eSports: FTR takes TORA enduro win at Indianapolis
Porsche claimed its maiden TORA British GT eSports Championship victory in round three at Indianapolis last weekend courtesy of FTR and their patriotically liveried RSR.
Indianapolis’ road course, substituting for British GT’s real-life round at Rockingham, hosted the first of this year’s four one-hour mini-enduros. These require a different skill set to the shorter ‘sprint’ events as drivers are required to race for a full 60-minute stint with all the tyre and fuel management that entails.
Qualifying saw FTR claim their strongest positions so far with third for Kurt von Autenried and pole for (FTR Vain). Double Virginia International Raceway winner Ross May was again aboard the JSR Mercedes and continued his top form by splitting the FTR Porsches.
In GT4, Japspeed Racing's Daniel Southby (Nissan) took a narrow pole ahead of Hayden Thompson’s Mercedes-AMG. Round 1 pole-sitter Gary Mitchell would have to settle for third this time out.
Elsewhere, Century Motorsport's new BMW M4 continued its impressive run of form by hitting the top lobby once again in the hands of Liam Tomlin.
From the start (FTR Vain) maintained position through the challenging first sector by soaking up significant pressure from May’s JSR Mercedes before starting to build a gap from lap two onwards.
Mason Gutteridge, in the FTR UK Mercedes, made an early pass on Von Autenried’s Porsche and held third up until the pair neared the pitstop window and traffic began to play a role. As the Mercedes and Porsche lapped the lead GT4 battle a moment’s hesitation from Gutteridge allowed von Autenried to close the gap, but not by quite enough to force a pass.
As tyre wear began to become a factor, Ross May slowly fell back into the clutches of the FTR UK Mercedes before pitting, allowing Gutteridge to take second, albeit temporarily.
Once the pitstops shook out, May recovered second from a pressuring Gutteridge and the second FTR Porsche.
But there was no stopping (FTR Vain) who continued on unopposed to take a solid win ahead of a relieved May and von Autenried, the American inheriting third place after a late technical issue forced Gutteridge to retire the Mercedes with only minutes left on the clock.
Fourth would go to Callum Rogers in his AMS Porsche with Marty O'Donnell rounding out the top five.
The strong performance from FTR's American squad moves them into the lead of the GT3 Teams’ championship while Ross May holds a narrow six-point advantage over (FTR Vain) in the Drivers’ standings.
In GT4 a titanic battle between Southby and Mitchell continued from the start deep into the race, and included Southby completing an audacious recovery pass around the outside at Turn 1 after a slight mistake at the final corner had given Mitchell a good run in his Audi.
The Nissan performed admirably under relentless attacks from the much newer R8 and AMG GT-R of Hayden Thompson. Two laps later, Mitchell made his pass finally stick after a side-by-side draw through the final complex onto the pit straight, though before long the 370Z was right back with the Audi and challenging for the class win with 20 minutes to go. The intense battle continued right to the flag with Thompson unable to quite catch the lead battle and settling for third.
The win at Indianapolis maintained Gary Mitchell’s perfect start to the season, while Daniel Southby kicked off his British GT campaign in fine style.
Hayden Thompson’s run to third ensured the Brit maintained second in the standings with Team GTR overhauling TUS for the GT4 Teams’ lead.
The next rounds of the TORA British GT eSports Championship on Forza Motorsport 7 take place on June 3 at the Le Mans Bugatti Circuit. The French venue was chosen for its likeness to Snetterton, which hosts the series’ next real-world event one week earlier (May 26/27).
Watch Indianapolis’ race, and every other championship round, on-demand via YMTV's YouTube page.
3 Snetterton, May 26-27 >> TICKETS
4 Silverstone 500, June 9-10 >> TICKETS
5 Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium), July 21-22 >> TICKETS (FREE ENTRY)
6 Brands Hatch, August 4-5 >> TICKETS
7 Donington Park, September 22-23 >> TICKETS