5 February 2022: At the digital track of Hockenheim, 35 of theworld’s best sim racers took one last deep breath before the start of the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup 2022. One thing was certain for the athletes: This series would test their driving skills like never before.
With last year’s champion Joshua Rogers out of the starting field, this year the total prize pool of $200,000 would require a new champion in the iRacing simulation.
Who would claim the title? Would Sebastian Job, the 2020 champion, build on his success or would we see new drivers at the top? These were the questions going through the minds of all sim racing fans and sim racers right up to the last second... and then the first race started.
#1 Hockenheimring – Ayhancan Güven wins at Hockenheimring
The first race of the season had everything one could wish for. Exciting head-to-head duels, collisions, the competitors hurling out of hairpin corners and a contender for the title already attracting attention. In the end, Coanda driver Ayhancan Güven took first place on the podium and celebrated the first PESC victory of his career. Second place went to Graham Caroll and third place went to Jeremy Bouteloup of France.
Sim racing fans who bet on seeing Sebastian Job in the front ranks were left disappointed. A hairpin incident in the third lap buried his chances of a successful first race early on.
#2 Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya – Everything new in Spain
Second races often show who’ll compete for top positions in motorsports. But this year’s PESC had some surprising results in store. Some of which are less surprising looking back now.
Kevin Ellis Jr. took the victory with a start-finish win on the virtual Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in the main race – whereas in the opening race he just finished 18th.
Many top drivers had to watch crucial points slip through their fingers in the second lap of the race. After a rear-end collision at Turn 10, Charlie Collins lost control of his 510hp Porsche 911 GT3 Cup and knocked Pinto, Sanchez, Caroll, Warren, Collins and Berryman off the track.
Sebastian Job, unlucky again, was dragged into the incident and was only able to finish the race in 25th place.
#3 Autódromo José Carlos Pace – Comeback of a champion
In the third race of the season, the 35 sim racers went to Brazil. While things went badly for Sebastian Job in the first two races, Interlagos can now be described as his personal turning point of the season.
With a sovereign start-finish victory in the sprint race, he scored important points, which marked the beginning of a phenomenal comeback. The American Zac Campbell also celebrated a real highlight. In the second-to-last lap, he prevailed against Warren and Ellis and crossed the finish line for the first time as a winner in the PESC.
For the Portuguese Diogo C. Pinto, Brazil was also to be one of the most important races. Combining his points from all three races, he took over the lead of the standings for the season and should keep it until the final.
Jeremy Bouteloup had to settle for second place for the time being. Güven was able to defend his third place with two top-10 positions, unfortunately for the last time.
#4 Silverstone – A 2020 Déjà-vu
Four races, four different winners. Fortunately for all motorsport enthusiasts, even after the fourth race on England’s classic racetrack, no sim racer was able to claim the role of odds-on favourite – the season would still remain exciting.
Silverstone had surely become one of Alejandros Sanchez’ favourite tracks. With a narrow lead of just 0. 282 seconds, he won the race for the second time. A reminder that in 2020, he was also at the top of the podium.
The three Britons Kevin Ellis Jr., Jamie Fluke and Sebastian Job ranked from third to fifth. Only one point separated the drivers after the race. Jeremy Bouteloup, who was still high on the season leaderboard until now, fell back to sixth after placing 11th in the sprint and 26th in the main race.
#5 Red Bull Ring – Halftime and home game
Starting in third position, Interlagos looked promising for Zac Campbell - unfortunately only as far as the first corner at the Red Bull Ring. Campbell lost control of his 911 GT3 Cup and drove other drivers David Williams and Graham Carrol off the track.
Sebastian Job’s victory in the main race was already anticipated. With his two previous sprint wins, it was only a matter of time before he claimed victory in one of the main races. The fact that it should happen in his team’s home race placed it firmly in the category: “Right time, right race.”
But it wasn’t a solo display. Diogo C. Pinto, who started as leader in the fifth round of the season, managed a worthy catch-up that brought him forward all the way to second place – in the end Job only barely took the victory ahead of the Portugese racer. Collins claimed third place.
#6 Circuit Gilles Villeneuve – Starting into the second half of the season
With five races behind us, the Canadian Circuit Gilles Villeneuve welcomed the sim racers in the sixth race. Diogo C. Pinto was now the season leader. But Kevin Ellis Jr., who was able to maintain his second place thanks to consistent top 10 finishes and Sebastian Job, who had now moved up to third place, were hot on his heels.
However, it was Dayne Warren who ended up being the real star that race. After fading somewhat after his first win in the first race, he took the victory for himself and positioned himself back among the top 10 in the table.
