eSports: Williams’ Mitchell makes perfect start at the Glen
> SVR’s Southby doubles up in GT4
The opening round of this season’s TORA British GT eSports Championship took place last Sunday when 172 of more than 220 registered entries competed at Watkins Glen.
Pole went to the Williams eSports BMW M6 GT3 driven by Gary Mitchell wo qualified just 0.1s ahead of Jacob Bowkett’s Aerox Mercedes-AMG - a car that proved extremely fast in the opening stages of 2018.
Meanwhile, reigning champion Aerox Vain qualified his new BMW M6 sixth for the season opener.
A close start to Race 1 saw the BMWs and leading Aston Martin Vantages all fighting for positions at the front. Indeed, the Williams eSports and SVR examples in particular remained glued together for the majority of the opening stint. That was until SVR’s early pitstops resulted in Marty O'Connell and Charlie Crossland losing time when they emerged amongst the battling GT4 pack.
Earlier pitstops for the Aerox entries also played a part in Williams’ Mitchell inheriting a lead he would maintain to the finish. The only Mercedes-AMG in the top lobby ultimately finished second courtesy of Bowkett, while Michael Coyne’s Aston Martin made it three Williams eSports entries on the podium.
Elsewhere, SVR's Aston Martin squad produced top performances in their new cars with Sam James picking up his best British GT finish ever in fifth place.
Race 2 would see Mitchell finish off an impressive double victory for Williams eSports, which was further enhanced by a fantastic second place for their privateer Aston Martin entered by Coyne.
Indeed, it was Aston Martin’s best-ever British GT eSports result, which was topped off by SVR’s James who added a podium to his earlier fifth place.
In GT4, JSR's Daniel Southby claimed Race 1 pole position aboard the much fancied Aston Martin Vantage. His team-mate Chris Farkas lined up alongside for an all-JSR Aston front row.
The two Vantages initially broke away while the rest of the pack battled for the remaining podium spot. Southby resisted the urge to pit early, managing his tyres well into the race and held onto his lead after a quick turnaround from his crew.
He took the chequered flag ahead of last season’s GT3 runner-up Kurt von Autenreid whose Mercedes-AMG led a Aerox two-three following Lee Campbell’s late retirement.
Campbell’s bad luck continued in Race 2 when more technical issues curtailed his involvement early on. But there were no such worries for Southby who finished off a faultless weekend for his Aston Martin Vantage by claiming a second victory ahead of Von Autenreid and Farkas.
The TORA British GT eSports Championship continues at Circuit de la Catalunya on April 28.