The Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup (PESC) heads into the new season this coming Saturday, 5 February. On this occasion, the 375 kW (510 PS) Porsche 911 GT3 Cup will celebrate its digital racing debut on the virtual version of the Hockenheim Grand Prix circuit. This year, 35 of the world’s best esports sim racers from 16 countries fight for championship points and prize money totalling US$ 200,000 in the 992-generation Cup-911. The global championship contested on the iRacing simulation platform comprises ten rounds and concludes in early June with the season finale at the Autodromo Nazionale in Monza. In addition to revered racetracks such as the Nürburgring-Nordschleife and the Circuit des 24 Heures in Le Mans, the calendar again includes the Formula 1 circuits in Barcelona, Silverstone, Montréal and Spa-Francorchamps. Moreover, the virtual one-make cup series competes on the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria, for the first time. Another novelty: via online voting, the esports community decides which circuit will host round three of the season.
“Porsche Motorsport kicked off the new sim racing year in mid-January with a podium result at the virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans – now the countdown is on for the start of the 2022 Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup season,” states Marco Ujhasi, Manager Esports at Porsche Motorsport. “And for the first time, the 911 GT3 Cup, based on the 992 generation, is showcased in the virtual Porsche one-make cup as the new competition car. 2022 marks the fourth season for this popular series and again we have an international lineup. We look forward to some action-packed races – and so are the many fans.”
Top-class grid fights for the championship title
Sebastian Job from the Red Bull Racing Esports team aims to clinch his second title in the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup: The British sim racer claimed the championship crown in 2020. “My goal is very clearly to win the championship. Last year I had to give in to others, unfortunately,” explains the 21-year-old. “Some of the top drivers from last season are not competing this year but the competition is still strong and the fight for the title will be a tough challenge. Right now I have to familiarise myself with the new car but we should have everything under control by the first race!”
Other title aspirants determined to wrest the crown from the reigning champion Joshua Rogers are Job’s compatriot Kevin Ellis Jr, who competes for the Apex Racing team, and Charlie Collins from the Virtual Racing School. After winning the series for the second time since 2019, the 2021 champion from Australia will not compete this year.
David Williams wins the Contender Series and progresses into the PESC
As always, the limited grid spots for the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup were highly coveted. Only the top 20 drivers from last season received automatic entry into this year’s series. To get one of the 15 remaining cockpits, candidates from all over the world had to first tackle a two-stage selection process. During stage one, all iRacing registered users could participate in a special qualifying competition. In stage two, the top 15 drivers in the overall standings advanced to the so-called Contender Series. At six events held in September and October last year, those 15 went up against esports racers who had finished on positions 21 to 40 in the 2021 PESC.
David Williams from Great Britain emerged as the winner. The Virtual Racing School driver relegated Frenchman Quentin Vialatte and Belgium’s Julien Soenen (both R8G eSports) to positions two and three. With twelve other contestants from the shootout, they can now look forward to racing in the 2022 PESC. Racing pro Ayhancan Güven returns to the grid. As a Porsche Junior, the 24-year-old Turkish driver concluded last year’s real Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup in third place.
At the season-opening round of the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup on the Hockenheimring, sim racers pit themselves against each other in a sprint race over nine laps starting at 8.00 pm (CET) on 5 February, followed by the main race over twice the distance at approximately 8.25 pm. Fans can watch the iRacing action live online on Porsche’s channels YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/c/Porsche) and Twitch (http://www.twitch.tv/porsche).
Prominent influencers contest the All-Star Series
Well-known content creators from the Esports racing scene will showcase their skills in a support series. They fight for victory in the TAG Heuer Esports Supercup All-Star Series. Australia’s Emily Jones alias “Emree” competes as the defending champion. Other celebrity influencers include Jimmy Broadbent, Jaroslav Honzík – better known online as “Jardier” – as well as Pierre-Olivier “Depielo” Valette. At selected events, racing drivers from the Porsche Motorsports squad will enter a virtual cockpit and take on the international field.
A special feature of the All-Star Series: The virtual Porsche 911 GT3 Cup will be fielded for the first three races of the season. After that, the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 and the 911 GT3 R will each race at three more events. A vote by the community determines which car will be driven at the finale. The live stream begins at 6.30 pm (CET) with the All-Star qualifying session. The two influencer races get the green light at 6.45 pm and 7.05 pm respectively. Further information on the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup can be found on the Porsche Motorsport Hub, Porsche Newsroom and the Twitter account @PorscheRaces.
The schedule (all times CET)*
Saturday, 5 February
6:30 – 6:45 pm: Qualifying All-Stars
6:45 – 7:00 pm: Sprint race All-Stars
7:05 – 7:30 pm: Main race All-Stars
7:47 – 8:00 pm: Qualifying PESC
8:00 – 8:15 pm: Sprint race PESC
8:25 – 8:55 pm: Main race PESC
* these times may vary slightly
The 2022 racing calendar
05.02.2022 – Germany: Hockenheimring (9/18 laps)
19.02.2022 – Spain: Barcelona (9/18 laps)
05.03.2022 – tba after online voting
19.03.2022 – Great Britain: Silverstone Grand Prix circuit (7/14 laps)
26.03.2022 – Austria: Spielberg (10/20 laps)
09.04.2022 – Canada: Montreal (10/20 laps)
23.04.2022 – Belgium: Spa-Francorchamps (6/12 laps)
07.05.2022 – Germany: Nürburgring-Nordschleife, 24-hour version (3/4 laps)
21.05.2022 – France: Le Mans (3/6 laps)
04.06.2022 – Italy: Monza (7/14 laps)
(in brackets: number of laps for sprint and main race)