Ariel and Campbell win, Coanda sweeps Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup podium at Watkins Glen
April 10th, 2023 by Justin Melillo
Following the shortest break in-between races on the 2023 season, the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup made a triumphant return to upstate New York for some racing at Watkins Glen International. Utilizing the Classic layout of the course, the shortest version that excludes the Inner Loop and Boot sections, the field was packed up throughout the afternoon, each position contested until the checkered flag flew. Gustavo Ariel pounced at the opportunity on the final lap of the Sprint to win his second race in a row. Then, in the Feature, Coanda Esports pulled off a 1-2-3 finish after 22 laps with Zac Campbell leading the way for his third victory of the season.
The TAG Heuer Pole Award went to Sebastian Job, his first of the year and first since his pole at the 2022 Monza finale. Campbell started alongside him, and on the green flag, Campbell managed to take advantage. With the layout of the track offering a trio of long straightaways with only seven corners, pack racing was the name of the game with the draft coming into play for these Porsche 911 GT3 Cup 992 cars. Defending series champion Diogo Pinto managed to claw his way to the runner up position for the final laps as Job took back control, sending Campbell back to fourth. On the final trip down the backstretch of the Sprint, Job and Pinto came together, sending Pinto into the guardrail. This allowed Ariel, who had moved into third ahead of Campbell, to pounce for the lead. Through the Outer Loop, Ariel washed up, moving Job out of the lane and giving Campbell one last shot. The rookie Ariel had the preferred line and held on for his second career win in the series.
A spirited battle for the eighth position of the Sprint race wound up a battle for seventh after Pinto’s misfortunes on the final lap. That handed the eighth position and the Feature race pole position to Alejandro Sánchez. On the start, Sánchez managed to get a good gap on the field, but a trio of Coanda Esports cars led by Bobby Zalenski found themselves in prime position from second to fourth. Bryn Collins and Campbell wound up getting around Zalenski, with Campbell eventually becoming the top running Coanda machine. Sánchez fell into their clutches as Campbell pulled away from the field. Job returned to the conversation and would eventually take the second spot, splitting Campbell up from his teammates. On the final lap, Job looked to the left of Campbell entering the Outer Loop. Out of the final corner, Campbell managed to hang on as Job slipped back to finish seventh. Collins wound up the runner-up as Zalenski scored a career-best finish of third.
Series points leader Jordan Caruso had a somewhat quiet race, but it was consistent in comparison to his championship rivals. Charlie Collins entered the race second in the standings but falls behind Pinto leaving the Glen. Pinto barely holds the second spot as he too had a rough ending to a promising race. Job had the potential to move up to second in the standings as well, but after falling from second to seventh on the final lap, he ends up holding on to fifth behind Sánchez, who also hangs on to fourth. Campbell made the most gains on the weekend, moving back up to sixth in the standings and into at least the battle for second. Caruso holds a 58 point lead with only four events remaining.
The final race in the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport in the Porsche All-Stars series was just as enthralling a time as the Supercup event. Leading off the broadcast per usual, the defending eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series champion Casey Kirwan was once again a threat to win after scoring the pole in group qualifying. The pack of 15 community All-Stars were under a blanket with the drivers fanning out to three, even four wide down the long backstretch as they zoomed past the Inner Loop and at top speed into the Outer Loop, Turn 5. Kirwan had company from Dave “Dave Cam” Cameron in the closing stages of the Sprint. Dave looked to have a chance, but Kirwan fought back and took yet another win on the season, extending his points lead even more.
The Feature would invert the full field, sending Kirwan and Cameron to the back of the field and giving the front row to Lyubov “LoveFortySix” Ozeretskovskaya and Emily “Emree” Jones. After a NASCAR-style big one collected many contenders on the opening lap, LoveFortySix managed to open up more than a two second advantage over the field. The draft would prove to be the strongest factor as the surviving All-Stars managed to catch the leader, and that’s when the battle truly began. Unfortunately, the leaders would once again find trouble, opening the window for Christian “Keny500” Ortega to take advantage for the second week in a row. Xabier “Heikki360” Sanchez, Dan Suzuki and Matt Malone all had a chance to pounce for the win on the final lap, but Ortega was able to hang on.
Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup feature results from Watkins Glen were as follows:
|12||26||1||Diogo C. Pinto||22||-7.984||0||1:05.747||18|
|26||13||92||Mathias Stokbæk Jensen||13||-9L||0||1:05.924||8|
|27||17||27||Simone Maria Marcenò||12||DNF||0||1:05.842||4|
Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup points through six rounds are as follows:
- Jordan Caruso, 348
- Diogo Pinto, 290
- Charlie Collins, 286
- Alejandro Sanchez, 274
- Sebastian Job, 273
- Zac Campbell, 258
- Yohann Harth, 188
- Cooper Webster, 185
- Gustavo Ariel, 148
- Jamie Fluke, 144
The 2023 Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup season is now done with racing in North America with the racing moving back to Europe for the final four races of the season. Race #7 will take place at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, and coverage will kick off on Saturday, April 22 at 18:00 GMT (2PM ET) with the All-Stars taking on the venue in the Porsche 911 RSR. The Supercup pros will then take the track starting at 19:00 GMT (3PM ET).
For more information on the 2023 Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup season, visit www.iracing.com/pesc. For more information on iRacing and for special offers, visit www.iracing.com.