On the weekend of May 3rd to 5th, the Tuning World Bodensee welcomed the RaceRoom Esports competitors for a huge event. The final of no less than 3 championships was held in Friedrichshafen, on a big stage with 24 simulators and live broadcasts with live commentary, both at the event and online. Further simulators were built up for visitors, where they could try RaceRoom and also qualify for the Saturday races.
Endurance Team Challenge
The first event day started with a true RaceRoom classic: A 4 hour race on the legendary Nordschleife. Several top teams were present and it was debated if the BMW of Williams Esports (Keithley / Löhner / Honzik) or EURONICS Gaming (Kunze / Hasse / Rächl) was the favourite. But in qualifying, there was already the first surprise: Richard Schäfer put the Avid Chronic Racing Mercedes, that he was going to share with Risto Kappet and Adam Pinczes, onto pole position, a full second faster than Keithley.
The race started with excitement from the first corner, when Johannes Weiß moved his Underdog Rac(e)Ings Mercedes into 3rd, passing through the middle of Julian Kunze and Gergo Baldi (Team Hungary Esports). Schäfer drove the race of his life in the first stint, gapping Keithley, and Williams Esports decided to go for a 3-stop strategy, opposed to the common 2-stop, allowing Keithley to drive 2 stints in a row. EURONICS Gaming got past Underdog, and in the middle of the race. Several battles throughout the midfield, involving teams such as RT93 e-sport, Pachura Moto Center or RRVGT, which entered no less than 3 cars, made sure that the race never got boring at any point.
At the halfway mark, Löhner had taken over from Keithley, Kappet was in the Avid Chronic Racing car, and Michael Rächl was behind the wheel for EURONICS. For a brief moment, it looked like Williams was in the virtual lead of the race, but a spin from Löhner at Ex-Mühle meant that the gap dropped significantly. The battle for 4th overall was also hotly contested, with GT Omega RPM, Team Hungary Esports and Oscaro eSports in the mix. With 80 minutes to go, Adam Pinczes took over for ACR, while Rächl swapped with Hasse at EURONICS. Williams waited for a long time with the final pitstop, and when Jaroslav Honzik took over the car, he was on fresh tyres, but only in 3rd place, no less than 35 seconds behind ACR and 20 seconds behind EURONICS.
Honzik pushed hard, but the gap was only changing slightly, until 3 laps before the end, Florian Hasse made a mistake, which meant that Honzik was right on his tail. On the final lap, Honzik pulled off a stunning outside pass on the entrance of the Nordschleife, securing himself 2nd position and a big applause. Adam Pinczes was driving cool at the front though, and crossed the line in first place, securing a well deserved victory for Avid Chronic Racing together with Richard Schäfer, who took the fastest lap, and Risto Kappet. Williams Esports finished 2nd, ahead of EURONICS Gaming. Oscaro eSports came out in 4th place with Bence Bánki and Alexandre Vromant, a huge achievement after starting at the back of the grid, with Team Hungary Esports (Baldi / Nagy / Csuti) rounding out the top 5.
Saturday started off on a light note: Several tuning clubs were invited for a race at their home event. Ronald Lorincz from the Pandacrew secured the victory in an action packed 30 minutes race. But not much later, it got serious. The biggest prize, a 3Motion Simulator worth over 12.000 € was on the line; the winner being decided after three 20-minute sprints in GT1 cars.
With Julian Kunze, Tim Heinemann, Jack Keithley, Moritz Löhner, Florian Hasse, Bence Bánki and Friday’s winners Richard Schäfer and Risto Kappet, several champions were on the grid. In the first qualifying at Slovakiaring, it was Gergo Baldi though who put his Ford GT GT1 on pole for Team Hungary. In the race, he had to withstand immense pressure from Julian Kunze, but Baldi secured the victory and 50 points, winning from Kunze and Heinemann. Mount Panorama was hosting the second race, and this time, it was Tim Heinemann who put it on pole. The German, who drives in the German GT4 Championship, bounced back after several months of very average simracing results, and secured pole and a flawless start-finish victory on one of the hardest tracks of them all. With Kunze second and Baldi third, Heinemann and Baldi entered the final race at Sepang tied on points, just 4 points ahead of Julian Kunze.
