Suzuka delivered an action packed sprint race and arguably our best battle to date for the overall win. The popular Japanese circuit offered the biggest challenge for drivers with its highly technical nature and unique corners. But when the dust settled, Bryan Heitkotter continued his reign in GT Rivals, taking the win in a drama filled Round 5 at Suzuka Circuit. His fourth overall victory in five rounds has truly been a remarkable accomplishment in Assetto Corsa Competizione esports competition.
Heitkotter stormed to the front on the opening lap after starting second to pole sitter Branden Ouellet. The duo would run close together until a spin for Ouellet’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 in 130R would drop him out of the battle.
David Perel in the Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 managed to avoid collecting Ouellet at the track out of 130R to move into second. Perel would then set his sights on the leader, hunting down Heitkotter and closing the gap each lap until his Ferrari was on the rear bumper of the Nissan.
The strengths of each platform were on display as the GT-R showed it’s straight-line speed and drive out of corners, with the Ferrari’s overall pace, braking, and mid-corner grip eating into the gap between the two cars.
Perel attempted a late move into the Turn 11 hairpin, making contact with Heitkotter and spinning the leader. Perel made an effort to allow Heitkotter to regain the lead in an effort to avoid a penalty. But he was handed a drive-thru penalty for the contact that he served with minutes left in the race.
Just behind the battle for the lead, an equally entertaining race developed as BSPort Racing’s Kenton Koch outdueled sim racer Brenden Ouellet in the closing laps. After a string of bad luck, Koch would finish second with Ouellet taking the last step on the virtual podium.
Canadian Nelson Mason drove to his best finish, crossing the line fourth in the Lamborghini Huracan Evo. Mason encountered technical difficulties last week at Spa while running second and showed to be a contender.
Champion Motorsports sim racer Andrew Worden earned a Top 5 finish, bringing home the Mercedes-AMG in 5th just ahead of David Perel after serving his drive-thru penalty.
Honda Driving Academy’s Karl Wittmer would finish seventh, just ahead of the Murillo Racing duo of Christian Szymczak and Kenny Murillo. The Mercedes-AMG drivers have shown strong pace and look for more.
USAC’s Logan Seavey continued to impress with a Top 10 finish in his second GT Rivals start. Seavey’s diverse experience on dirt and in sim racing has shown his driving skills in sports car competition.
Suzuka delivered a dramatic fifth round of GT Rivals competition. The series heads to Barcelona, Spain this Sunday for Round 6 at Circuit de Catalunya. Join us at 3pm ET on Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter to follow all the esports action.
The SRO America GT Rivals Esports Invitational is in partnership with ASUS Republic of Gamers, ASUS TUF Gaming, Fanatec, Sim-Lab, Champion Motorsports, and SYM TV. Along with series partners AWS, CrowdStrike, Pirelli, Rebellion Timepieces, Total, Optima, Skip Barber, and 5.11.