Round 5 of the (Pro) Le Mans Esports Series calendar took place at Spa-Francorchamps in the Porsche 911 RSR GTE, with only six teams who would now qualify for the final at Le Mans.
The weekend ran in typical LMES fashion: a 20 minute-long sprint race and a one-hour long endurance race.
10 teams ran their last race here after five races of Season 2, whilst the six others would join the Rivals group ready to race the grand endurance Le Mans event.
It is worth mentioning that since the Le Mans event itself will have six Pro (and then the Pro-Am) teams, in addition to the hours that will be raced, on top of the prize money, Spa is seen as the final race of the season – as it is for most.
For more details on the Le Mans Esports Series, take a look the rundown article.
Sprint Race (One)
With Michael Coyne on pole in the Solar Vision Racing car, eight laps of the historic Spa-Francorchamps circuit awaited.
Race One was underway and the front runners made the most of the moving start.
Coyne battled closely with the fellow Red Bull Racing car, with Aurelien Mallet at the virtual wheel.
However, Mallet spun on the opening lap which allowed to Lazarus’ Daniel Nyman get himself in fourth, while Mallet fell down to P10.
Packs of cars emerged close and battling wheel-to-wheel.
Then, at the exit of Eau Rouge, Total Performance Racing’s Jacob Bowkett and Geves Renaud (Ryze Motorsport) promoted Nyman into second place behind Solar Vision Racing’s Coyne following their spins one-after-another.
On lap 7 (penultimate), the fight for the lead heated up between the top three.
A Lazarus-team liveried Porsche 911 RSR GTE at the hands of Nyman found his way around the outside of Michael Coyne (SVR) on the exit of Les Combes, promoting himself into the race lead.
From here to the finish, we saw a strong display of defending from Nyman as he managed to grasp the win.
This win for in the sprint race left the RBR and Lazarus teams level on points for the main endurance race.
Endurance Race (Two)
With more points on offer and the top six teams on hand to make it to the Le Mans Super Final, the stakes were raised.
They began on a reverse grid (championship standings), with the top four having guaranteed their Le Mans invitation relative to their points.
In misty weather conditions, the Solar Vision Racing car of Michael Coyne caught a smooth getaway from pole, ahead of the Red Bull Racing Esports car that was now being driven by Robin Bekta; Nyman was still at the hands of his 911 RSR Lazarus.
The conditions turned into light drizzle throughout the race.
The damp track conditions saw the RBR in P14 and climb up the field in pursuit of their championship rivals, Lazarus Racing.
In the opening laps, when Nyman was involved in an incident were he caused a collision against Miguel Molina in the Fordzilla car; he was handed a five-second penalty.
Coyne went on to finish fourth overall. Ryze Performance was situated P2, with Total Performance Racing securing the third podium spot.
Ex-race leader Mariano Ocana of Light Speed Esports lost the charge against RBR’s Bekta, allowing Bekta to take the win and the Pro series’ title for Red Bull Racing Esports.
The six teams who go through to the Le Mans Super Final are Red Bull Racing, Lazarus Racing, Total Performance Racing, Fast Racers Forza, Ryze Motorsport and Solar Vision Racing.
As the penultimate race in the Pro calendar, all that is left will be the 24 Hours of Le Mans Super Final of LMES Season 2, at Le Mans itself.
However the series itself saw Red Bull Racing Esports winning the series’ title, $10,000 and the invitation to the SuperFinal at Le Mans 2020.
🏆 #LMES Pro Teams champions!
Bring on the Super Final in September 👊 pic.twitter.com/iI5Sd3HRUE
— Red Bull Racing Esports (@redbullracingES) April 25, 2020
This will take place on September 17-18 later this year and will have Pro and Pro-Am teams fighting over a $100,000 ultimate prize following over 20 hours of multi-class endurance racing.