Emotional Win for Team Subaru at First In-Person Gran Turismo World Series Event Since 2020
Gran Turismo World Series 2022 Manufacturers Cup - Showdown
Salzburg, Austria (July 23, 2022) – After a two-and-half-year hiatus due to the global pandemic, the Gran Turismo World Series held its first live competition today at Red Bull Hangar-7 in Salzburg, Austria. Fifty-one of the world’s fastest Gran Turismo players assembled in the unique building that has become an international landmark, with historical aircraft and a collection of Formula 1 race cars, as well as an award-winning restaurant.
First up was the Manufacturers Cup (renamed from the Manufacturer Series) where the top-ranked manufacturing teams in the Season 1 of the 2022 Global Manufacturer Rankings went wheel-to-wheel to claim points toward the Series championship. There were twelve manufacturers represented here, including Gran Turismo World Series partners Genesis, Mazda and Toyota.
Each team consisted of up to three drivers (Mazda and Subaru had only two because of COVID-19 protocols), with each driver required to complete a stint of the race and all three of the available tires—soft-, medium- and hard-compound Michelins—needed to be used at least once. After competing remotely against each other for the past two and a half years, some drivers were meeting each other for the first time. Thanks to the tension and excitement of this spectacular live event, the result was an action-filled race packed with glory and heartache.
Grand Final: Trial Mountain Circuit
The teams had met earlier to devise the right race strategy because they would need to pit at least two times in the marathon 48-lap contest around the popular Trial Mountain Circuit. Driver order and tire selection would play a major role in the outcome. Although every player here was inherently familiar with the track layout, it was only the second event ever on the new Gran Turismo 7, therefore, the unexpected made its presence known.
The AMG GT3, driven by Kazuki Cho (fujio4jd), sat on pole, with Team BMW’s M6 GT3 with Erik Cases Vazquez (GG_ErikCases) of Spain at the wheel starting alongside it. In Position 3 was Volkswagen’s Beetle Gr.3, and, despite missing its ace driver Takuma Miyazono (Kerokkuma_ej20), Team Subaru managed to qualify in 5th place with the BRZ GT300.
Most of the teams opted to begin the race on medium- and hard-compound tires, but BMW (in P2) and Chevrolet (P4) started with the soft-compound Michelins, hoping to take the race lead early and build up a comfortable cushion. The cars went through the first turn without incident after the rolling start, but as predicted, BMW sped past the AMG GT3 on the back straight to take the overall lead. A few corners later, the Chevrolet Corvette C7 driven by Brazil’s Adriano Carrazza (Didico__15) pushed past the AMG to claim P2.
For the next several laps, the top two cars pulled away from the pack, building up their lead while those behind them vied for position. On lap 8, BMW and Chevrolet swapped places, with Carrazza taking over the race lead. Subaru, with France’s Kylian Drumont (PRiMA_Kylian19) behind the wheel, ran in 3rd place, as it was the fastest car on medium-compound tires: Subaru’s new ace driver then climbed all over the BMW on lap 14 looking to get past.
This persuaded Vazquez to dive into the pits, as the soft-compound tires on his M6 GT3 were all but gone. The Chevrolet Corvette also came in, both teams swapping their softs for medium-compound tires. They were followed into pit lane by several more teams, all making tire and driver changes. Subaru came in on lap 17, returning to the track in 3rd place with hard-compound tires, saving the fastest soft-compound tires for the end of the race.
The first incident of the contest occurred on lap 16, when the Porsche 911 GT3 driven by Connor Healy (AE_Conzio) of Australia spun and crashed into the wall. Unfortunately, the culprit was a technical failure, which took Team Porsche out of the race.
At the halfway point of the race, the running order was Chevrolet in 1st place, leading Subaru by seven seconds, followed by AMG in P3 and Toyota in P4.
Igor Fraga (IOF_RACING17) in the Toyota GR Supra, was showing blinding speed, setting fastest lap and taking over 3rd place on lap 27, before moving into P2 on lap 28. On this lap, Chevrolet made its second pitstop, handing the overall lead to Fraga and Team Toyota. Lap 30 saw the AMG driven by France’s Baptiste Beauvois (R8F_TSUTSU) pass Daniel Solis (PX7-Lamb) of the U.S. in the Subaru for 2nd place. The following lap, Subaru pitted for the final time, taking on the soft-compound tires and Drumont handling the driving duties. He returned to the track in 9th, but that would soon change.
Race leader Fraga pitted on lap 34, with veteran Ryota Kokubun (Akagi_1942mi) jumping into the driver’s seat and the car putting on the medium-compound tires. The Supra returned to the track in 1st place, but Subaru was less than a second behind, and running on the soft-compound tires. Could Kokubun hold off the hard-charging Drumont, who was on the quicker tires?
The answer was revealed a few seconds later when the Subaru BRZ GT300 took the inside line through Turn 13 and overtook the GR Supra in a brilliant passing maneuver. With the Subaru pulling away, AMG of Brazil’s Lucas Bonelli (TGT_BONELLI) also got the best of Kokubun and took over 2nd place. All the while, Team Nissan and its GT-R NISMO quietly worked its way to P5, passing Volkswagen and Chevrolet in the process, and setting its sights on the Mazda RX-Vision GT3 Concept of Giorgio Mangano of Italy (Williams_Gio).
The next few laps saw the 2nd-place car of Bonelli closing the gap between his AMG GT3 and the race leader, the Subaru BRZ of Drumont. With only about five laps remaining, he managed to cut the lead to a mere second, but he couldn’t get any closer. In the end, it was Subaru that prevailed. The deuces were wild for it was the team’s second win in two races in 2022, and this time, with a two-man team. They were followed by AMG, Toyota, Mazda, Nissan and Volkswagen, in that order.
“I’m so happy,” said Kylian Drumont. “It’s my first live event, and it’s my first victory. Our start of the race was good. We started on the medium tires and did the minimum on them, and we were very fast on the softs, so it worked out well.”
Said Daniel Solis: “I’m feeling a lot of emotions. It’s wild. It’s crazy. I did the best I could, and we won. I hope we made (our teammate) Takuma Miyazono proud. This one’s for him.”
All of the action can be watched on the official Gran Turismo YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/GranTurismoOfficial/ and more information is available on gran-turismo.com
Gran Turismo World Series 2022 Manufacturers Cup - Showdown
|Manufacturer / Drivers
|Subaru Kylian Drumont / Daniel Solis
|Mercedes-AMG Baptiste Beauvois / Lucas Bonelli / Kazuki Cho
|Toyota Igor Fraga / Ryota Kokubun / Nikita Moysov
|Mazda Giorgio Mangano / Shotaro Ryu
|Nissan Mehdi Hafidi / Hiroshi Okumoto / Harald Walsen
|Volkswagen Thomas Labouteley / Roberto Sternberg / Seiya Suzuki
|Chevrolet Adriano Carrazza / Kazuho Iwata / Alex López Murillo
|Jaguar Soma Iseri / Alonso Regalado / Ádám Tápai
|Genesis Dean Heldt / Nicolás Romero / Yuito Sasaki
|Mitsubishi Joss Legrand / Arthur Mosso / Hiroki Shimizu
|BMW Erik Cases Vazquez / Randall Haywood / Jay O'Dowd
|Porsche Connor Healy / Angel Inostroza / José Serrano