The SRO Motorsports Group will greatly expand its Esports offering this season, with this weekend’s opening round in Monza set to feature a double header of the Fanatec GT Pro Series alongside the new SIM Pro Series.
Across the two contests – held live from the Arena in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS paddock on Saturday and Sunday respectively – the world’s best GT3 drivers will first go head-to-head, before the cream of the sim racing community comes together for the new SIM Pro contest.
Having worked closely with partners Fanatec and AK Esports, SRO’s Esports programme will effectively double this season, with the popular Fanatec GT Pro Series returning for a third season. This features professional GT3 drivers competing for the chance to win both prize money and real-world championship points for their teams.
It will be joined by the new SIM Pro Series, which will showcase some of the best virtual racing talent in the world fighting within their own championship. All races will be held on the class-leading Assetto Corsa Competizione platform – the official game of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS.
Alongside the two on-site contests, SRO’s quartet of online championships – supported by Mobileye – will also return, with Europe, Asia and America getting standalone sprint series, alongside the global Intercontinental GT Challenge endurance series. In total, a prize fund of more than €400,000 will be on offer throughout the year.
Akkodis ASP warms up for Fanatec GT Pro Series title defence
Returning for a third season, the Fanatec GT Pro Series will once again blur the lines between the real and virtual worlds by pitting the world’s best GT3 drivers against each other with real-world championship points on the line.
On Saturday in Monza, a total of 26 drivers will compete in an hour-long sprint race in the hope of earning their real-life race teams a championship points bonus. The top five finishers will all score, with the outright winner earning their squad a five-point boost in the Fanatec GT Europe Teams’ Championship.
Akkodis ASP Team led the way last season, with Raffaele Marciello and Dani Juncadella scoring wins at Circuit Paul Ricard and Hockenheim (with the virtual race being held at Suzuka). Marciello’s team-mate Thomas Drouet will kick-start the year at the wheel for the team and faces stiff competition. For the first time teams from the Gold Cup class will join those from the Pro and Silver ranks to compete.
As it stands, 13 Pro teams have signed up, accompanied by eight Silver crews and six Gold Cup runners. Of the Pro entries, ones to watch will include Iron Lynx’s Jordan Pepper, WRT’s Dries Vanthoor, Sandy Mitchell aboard the K-Pax Lamborghini and Lucas Stolz driving for Mercedes-AMG Team AlManar. In Silver, reigning GT4 European Series champions Erwan Bastard and Roee Meyuhas will both be in action, driving for Saintéloc Junior Team and Boutsen VDS respectively, Alex Aka returns for Tresor Attempto Racing, Jop Rappange for Dinamic GT Huber Racing and Fabrizio Crestani for GRT Grasser Racing Team. In Gold, watch for Charlie Fagg (Optimum Motorsport), Leonardo Pulcini (Iron Lynx), Nicolas Baert (Comtoyou), Marius Zug (Winward Racing), Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer (WRT) and Alberto di Folco (Boutsen VDS).
Action for the Fanatec GT Pro Series begins with a qualifying sessions on both Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, ahead of the race at 18:00CET on Saturday. The event will be streamed live on the GT World YouTube channel.