Race Report

A Rock-solid Strategy Mixed With Incredible Driving Talent Wins the Day

Gran Turismo World Series 2023 Nations Cup - Showdown

AMSTERDAM, the Netherlands (August 11, 2023) – Welcome to a new format of the Gran Turismo World Series Nations Cup. Representing the first GTWS live event of the year, the 2023 World Series Showdown—held at the picturesque Amsterdam Theater in front of a packed crowd—culminated with the reimagined Nations Cup, which is no longer a race for individuals, but one contested by 12 different countries represented by teams of three.

After a thrilling finish to the Manufacturers Cup race yesterday, the audience was treated to an equally exciting display of competition in the Nations Cup team event. Going into the day, the favorites were France—led by 2022 Showdown winner Kylian Drumont (R8G_Kylian19) and series mainstay Thomas Labouteley (Aphel-ion). Spain was also forecasted to be a top contender, thanks to the presence of 2022 World Finals champion Coque López (coquelopez14) and his teammate Jose Serrano (TDG_JOSETE), fresh off an impressive win the day before in the Manufacturers Cup. But with every top-ranked driver here to race for national pride, the Grand Final turned out to be an exceptionally hard-fought battle.

Grand Final: Autodrome Lago Maggiore

The full-course layout of Gran Turismo’s Autodrome Lago Maggiore track was the stage for the first ever Nations Cup team event. All three drivers on each team were required to take at least one stint behind the wheel of the Red Bull X2019 Competition race car, with each one of them having to use at least one set each of the soft-, medium-, and hard-compound tires for the 30-lap contest. In the qualifying race, Kylian Drumont came on top, putting France on pole position for the Grand Final. Sitting behind him was Spain, Italy, and Japan.

The highly powered Gran Turismo original race cars, bathed in their country’s colors, sped through the rolling start as they tried to best each other to the first corner. Already, race strategy was in play: all the top four cars started the contest on medium-compound tires, except Spain, which opted for the softs, no doubt intending to pry away the race lead from France and create a large lead.

And it worked to perfection, as Pol Urra (GG_PolUrra) of Spain raced past Frenchman Labouteley through Turn 5 to claim the overall lead. Rikuto Kobayashi (TX3_tokari71) of Japan made a daring move on Giorgio Mangano (LUA_Gio) of Italy at the end of the first lap to slide into 3rd place.

By lap 5, Spain had opened up an 8.8-second gap over 2nd-place France, while Japan and Italy remained in hot pursuit of the leaders. With the cars reaching 330 km/h on the back straight, all the racers exercised caution unlike the free-for-all style of the Manufacturers Cup. At the end of lap 9, the first cars came in for their pitstops.

At the end of lap of 11, France, Japan and Italy, pitted, reshuffling the running order when they returned to the track. Oddly, Spain remained out on the track, despite its rear soft-compound tires worn to the maximum. On the next lap, Spain finally came in, with Coque López taking over the driving duties and switching to medium-compound tires. He was able to return to the track in P1, with a nearly 5-second lead over New Zealand, which had yet to pit.

At the halfway point of the race, and all cars completing one pitstop, the running order was Spain, Canada, Japan, Italy, France, with Canada, who worked its way up from P8 with masterful performance by No. 2 driver Ethan Lim (VQS_Ethan). By this time, Spain had extended its lead to 24 seconds.

Not long after, former Nations Cup champion Igor Fraga (IOF_RACING17) began a hard charge up the leaderboard, taking the Brazilian car that started 7th on the grid all the way to P4 on lap 17. A lap later, he easily sped by Japan to claim 3rd place, his sights now set on Team Canada, which was running 11 seconds ahead.

On lap 19 and 20, Japan, Italy, France and Brazil took their final pitstops, all going to the soft-compound tires to take them the rest of the way. Race leader Spain and Canada pitted next, both taking on the hard-compound tires. The question now was, “Will their 33-second lead over Japan, Brazil, Italy, and France be enough to keep them their leads with seven laps to go?”

Not for Canada. As they slid down the running order, giving way to Japan, Brazil, France, and Italy, Spain was easily able to hold its lead and take it all the way to the checkered flag. Japan finished in a well-deserved 2nd place with Brazil rounding out the podium in 3rd place.

“After the qualifying race, where we finished in 2nd, it was pretty clear we had to start on the soft tires. It really worked out for us.” Pol Urra said.

Jose Serrano added, “We started well with Pol behind the wheel, and then Coque came in and went really, really fast. When it was my turn, I just wanted to push and push, and we ended up winning.”

Coque López said: “Having this new format is great, especially when my teammates are faster than me. We really prepared well for this race to achieve this good result.”

Gran Turismo World Series 2023 Nations Cup - Showdown
Grand Final Results

Rank Driver Time
1 46'51.256
2 +15.968
3 +17.984
4 +21.919
5 +24.719
6 +30.186
7 +42.470
8 +44.548
9 +44.609
10 +53.508
11 +1'00.038
12 +1'08.870