GT World Challenge Esports Expands Again for 2023, With New Sim Pro Series Live Events

The SRO’s esports offering will expand once more in 2023 as a new, on-site “Sim Pro Series” joins the 25-race calendar for the official esports series using Assetto Corsa Competizione.

All four of the 2022 online championships will return to give the calendar a familiar look. There’ll be three separate GT World Challenge Sprint Series — for Americas, Asia, and Europe — each featuring five, hour-long races for solo drivers living in the respective regions, and the Intercontinental GT Challenge with five races up to 24 hours long and driver squads.

On top of that there’ll be the new Sim Pro Series. That will be again a five-race championship but it will take place in a specially constructed “Fanatec Arena” at the five rounds of the real-world Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Series.

Building off two invitationals at Spa and Indianapolis in 2022, this event will consist of hour-long sprint races for 23 invited teams and a 24th team through a live, last-chance qualifier at the event itself. Interestingly, the teams aren’t limited to a single driver, so can swap out their representative as they wish for the different events.

Monza, Circuit Paul Ricard, Spa-Francorchamps, Nurburgring, and Barcelona will host the five races, during the weekends of the real GT World Challenge Europe races at those same circuits. There’s a total prize pool of €75,000 ($80,500) available for the series.

SRO Esport Sim Pro Series 2023 Calendar

  • Round 1 – April 22 – Monza
  • Round 2 – June 3 – Circuit Paul Ricard
  • Round 3 – June 30 – Spa-Francorchamps
  • Round 4 – July 29 – Nurburgring
  • Round 5 – September 30 – Barcelona

The remaining four championships will all be held online, with the Sprint Series in each of the three regions visiting 15 different circuits across the five-month campaigns. Five of the circuits will also host the IGTC endurance series, with the Bathurst 12hr, Kyalami 9hr, 24 Hours of Spa, Suzuka 10hr, and Indianapolis 8hr making up the season.

In total there’s €88,500 ($95,000) of prize money split across the four series, with the bulk going to the endurance events. There’ll again be Pro and Silver categories, with the endurance series Pro class reserved for official manufacturer entries and requiring drivers ranked as “Pro” based on results in the championship in previous seasons. Silver endurance entries can have a maximum of one Pro driver.

The defending Pro champions in each series are James Baldwin (Europe), Dillan Tan (Asia), Luke Whitehead (America), and Veloce McLaren (IGTC). Whitehead will be likely ineligible to defend his title, through his residency in the UK, while the Veloce squad has seen drivers Eamonn Murphy and Baldwin move to rival teams G2 and AMG-Mercedes respectively.

SRO Esports Online 2023 Calendar

  • May 3 – GTWC Europe Sprint R1 – Monza
  • May 6 – GTWC America Sprint R1 – Laguna Seca
  • May 20 – IGTC R1 – Bathurst 12hr
  • May 24 – GTWC Europe Sprint R2 – Paul Ricard
  • May 31 – GTWC Asia Sprint R1 – Imola
  • June 10 – GTWC America Sprint R2 – COTA
  • June 17 – IGTC R2 – Kyalami 9hr
  • June 21 – GTWC Europe Sprint R3 – Spa-Francorchamps
  • June 28 – GTWC Asia Sprint R2 – Donington Park
  • July 12 – GTWC Asia Sprint R3 – Bathurst
  • July 15 – IGTC R3 – 24 Hours of Spa
  • July 19 – GTWC Europe Sprint R4 – Nurburgring
  • July 22 – GTWC America Sprint R3 – Silverstone
  • August 5 – GTWC America Sprint R4 – Watkins Glen
  • August 9 – GTWC Asia Sprint R4 – Kyalami
  • August 19 – IGTC R4 – Suzuka 10hr
  • August 23 – GTWC Europe Sprint R5 – Barcelona
  • September 2 – GTWC America Sprint R5 – Indianapolis
  • September 6 – GTWC Asia Sprint R5 – Suzuka
  • September 16 – IGTC R5 – Indianapolis 8hr

On top of all of that, the Fanatec GT Esports Pro series will return this season, at the same five aforementioned rounds of the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Series.

This unique event puts professional racing drivers into the sim rigs in the Fanatec Arena for an hour-long race that generates points towards their real-world tallies — as one of the three arms of the overall GT World Challenge Europe championship. Indeed entry is compulsory for those teams registered for the full sprint and endurance season.

For now, it hasn’t been announced how many points each race is worth, but it was five points for a win — reducing by one point per position down to fifth — in 2022. That means a total of 25 points were available for a clean sweep, as much as a single sprint race win in the real world, so it’s little wonder some teams were drafting in esports specialist GT3 racers like James Baldwin!

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