A thrilling last lap battle was a fitting end to season one of SRO America’s GT Rivals Esports Invitational at the virtual Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit. David Perel emerged victorious in the Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 in his home country of South Africa.
Perel crossed the line just two-tenths of a second ahead of Bryan Heitkotter, who erased a two-second margin in the closing laps. As the two worked through lapped traffic on the last lap, Perel missed his apex in the Crocodiles, allowing Heitkotter to look for a way by. In the end, Perel had just enough to hold off Heitkotter’s Nissan for his first GT Rivals victory.
Two real world professional race car drivers with extensive sim racing experience showed that virtual racing is just as real and equally as exciting to watch.
Bryan Heitkotter’s GT Rivals season was a dream season. Piloting the same Nissan GT-R GT3 Nismo he drove to multiple victories in Pirelli World Challenge, Heitkotter picked up five overall wins, a second, third, and fifth place finish. Showcasing his skills behind the wheel and consistency that’s provided him with success across his career.
Tom O’Gorman made the most of the GT Rivals finale, earning pole position in the ASUS Republic of Gamers Porsche 991.2 GT3 R. He dropped back at the start, but drove his best race to finish in third just behind Perel and Heitkotter.
Canadian Nelson Mason started from the back of the grid due a carryover penalty from Bathurst. Practice proved he’d have the pace to run up front, but starting last would be a challenge. In a spirited drive, he made his way to the front and crossed the line in fourth in his Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo.
Champion Motorsports sim racer, Thomas Lastre brought home a top 5 finish in the Bentley Continental GT3. The highest finishing sim racer in the field, Lastre survived the opening lap and settled into the race with a strong drive to bring home fifth.
Nick McMillan bounced back to a sixth-place finish after being involved in the first lap incident that sent him to the back of the pack. ST Racing’s Jon Miller slid back to seventh, in front of a British battle between Dakota Dickerson in the Bentley and Colin Mullan in the McLaren taking eighth and ninth respectively. Kenny Murillo closed out the season in his Mercedes-AMG with a top 10 finish.
Overall, the inaugural season of GT Rivals esports competition on Assetto Corsa Competizione did not disappoint. With the motorsports world on hold during this pandemic, SRO America’s real world pro racers, Champion Motorsports sim racers, and our invited guest drivers were exciting to follow each and every round.
As SRO America prepares to restart its the regular racing season at VIR in July, it plans more sim racing events. Stay tuned for announcements on Season 2 of GT Rivals as well as special events due to take place throughout the remainder of this year.