A brand-new championship was upon SOP Motorsport in the form of the SOP Motorsport GTWC Cup – a 6-round championship, with 90-minute races, requiring a driver swap with teams of 2. The SOP Motorsport GTWC Cup had a full field sign-up with 48 teams and 96 drivers.
Round 1 is sponsored by IMB Racewear, round 3 is sponsored by Delta Detailing, and round 5 is sponsored by Coach Dave Academy. The rounds between these are the money rounds, with rounds 2,4 & 6 yielding a $250 prize pool between them.
For the opening round the championship started at a sunny Indianapolis circuit. Many familiar teams joined the grid once more with many new teams to SOP Motorsport finding themselves on the grid too. All we knew looking at the entry list is that we were in for a cracking opening round.
The first qualifying session of the championship then and it was the first-time teams could start to get a feel for each other in a competitive environment. The top 20 teams were separated by 1 second. The top 7 teams were separated by less than half a second and the top two teams were separated by just 0.082 of a second.
Pole position and first blood was drawn by GTWR piloted by Luke Whitehead and Chris Harteveld. West Competition Racing secured that front row start alongside them and Race Anywhere Simport would start third just 2 tenths behind the top 2.
3 manufacturers occupying the top 3 spots in qualifying, and this would set the tone in the race with 7 different manufacturers in the top 7 at the finish line. Which is what we love to see.
If you looked outside of the top 20 you would see a sea of Mercedes, Audis and Hondas all separated by a further 1 second in time to make up the 37-car field that would compete at round 1. 10 teams missing from the season opener, but a race set up to be a cracker.
As the green flag fell it was a rather clean start with only a few minor incidents. Unfortunately, the two teams found at fault for lap 1 incidents, Team Abby Racing and Seawolf Netrace Motorsport, had to deal with drive-through penalties early on, something you do not want around here due to the long pit lane.
Up at the front GWTR controlled the pace early and managed to slowly but surely pull a gap to those teams fighting hard for positions, namely Le Mans Rennsport, West Competition Racing and Race Anywhere Simsport who themselves were able to pull a small gap to the rest of the field. These three engaged in battle pretty much until the flag with some fantastic but also some more robust racing between them.
Behind all this it was the Symphony of Monsters – A hybrid collaboration between SOP Esports and The Rookie Monsters – that held the fifth-place spot, followed by a whole host of teams including SOP Esports Racing, romeo’s gin by SOP, The Racing Blog, Eclipse Racing Esports and TSE Dekoni Racing, all inside the top 10 early in the race.
30 Minutes In
30 minutes into the 90-minute race and things were now unfolding with GTWR pulling out a 7 second lead which they would maintain until the flag, even after the pit stop phase and driver change, which is testament to both drivers in that team. Le Mans Rennsport dropped back to fourth in the battle for best of the rest and drama started to unfold up and down the grid between the pit stop phases.
The romeo’s gin Bentley spun by themselves dropping them down the order, The symphony of Monsters team suffered a driver swap issue which meant they lost a whole lap to the top 15, Team Rookie Monsters picked up a DT midway into the race, Buttler Pal Motorsport retired after picking up a SG30 during the pits and a whole host of other small incidents really shuffled the grid around for the final 30 minutes.
The Final Phase Of The Race
The Racing Blog team went from 8th at the start to 5th after the pitstops and they were on a mission to catch the fourth placed Le Man Rennsport. They managed to catch and pass them with 8 minutes left on the clock in an impressive debut at SOP Motorsport.
The rest of the top 10 were now pretty spread out and it was pretty uneventful until the flag with SOP Esports Racing teams finishing in 6th, 7th and 10th at the flag with Eclipse Racing Esports and TSE Dekoni Racing completing the other teams inside the top 10.
The first team to miss out on a top-ten finish belonged to Oversteer Stallones with only the top 14 finishing on the lead lap. Whilst further down the field, in what is perhaps one of the nicest liveries on the grid, the Seawolf NetRace Motorsport (featured below) trio of teams had a decent run to finish in 15th, 23rd and 28th at the flag after starting 29th, 31st and 34th.
Full Results can be found here:
So GTWR win round 1. They took pole position, they took the fastest lap, they took the race win and they walk away with the IMB Racewear Sim Racing Gloves which are kindly donated by IMB Racewear as sponsors for round 1.
If round 1 is anything to go by, we are in for a spectacular championship. Next time out at Laguna Seca – the first money round of the championship – will surely be the best opportunity for the Porsche manufacturer teams. Perhaps Race Anywhere Simsport can take the fight to GTWR who came away victorious at Indy.
Whilst 48 teams signed up for this championship, we were missing 10 of them for round 1. So, let’s see what happens next weekend as I am sure the field will be even more competitive when these teams make the grid.
It’s also great to see so many teams bring multiple cars to the grid for this championship including Seawolf NetRace Motorsport with 3 cars, The Staffing Experience with 4 cars, Team Rookie Monsters with 3 cars, Buttler-Pal Motorsport with 3 cars and SimuNation Esports with 3 cars to name just a few of the teams with triple team entries or more.