#7 Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps – Campbell’s catch-up
It was becoming clear who still had a realistic chance of winning the title. Pinto, Ellis and Job were leading the season board, but Zac Campbell, in fourth place, still wanted to have a say. Right from the start, he secured second place behind Fluke.
The decision was made in Malmedy, nine laps in. After a close duel, Campbell overtook the Briton, who missed the track and fell back.
In the final lap, Campbell had to keep up his lead against Webster and Ellis. In the famous valley of Eau Rouge, however, he was able to break away from his rivals and finally win. With these points, the American had taken a big step closer to the title.
#8 Nürburgring Nordschleife – Seven laps at Green Hell
It goes without saying that the toughest racing series in Esports must include the toughest racetrack in the world. That’s why the sim racers gathered at the Nordschleife for the eighth race of the season.
Job showed how it’s done by winning the sprint race – his fifth victory already. Diogo C. Pinto held the lead for a long time. But, due to a damaged front, the Portuguese racer slowly lost speed – an opportunity that the Briton couldn’t miss and finally overtook Pinto. It was here that Job’s good run ended. Shortly after the start of the main race, he had to retire due to a collision.
To the audience, it looked like Dayne Warren and Kevin Ellis Jr. would decide the victory between themselves. Unfortunately, their close duel spelt doom for both. After a touch, they both turned out. Collins took the lead into the final straight and finished the race just 0. 128 seconds ahead of Benecke.
#9 Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans – Legendary
In the second-to-last race, we went from one long-distance track to another: Le Mans. Even in the virtual version, this track is sacred ground in motorsports. All eyes were on the leaderboard. Would the champion be determined here?
It was Ellis and Job who answered that question with a clear no. While Ellis claimed victory in the sprint race, Job triumphed in the main race. Pinto finished second and Campbell third. Thus, the four leaders in the table divided the big points among themselves, making for a more exciting final.
#10 Autodromo Nazionale Monza – The Finale
Zac Campbell still had a chance to win the title in theory, but practically it was unlikely. It was clear to everyone that the new champion in 2022 would be Diogo C. Pinto, Kevin Ellis Jr. or Sebastian Job.
All three had proved their driving abilities over the season and, with few exceptions, achieved only top results in the races.
For Sebastian Job, Monza was to be the most successful race weekend of the season. With a third-place finish in the sprint and victory in the main race, he scored as many points in a single stroke as in any other race before.
Kevin Ellis Jr. got off to a good start, finishing fourth in the sprint, but in the main race he fell back to 23rd – his worst race result so far. As a result, he surrendered his second place on the leaderboard to Job in the last race.
Less spectacularly, but strategically smarter, Pinto stayed away from all scrapping, finishing the sprint race in seventh place, and the main race in sixth place. Thus, he finally gained enough points to be crowned the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup by iRacing Champion 2022.
Diogo C. Pinto is the PESC Champion 2022
Exciting to the end: this sums up the PESC 2022 season. None of the drivers were able to dominate the leaderboard. Every point had to be earned against competitors on an equal footing.
One name who attracted a lot of attention was 2020 champion Sebastian Job. After two weak races at the start of the season, he launched a comeback that would bring him back to second place on the board. With five pole positions, he is the deserved winner of the TAG Heuer Pole Award.
Kevin Ellis Jr. was convincing primarily through consistent performance, scoring a total of 17 top-10 positions. If he had not ended the last race of the season towards the rear, the race for second place would have remained more closely contended.
With a total of 554 points, consisting of 19 top 10 positions, 12 of them in the top five, Diogo C. Pinto has become the 2022 champion with just a 19-point advantage in the table. Appearances can be deceptive however; as part of his strategy in the last race Pinto deliberately waived points in order to finish the season as the deserving winner.
Before each race, well-known content creators competed against each other. The All-Star races took place independently of the PESC, but were no less exciting. Quite the opposite: well-known personalities such as Quirkitzed, Jardier, Idreau or Emree and, in some races, special guests such as Porsche Junior Lauren Heinrich, provided pure entertainment before the main races and warmed up the spectators for the rest of the evening. After ten races, Quirkitzed prevailed over Emree and Borja_Zazo to become PESC All-Stars Champion 2022.
The series continues
An exciting season comes to an end, but preparations for the next one are already in full swing. The open qualifying for the coveted spots in the series starts at the end of July. From October onwards, the 15 fastest riders will continue in the Contender Series against the current 16th to 30th position-holders in the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup. The first 15 of this season have automatically qualified with their performance. Fans can look forward to seeing some familiar faces in the field next season. Be there live as the PESC goes into the next round on the official Porsche Twitch channel.