On a Wet Track, the Most Unimaginable Comeback Took Place
Gran Turismo World Series 2023 Manufacturers Cup - Showdown
AMSTERDAM, the Netherlands (11 August 2023) – Eight months have passed since the last Gran Turismo World Series (GTWS) live event, but it has returned with a vengeance today as the fastest Gran Turismo players in the world assembled in the impressive main hall of Theater Amsterdam for the World Series Showdown 2023. This spectacular mid-season affair serves as a precursor to the only other live event of the season, the World Finals.
On the first day of competition, the Manufacturers Cup took centre stage, where the top 12 manufacturers went wheel-to-wheel. Each team consisted of three drivers, with each driver required to complete a stint in the race, using all three of the available tyres: soft-, medium-, and hard-compound Michelins. After a qualifying session to determine the grid order, the players lined up their Gr.3 cars on the Suzuka starting grid in front a live audience.
Grand Final: Suzuka Circuit
The venue for the Grand Final was a 35-lap contest of the legendary Japanese racetrack Suzuka Circuit. Sitting on pole position was Team BMW, thanks to a blistering lap by Thomas Labouteley (Aphel-ion) in the late stages of qualifying. Behind his BMW M6 GT3 sat Subaru, Porsche, Honda, and Nissan.
The rolling start saw the BMW, which opted with the hard-compound tyres, lead the eleven other cars through the first corner. Of note was Team Subaru, the only car to start the race on medium-compound tyres, which immediately placed itself on the rear bumper of the BMW M6. The pressure from the Subaru elicited a driving error by BMW driver Rodrigo Regalado (AMS_Rodriguez), who went off the track through Turn 9, allowing four cars to get past. With the BMW out of the way, Subaru took the race lead, followed by Nissan, Honda, and Porsche.
During the next several laps, Subaru driver Takuma Miyazono (Kerokkuma_ej20) opened up an impressive lead of more than 21 seconds by lap 10. The crux of the action was occurring behind him between the Honda NSX, Mazda RX-Vision, Porsche 911 RSR, Lamborghini Huracán, Mercedes-AMG GT, and Nissan GT-R—all on medium-compound tyres—who bumped and scrapped with each other to gain position. The free-for-all resulted in numerous penalties being handed out, yet none of the drivers were willing to give a single inch.
As the rain began splattering on the cars’ windscreen, Renault Sport’s Guy Barbara (Dstinct_Twitchy) took his R.S.01 race car from last on the grid all the way to 3rd by lap 11 and looked to take P2 away from the Lamborghini Huracán of Will Murdoch (WiIIMurdoch).
The Subaru pitted on this lap and returned to the track in 1st on intermediate (wet) tyres, its lead holding at 10 seconds. Other cars followed suit, opting to go with the wet tyres, as the rain came down harder, making the track into a slippery mess.
Certain sections of the circuit were especially dangerous, as the cars still on dry tyres slid off the track one by one. But No. 2 driver Kylian Drumont (R8G_Kylian19) kept his Subaru BRZ coolly in the lead, building his lead back up to 21 seconds in a matter of a couple of laps.
At the halfway point of the race, the running order was Subaru, Lamborghini, Mazda, Porsche, and Toyota.
Around lap 19, the rain began to lighten, and the track gradually began to dry. This prompted several teams to make their final required pit stop on lap 23 and 24 to take on dry tyres and change drivers. Staying out too long on the wet tyres on a dry racetrack translates to disaster as the intermediate compound wears at an accelerated rate.
Race leader Subaru made its final pit stop on lap 25, taking on hard-compound tyres that would take it to the end of the race. Although Subaru No. 3 driver Roberto Sternberg (RVT_AMAROK23) came back onto the track in 2nd place, the team would reclaim the lead when Lamborghini made its pit stop a lap later.
On lap 29, Jose Serrano in the Porsche 911 RSR decided to take matters into his own hands. He overtook the Lamborghini Huracán on the front straight and then set his sights on the Subaru, which was 11 seconds in front. Although his car was on faster medium-compound tyres than the Subaru’s hard-compounds, no one believed that he could actually catch the BRZ in less than five laps. But he seemed to think so, putting on a driving clinic masterclass, gradually eating into Subaru’s lead, and on lap 33, doing the unimaginable. He passed the BRZ through Turn 12 to claim the overall race lead. And the Spaniard would not look back, taking his Porsche all the way to the chequered flag for a remarkable 1st place finish! In 2nd place was Subaru, while Lamborghini rounded out the podium.
Team Porsche was in fact a man down, competing with only two drivers because their ace, Angel Inostroza (Veloce_Loyrot), was unable to make the trip to the Netherlands due to an injury.
“This victory was for Angelito, who couldn’t make it here,” Jose Serrano said after the race. “Winning this one was like winning the lottery because the rain made everything unpredictable.”
No. 2 driver Takuma Sasaki (SZ_TakuAn22) added: “This was one of the most fun and roughest races I have ever driven!”
Gran Turismo World Series 2023 Manufacturers Cup - Showdown
Grand Final Results
|Rank||Manufacturer / Drivers||Time|
|1||Porsche Jose Serrano / Takuma Sasaki||1:14'27.687|
|2||Subaru Takuma Miyazono / Roberto Sternberg / Kylian Drumont||+6.385|
|3||Lamborghini Will Murdoch / Randall Haywood / Yuki Kodaka||+10.682|
|4||Toyota Adriano Carrazza / Coque López / Rikuto Kobayashi||+15.760|
|5||Nissan Ryota Kokubun / Mehdi Hafidi / Mateo Estevez||+20.031|
|6||BMW Rodrigo Regalado / Seiya Suzuki / Thomas Labouteley||+27.534|
|7||Honda Soki Nabetani / Valerio Gallo / João Pessôa||+33.166|
|8||Genesis Dean Heldt / Nicolas Romero / Yuito Sasaki||+34.266|
|9||Mazda Pol Urra / Hiroshi Okumoto / Robert Heck||+39.655|
|10||Renault Guy Barbara / Alex López Murillo / Arthur Mosso||+40.572|
|11||McLaren Donovan Parker / Konstantinos Konstantinou / Koki Mizuno||+42.468|
|12||Mercedes-AMG Lucas Bonelli / Tomoaki Yamanaka / Baptiste Beauvois||+46.207|