier and Casey Kirwan top the All-Star-Series podiums
Before the drivers of the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup were let loose on the 13.626 km long circuit, the content creators of the All-Star-Series ran their two races. There could hardly have been a more fitting track than Le Mans for their final event using the Porsche 911 RSR, where the car scored many of its biggest race victories in the venue’s annual twenty-four hour race.
Qualifying threw up an unusual result with Casey Kirwan only lining up in eleventh, the front row being occupied by Pablo “ThePulpoLopez” Lopez and Lyubov “LoveFortySix” Ozeretskovskaya instead. At the start of the five lap long sprint race, Lopez got a decent start and kept the race lead. Tyson “Quirkitized” Meier got the best launch of all, taking over the runner-up spot on the way to the Dunlop chicane. The duo were fighting it out for the race win until the final lap of the race when Meier managed to fend off Lopez’s final attack in Indianapolis, albeit not completely without making contact. In the end, Meier crossed the line in first place, Lopez in second with the podium being completed by Dave “DaveCam” Cameron in third.
For the six lap long main race, Casey Kirwan started from the inverted grid’s pole position following a major crash in the previous race. While the start went well for Kirwan, the remainder of the first lap did not as he made a costly mistake that resulted in him dropping to the midfield. Subsequently, he was forced to fight his way back through the pack as he had done during so many of the main races, once again working together with Matt Malone. On the penultimate lap, Kirwan was back up to the top spot, passing Dan Suzuki who followed him home in second place at the end of the race. The final podium finisher was sprint race winner Tyson Meier.
Next Up: The Monza Finale
The tenth and final event of the 2023 Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup will take place on June 3rd at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza. The Italian circuit has hosted every single PESC championship finale thus far and with four title contenders still in the hunt, it’s going to be anything but a boring way to wrap up the season. That combined with Monza’s many tight chicanes and long straights should make the series finale one that can’t be missed. To catch the full event as it happens, just tune into the livestream on the day of the event from 19:00 UTC onwards. If that’s not enough racing for you, just tune in an hour earlier, at 18:00 UTC, to check out how the content creators of the All-Star-Series get on in their series finale with the Porsche Mission R.