> Sim: Rose becomes first female overall race winner; Laurenson claims PRO class victory
> Real: Lights-to-flag win for Wells; Tse seals AM title in style
> Race results: Sim-PRO & AM | Real-PRO & AM
> Final championship points: Sim-PRO & AM | Real-PRO & AM
Duvashen Padayachee, Kevin Tse, Andika Rama Maulana and Philippa Boquida are the inaugural TCL GT World Challenge Asia Esports Presented by Tarmac Works champions after each clinched their respective class titles at Suzuka’s season finale earlier today (December 8).
History was also made in the Sim race where Mia Rose (Privateer, Aston Martin) became the first woman to win an SRO Esports event outright. What’s more, she was followed home by Boquida (Laundry House, McLaren) who made sure of the AM title by finishing second overall. Team-mate Andrew Laurenson (Porsche) picked up the Pro win in third overall while fourth in class was enough for Andika Rama Maulana (Legion of Racers, Mercedes-AMG) to wrap up the Sim-PRO crown.
The second 60-minute race featured a straight shootout for the Real-PRO championship between Melvin Moh (Craft-Bamboo Racing, Mercedes-AMG) and Padayachee (Tarmac eMotorsports, Mercedes-AMG). The latter recovered from a tricky start to ultimately seal the crown by completing the overall podium behind race winner Dan Wells (Leipert Motorsport, Lamborghini) and chief title rival, Moh.
Further back, Tse (Craft-Bamboo Racing, Mercedes-AMG) finished fifth overall and scored his third Real-AM victory of the campaign en route to the class championship.
SIM: ROSE AND BOQUIDA MAKE HISTORY; MAULANA WINS PRO CROWN
An early coming together between the front row starters set up a fascinating first race at Suzuka where the same incident left Sim-PRO champion-elect Andika Rama Maulana playing catch up while giving Philippa Boquida an easier route to the AM class title.
Maulana’s contact with pole-sitter Karl Petersen effectively ended the AM championship contender’s chances but also resulted in a drive-through penalty for the PRO points’ leader, who dropped down the order as a result.
It also elevated Boquida into the overall race lead, a position she would comfortably maintain until serving her mandatory pitstop after 40 minutes. Her progress thereafter suggested the Australian would comfortably re-take the place once the stops had shaken out, but that didn’t account for Mia Rose whose pace and faster pitstop helped her jump from third to a net first late on.
She duly cruised to her second Sim-AM class win and first overall victory of the season ahead of Boquida who was happy to take no chances in securing the title.
An early pitstop meant Andrew Laurenson’s true position didn’t become clear until the final 15 minutes when, one by one, the Laundry House Porsche picked off the late stoppers. Like Rose, he also came through to claim a second PRO class victory of the campaign ahead of Kelvin Chen whose 911 remained a top-five contender throughout and rounded off the AM podium.
Behind, PRO’s championship rivals took the chequered flag together, albeit with Kin Long Li just ahead of Maulana who worked his way back to the front after serving his penalty. In any case, Li wouldn’t have scored sufficient points to overhaul the Indonesian.
Ryan Hoolihan dropped to seventh late on but still scored sufficient points to finish second in the final AM standings, while long-time PRO leader Charles Theseira also faded to eighth following his late pitstop.
REAL: PADAYACHEE LEAVES IT LATE TO DENY MOH
60 minutes of fluctuating fortunes for the PRO title contenders summed up the Real race at Suzuka where Dan Wells claimed victory and Duvashen Padayachee wrapped up the championship.
However, Jasper Thong’s lap one collision initially threatened to derail Padayachee’s title tilt almost before it began. Having started third – right behind championship rival Moh – the Tarmac eMotorsports Mercedes-AMG was down to eighth and stuck amongst traffic. A second incident 10 minutes later only compounded matters and, whether planned or on a whim, it sent the Australian diving for the pits.
Back at the front Moh didn’t quite have the pace to live with Wells but was content that, as things stood, he would be crowned champion. Indeed, it wasn’t until the final 15 minutes that a seemingly re-focused Padayachee began picking off the late stoppers to put himself back into the title mix.
Every place gained inched him closer to Moh’s theoretical points total. Fifth in class would leave him a point shy, but one more spot would be enough to overhaul the Craft-Bamboo Mercedes-AMG. The top-two were, by then, too far clear to be caught. But the late-stopping Matt Solomon, Evan Chen and Tengku Djan Ley all provided hope.
Sure enough all three emerged behind Padayachee who swept through to complete the Real overall podium and seal the PRO title by four points.
Solomon – whose class was incorrectly marked as AM – came home fourth ahead of the genuine AM class winner Kevin Tse who finished a fine fifth overall. It was also more than sufficient to wrap up the championship after his only rival, Billy Lo, endured a tricky race.
Chen wound up sixth after stopping late while Kang Ling recovered from a meeting with 130R’s barriers to finish seventh. Ley, Matthew Marsh and JiaTong Liang completed the top-10.
Antares Au was second in the Am class (and 12th overall), while Lo completed the class podium down in 18th overall.
TCL GT World Challenge Asia Esports Presented by Tarmac Works will return in 2021.