> Full Pace Racing’s Huang/Chen out to extend Endurance Series lead
> Bathurst 6 Hours entry list
The iconic Mount Panorama plays host to round two of 2021’s GT World Challenge Asia Esports Endurance Series this Saturday (November 13) when KuiSheng Huang and Kelvin Chen defend their early championship lead on Assetto Corsa Competizione.
Full Pace Racing’s Ferrari duo, who are joined for the Bathurst 6 Hours by ZhaoJie Zheng, beat Fadhli Rachmat and Avila Bahar (JMX Phantom, McLaren) by just 0.2s in a thrilling finish at Monza two weeks ago to establish a seven-point lead atop the standings.
However, the 488 and 720S might not have things all their own way Down Under at a circuit where SRO’s Asian esports series has never raced.
What’s more, the addition of a third driver per car could also shake up the competitive order at what is arguably the most demanding circuit in ACC. Its narrow, concrete-lined mountain section requires particular finesse and skill to avoid serious damage whilst chasing lap time.
Racing double the distance compared with Monza could also place a greater emphasis on pit strategy. The maximum single stint length remains 65 minutes, meaning each team must stop at least five times. However, the maximum total drive time per driver has increased to 195 minutes (three full stints), while the race’s longer duration allows those five stops to be made in wider ‘windows’ rather than around each hour mark, as was the case two weeks ago.
CAN ANYONE GATECRASH THE ‘BIG THREE’?
Two additional cars, both fielded by Z-Challenger Racing, complete an otherwise unchanged provisional 19-strong Bathurst entry. But on the evidence of Monza, at least, three teams – Full Pace Racing, JMX Phantom and Legion of Racers – start as overwhelming favourites.
Simply put, the Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes-AMG teams were in a race of their own for most of the three hours before Chen and Rachmat engaged in their thrilling finish.
While JMX Phantom has added Presley Martono to its line-up, Legion of Racers will be hoping Moreno Pratama can propel Dillan Tan and Andika Rama Maulana from third to first. Their Monza victory hopes faded after leading the opening hour, but the crew – featuring this year’s second and third-place Sprint Series finishers – should be back in the frame at Bathurst.
The same goes for two entries that, without various incidents, might also have been podium contenders.
Wako’s Fliptable Racing’s Aston Martin shared by Kin Long Li and Law Yat Lam appeared down and out after 20 minutes but demonstrated prodigious pace en route to an unlikely fourth place. Likewise Philippa Boquida and Andrew Laurenson who brought Laundry House’s Mercedes-AMG home sixth despite a slew of penalties.
Ahead, Serge Mironenko and Roland Schmid (The Odd Balls, Honda) took an alternative approach to making it as many different manufacturers in the overall top-five. And consistent, mistake-free stints might well prove the best option at a circuit as notoriously demanding as Mount Panorama.
Recent history also bodes well for the NSX, which scored its first major esports win at Bathurst when GT World Challenge America visited in September. That endurance race was won by the manufacturer’s official sim racing team, HPD JAS Pro America, whose Asian counterpart is entered this weekend.
Bentley remain the joint-best represented manufacturer with Mercedes-AMG courtesy of their four cars, while Lamborghini and Porsche also appear on the entry.
Live coverage of the virtual Bathurst 6 Hours begins this Saturday at 16:00 HKT / 09:00 CEST / 08:00 GMT on SRO’s GT World YouTube channel and Twitch before the race starts 10 minutes later.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: ASIA ESPORTS ENDURANCE SERIES
At Bathurst entries must comprise three drivers each of whose total drive-time across the three-hour race cannot exceed 195 minutes.
The maximum stint length is 65 minutes but drivers may complete as many successive stints as the team wishes provided their total drive-time is not exceeded.
A 30-minute practice session and 15-minute qualifying session immediately precede the race. Grid positions are determined by each crew’s fastest individual lap rather than a cumulative or average time.
Points are awarded to the top-10 finishers on the basis of:
1st 25 - 2nd 18 - 3rd 15 - 4th 12 - 5th 10 - 6th 8 - 7th 6 - 8th 4 - 9th 2 - 10th 1
The top-five teams at the end of the season will each win a share of the €15,000 prize fund.
BATHURST 6 HOURS TIMETABLE
06:30 GMT / 14:30 HKT: Free Practice (30mins)
07:15 GMT / 15:15 HKT: Qualifying (15mins)
08:10 GMT / 16:10 HKT: Race