Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso dominated Torque Esports’ The Race All-Star Series powered by ROKiT Phones Legends Trophy for the second week in a row with back-to-back wins today at Silverstone.
While the Spaniard followed up his Indianapolis victories from last week with another pair of wins at Silverstone today, his former McLaren Formula 1 teammate Jenson Button was able to claim the Legends Trophy championship with a second-place finish in the opening race.
Today’s event on the rFactor 2 virtual version of the Silverstone Grand Prix course was the championship decider for not only the Legends Trophy, but the Pro Cup and Sim Masters competitions as well.
Alonso started from pole and dominated the opening event to win with Button finishing second and Jan Magnussen taking third. In the reverse grid race, the Spaniard charged from the back of the pack to fourth on the opening lap and then chased down Michel Jourdain Jr. (who he had contact with) and Dario Franchitti to take the lead. Franchitti crossed the line in second, ahead of Juan Pablo Montoya.
“When I made my debut three weeks ago I had also just had my sim rig installed,” Alonso said.
“It was a bit of a mess and the car is tricky and difficult to drive for the first time. Obviously Silverstone I know very well the track and that was an advantage for this weekend.”
Button’s championship victory earned him a US $25,000 charity donation which he has pledged to “No Kid Hungry” – a national campaign run by Share Our Strength, a nonprofit working to solve problems of hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world.
“It’s been a lot of fun over the past month. Also, driving two cars, both the Brabham and then the Indy car, that was pretty awesome,” Button said.
“At Silverstone I did struggle to get the car working a bit with the long corners and the understeer in the car. Even so, the first race was still pretty good and that last race, I got spun around in turn one, so I was basically last on the opening lap.
“Fought my way through and I came up behind Emanuele Pirro at turn one and he had a car in front of him that braked early so I ended up hitting him and spinning him around. So, that’s why I slowed down the last lap. I figured it was only fair to give him the position back.
“The first race, Fernando was just quick and that’s why he won. In the second race, he was staying out of trouble. Normally, when you’re fighting for the championship you take it easier on lap one, but this one I just hammered at it and got it wrong in turn one.
“Dario (Franchitti) gave him a good run for his money! That was really good to see.”Aston Martin Racing was able to defend its team’s championship lead over Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports to take the crown while its driver Nicki Thiim came away with the driver’s championship after a fraught final race.
Previous points leader Esteban Gutierrez won the opening race but struck technical issues prior to race two and couldn’t make the start. After a third-place finish in race one, Thiim had to charge his way through the pack in the reverse grid race to finish better than 10th to claim the title.
A dramatic crash on the penultimate lap pushed Thiim into the top 10 to give Aston Martin Racing both the driver’s and team’s titles.
“It’s surprising how good this feels! You really have to work hard, especially with the calibre of the drivers taking part,” Thiim said.
“If you don’t practice, you have no chance. We worked hard to be ready for the final and the first race went to plan with a 3-4 finish. We needed to race through the field in the second race and that has been our strength so we were feeling good.
“It was really unfair for Esteban (Gutierrez) that he could not start, but still with all the crashing in the first laps it was not easy! The last couple of laps the engineer was keeping me updated so I knew what I had to do. It was great to finally win it.”
Today’s reverse grid Pro Cup win went to second-generation racer Sebastian Priaulx who’s father Andy has been a regular in the Legends Trophy competition this season..
While Mercedes was unlucky in the Pro Cup, the uber-consistent performances of Bono Huis gave them victory in the Sim Masters Championship.
The esports team from the legendary Formula 1 championship-winning race squad finished with both the driver’s and team’s titles in the sim competition. Yuri Kasdorp took the first sim win while ex-World’s Fastest Gamer finalist Kamil Pawlowski took the reverse grid win. Huis – also an ex-World’s Fastest Gamer finalist – scored enough points across the season through consistency to take the championship without having a race win to his name.
“I got caught in an incident at the start of the reverse grid race and had no grip, no front wing, nothing,” Huis said.
“I was just trying to make it to the end. It was nice that (championship rival) Simoncic was in front of me so I knew what I needed to do. I just stayed behind him and brought it home. I was watching the timing on the screen so I knew what was going on with the team’s championship and didn’t take any risks.
“I don’t think I’ve won a championship without winning a race before! It’s also been a while since I won a title at all. Consistency was the key in the end and we brought it home.”
Today’s race closed out the second championship season of The Race All-Star Series powered by ROKiT Phones. The Torque Esports / Engine Media-run championship was created back in March on the eve of the cancellation of the opening round of the Formula 1 and IndyCar championship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Season three of the globally-televised championship will begin next week on June 6 with races to follow on June 20 and 27.
“We’re incredibly proud of the amazing success of the championship and offer our congratulations to Jenson, Aston Martin, Nicki, Mercedes and Bono on their title wins,” Engine Media co-CEO Darren Cox said.
“The series has continued to flourish and attract the biggest names in the motorsport world – both legendary drivers and incredible teams and manufacturers. We’re set to take the series to an even higher level for season three with some big news coming early next week.
“The cars may be virtual, but there is no doubt that the racing is incredibly real!”