Virtual stage set for GT World Challenge Asia Esports presented by Tarmac Works Charity Cup at Suzuka

28 August 2020

> Asia’s real-world and sim drivers gear up for two 60-minute races
> Races from 20:10 ICT / 21:10 HKT / 22:10 JST this Saturday
> Entry lists: Real-PRO & AM | Sim-PRO & AM
> Five-round Championship now begins on October 6
> Donate to Save The Children

The inaugural GT World Challenge Asia Esports presented by Tarmac Works event takes place on Saturday (August 29) when real-world and sim drivers contest one of two Charity Cup races at Suzuka.

It will be the first time that SRO Motorsports Group’s expanding virtual portfolio, which already includes series in Europe and North America, has fully focused on Asia’s burgeoning esports environment. Many of the continent’s best-known real-world GT professionals and amateurs will contest the first 60-minute race before their expert sim racing counterparts take on 24 public qualifiers in the second hour-long contest.

Suzuka, currently the only Asian circuit to feature in Assetto Corsa Competizione, acts as the ideal starting point for GT World Challenge Asia Esports. Japan’s long-time grand prix venue and home to the Suzuka 10 Hours is considered one of the toughest circuits in world motorsport and has hosted SRO’s real-world continental championship since 2017. It will also stage the season finale of this year’s five-round GT World Challenge Asia Esports Championship, which now begins at Monza on October 6.

SRO’s Asian esports platform features several differences to the European and North America versions staged earlier this year.

Firstly, organisers have set out to create Asia’s most professional sim racing environment and promote the continent’s top talent. As such, drivers from China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand will all compete on Saturday, while several more from the Pacific region in Australia and New Zealand add further variety.

A mandatory pitstop will also be a regular feature of this weekend’s Charity Cup and subsequent Championship races. Drivers are free to make their stop at any point during the 60-minute race and can choose whether to change tyres and how much fuel to add. Strategy could therefore prove as important as outright speed, just like the real thing.

There is also greater manufacturer diversity in a Sim-AM class that features the two fastest qualifiers per brand. All 24 drivers have progressed from a public hot lap competition, which was open to Asian residents aged 18 and over. They will now race on equal terms with their professional sim counterparts at Suzuka where AK Informatica’s custom Balance of Performance data will be applied to all entries.


THE CONTENDERS

Suzuka’s Real-PRO and AM entries are packed full of familiar teams and drivers eager to prove their skills in the virtual world. In fact, this weekend’s Charity Cup features no less than six GT World Challenge Asia race winners and three former champions.

2017 GT3 Silver Cup champion Shaun Thong (Excape Racing), 2019 front runner Tanart Sathienthirakul (Absolute Racing) and 2017 GT4 title winner Frank Yu (Craft-Bamboo Racing) have all stood on the top step of Suzuka’s real podium.

Yuke Taniguchi (KCMG) and Craft-Bamboo duo David Pun and Darryl O’Young complete the list of overall race winners, while Naoto Takeda (Turner Motorsport) claimed GT3’s Am crown in 2018.

There’s also no shortage of current and former drivers and teams, as well as several amateurs who have achieved virtual and real success outside of SRO’s environment.

Will Bamber and Andrew Haryanto will race their respective EBM Porsche and JMW Bentley, John Shen lines up for Modena Motorsports, Melvin Moh represents Craft-Bamboo, and Legacy Racing Team Malaysia enter separate Mercedes-AMGs for real-world Am Cup co-drivers Leona Chin and Tengku Djan Ley.

Meanwhile, Tarmac eMotorsports – the team entered by GT World Challenge Asia Esports presenting partners Tarmac Works – have enlisted the services of Adderly Fong and Duvashen Padayachee.

Two of Porsche Carrera Cup Asia’s leading amateurs will also provide stern opposition to the GT regulars after Antares Au (Modena Motorsports) and Yuey Tan (TFD Racing Team) finished one-three in the manufacturer’s Pro/Am esports standings earlier this year. Tan is also a former real-world PCCA class champion.

The Sim-PRO & AM race also features its fair share of heavy hitters, as well as four real-world teams.

Legacy Racing’s Mika Hakimi represented Malaysia in the Virtual Le Mans 24 Hours earlier this, while Charles Theseira (Craft-Bamboo) competed for Singapore’s at the FIA Motorsport Games in 2019 and has twice contested the Gran Turismo Asia Cup.

Former GT Academy Japan finalist Yuki Shirakawa lines up for SACCESS eSports, and Vattana Motorsport field Thai hopeful Bank Thanathip.

Others to look out for include 2019 McLaren Shadow Project Asia Pacific champion Josh Purwein (Comrade Gaming) and Legion of Racers representative Luis Moreno who, in May, won Alex Yoong’s inaugural ERacing GP SEA: Philippines Edition competition.

The non-championship Charity Cup event takes place this Saturday from 20:10 ICT / 21:10 CST / 22:10 JST. Live coverage hosted by esports experts Ben Constanduros and Paul Jeffrey begins 10 minutes before Race 1 and is available on GT World Challenge Asia’s website and Facebook page, SRO’s Youtube and Twitch channels, and sro-esport.com.


ABOUT GT WORLD CHALLENGE ASIA ESPORTS

SRO Motorsports Group’s officially sanctioned sim racing franchise extends to Asia this autumn with the creation of the GT World Challenge Asia Esports presented by Tarmac Works. The five-round campaign begins on October 6 and follows standalone, non-championship Charity Cup races at Suzuka on August 29.

Assetto Corsa Competizione – the official game of GT World Challenge Powered by AWS – will host all six events after successfully staging SRO’s European and US esports championships earlier this year.

Indeed, following the success of its other esports series, SRO is now fully focused on providing Asia’s real-world drivers, pro sim racers and general public with a professionally managed and highly competitive online racing environment. Experience gained in Europe and America will make GT World Challenge Asia Esports SRO’s most polished sim racing product to date and introduce several new aspects familiar to fans of real-world competition.

Like its continental counterparts Asia’s esports series will be staged on Assetto Corsa Competizione’s popular PC platform with the help of ACC’s developers, Kunos Simulazioni, while AK Informatica will once again provide first-class technical assistance and management.


2020 GT WORLD CHALLENGE ASIA ESPORTS CALENDAR

Charity Cup – August 29 – Suzuka, JPN (non-championship)
R1 – October 06 – Monza, ITA
R2 – October 27 – Laguna Seca, USA
R3 – November 10 – Silverstone, UK
R4 – November 24 – Spa-Francorchamps, BEL
R5 – December 08 – Suzuka, JPN