At the Malaysian race track, Heinemann put his car on pole once again, right ahead of Kunze, while Jack Keithley pipped Baldi for 3rd. Keithley got a brilliant start and with a very aggressive move in the first chicane, overtook both Kunze and Heinemann. Baldi meanwhile lost all his chances on the first lap, dropping back to 17th after contact. With Keithley leading from Heinemann, you could feel the tension rising, as every previous live event with these two drivers participating ended in contact and drama between the two of them. This time though, Heinemann stayed patient in 2nd, while Kunze also protected his tyres in 3rd, waiting for an incident to happen in front of him. In the second half of the race, Keithley’s tires were dropping off, and with four minutes to go, Heinemann was all over the back of the Englishman. In the braking zone for the final corner, Keithley locked up, and Heinemann went past. Kunze tried to follow, but had to battle with Keithley for several corners, which gave Heinemann the gap he needed to secure the victory and the championship, after a stunning and fair battle with his competitors. Kunze finished the race in 2nd ahead of Keithley and the strong Konrad Zerebiec, while Baldi’s recovery drive to 11th at least meant that he finished the championship in third position.
ADAC GT Masters Esports Championship
After the excitement of Saturday, the final day hosted the final of the ADAC GT Masters Esports Championship. All top drivers of the online championship were present, including online champion Florian Hasse. To spice things up, drivers had to select their cars via a credit system, allowing for different strategies, and there were also 5000 € on the line. Both EURONICS Gaming and Williams Esports sent two teams to the final, but other strong outfits such as Team Hungary Esports, Avid Chronic Racing and Oscaro eSports were also represented.
Three 40-minute races with a mandatory pitstop and driverswap were on the timetable, and after a somewhat disappointing weekend so far, Jack Keithley put his Audi that he was going to share with Moritz Löhner on the pole position at Nürburgring, ahead of Florian Hasse (EURONICS Gaming 1), who shared his car with Julian Kunze. Keithley won the start, while Hasse had to withstand the pressure from Bence Bánki at the start of the race. Coming up to the driver swap, Keithley led by 2,5 seconds, but after the swap, Julian Kunze showed better pace in the EURONICS Audi than Löhner in the Williams car. With 8 minutes to go, Kunze had caught Löhner and pulled off a surprise move around the outside of the turn 1 hairpin, which secured the first victory for EURONICS 1 ahead of Williams Chillblast. Wisniewski and Brzezinski came 3rd for Williams RAZER, ahead of Baldi and Nagy for Hungary Esports and Bánki/Vromant for Oscaro.
In the second race at Zandvoort, it looked like a repeat of Nürburgring, with Keithley dominating early on, and then Kunze catching up to Löhner after the driver swap, but this time Löhner held the lead after immense pressure by Kunze and secured the win, making sure that both teams go into the final on equal points. This time, at Autodrom Most, Kunze and Löhner had to secure qualifying. But it was Nikodem Wisniewski who secured pole, just ahead of Michael Rächl in the EURONICS 2 Mercedes. Kunze started 4th, behind Team Hungary Esports, while Löhner only managed 8th. At the start of the race, both Kunze and Löhner gained a place, but Löhner’s and Keithley’s dream of championship victory ended as early as turn 6, when Löhner had to brake early and was collected by Underdog Rac(e)Ings Corvette, dropping him to the end of the field. Now Julian Kunze could control the championship, but he also had to survive a scary moment, when David Nagy locked up into turn 1 and almost t-boned the EURONICS car. Kunze even managed to pass Rächl for 2nd and then undercut Wisniewski at the pitstop. Florian Hasse came out in the lead of the race, and with his strongest performance of the weekend, set the pace to take the championship win in style, winning the race ahead of Wisniewski/Brzezinski (who came 3rd overall in the championship) and Rächl/Honzik. Jack Keithley and Moritz Löhner recovered to 6th in the race, which secured them the 2nd place in the championship.
This result concluded the RaceRoom Esports Event at Tuning World Bodensee. The next big RaceRoom Esports event is expected to take place in December, with several online championships, races and smaller events to be announced soon! Stay tuned!