WORDS: Lachlan Mansell, Ryan Jones
Porsche and iRacing have elected not to award championship points for qualifying or either of the two races in Round 4 of the TAG Heuer Porsche eSports Supercup at the Circuit de la Sarthe on Saturday night, after a controversial finish to the event’s sprint race.
At the end of the race’s fourth lap, chaos ensued when the iRacing system determined there was still another lap to run, something many drivers had not accounted for in their fuel calculations.
Realising they weren’t going to make it to the finish, a number of drivers – including Aussie Josh Rogers who was leading at the time – dived into the pits for a splash of fuel. Others elected to stay on the track, with many running out of petrol. Victory eventually went to Kevin Ellis Jr while Jarrad Filsell ended up as the highest-placed Australian, finishing in 12th position.
With the grid positions for the 30-minute main race based on finishing positions in the sprint, Filsell was able to make further progress, finishing in fifth place while Rogers and fellow Aussies Dayne Warren and Josh Anderson’s campaigns were both hampered by opening lap incidents.
However, following the haphazard conclusion to the sprint race, Porsche and iRacing have declared both races null-and-void from a championship points perspective, although prize money will still be paid.
“The race winnings from Saturday’s event will be paid out as promised,” a statement read.
“The results of the event will be expunged from this year’s championship standings.
“A replacement round will be added to the calendar later this season. The date and any resulting additional calendar changes will be announced when it is finalised. The series is still committed to wrapping up at Monza in September.”
However, not all teams are in favour of this decision, Filsell’s Apex Racing Team issuing a scathing response.
“Apex Racing Team is disappointed by today’s ruling from iRacing and Porsche regarding Saturday’s Porsche eSports Supercup race at Circuit de la Sarthe,” the response said.
“While the team’s focus remains on the remaining rounds, we cannot express how this decision to scrub the race results effects our team.
“Kevin, Jarrad, Antoine, Jamie and Yohann lose their championship points despite their strong finishes in the two races.
“Although Yohann keeps his winnings for finishing second in the feature, he and the team are frustrated their hours of preparation do not result in championship points.”
The organisers have indicated race formats for upcoming events could undergo a tweak to prevent a similar situation arising in the future.
“As a failsafe, the upcoming July 4 round at the Nurburgring Nordschleife may be changed to a lap race, with lap counts calculated based on the normal race lengths of a 15-minute sprint and 30-minute feature. If this change is undertaken, iRacing will communicate immediately to enable all competitors to properly strategise.”
Round five of the series will take place at the Nordschleife on 4 July.