There were celebrations as James Baldwin wins the 2021 GTWC Europe Esports Sprint Series, adding to titles including the 2021 British GT Esports Championship. The British driver came into the round at Spa-Francorchamps just two points ahead of title rival David Tonizza.
The final race of the season actually saw the first victory for GTWR R8G Academy driver Niklas Houben who was able to hold off the BMW SIM Racing G2 Esports pair of Arthur Kammerer and Nils Naujoks, who finished second and third. But a lot of the focus was on the championship rivals who both had to overcome poor qualifying, with McLaren Shadow driver Baldwin 14th on the grid, and Tonizza for FDA Esports Ferrari slightly ahead in 11th.
Tonizza made the better start, moving up to seventh by the end of the opening lap in his Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo, with Baldwin only climbing to 12th in the McLaren 720S GT3. But contact with Maciej Malinowski resulted in a 10 second penalty for Tonizza to serve during the mandatory pit stop, and with around 20 minutes left of the race, Baldwin was sat in 10th with Tonizza 11th.
Both drivers made up more places before the end of the race, but the Baldwin was able to maintain his advantage, finishing sixth due to last corner contract between Gregor Schill and Tonizza’s FDA Ferrari team-mate Giovanni De Salvo. With Tonizza eventually crossing the line in ninth, this handed the title to Baldwin.
James Baldwin took the championship on 142 points after 10 rounds, despite not having taken a podium in the opening four events. David Tonizza ended the series on 134 points, with his season pretty much a reverse of Baldwins, and Nils Naujoks was third overall, ahead of Kevin Siggy for Team Redline and De Salvo in fifth.
The inaugural GTW World Challenge Europe Esports series on Assetto Corsa Competizione has been organised by SRO Motorsports Group in partnership with Fanatec, Kunos Simulazioni, AK Esports, Pirelli and The Sim Grid, running alongside similar series for Asia and America.
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