Real-world Porsche SuperCup racer Ayhancan Güven and Larry Ten Voorde took a victory apiece as they dominated the opening round of Porsche’s Virtual SuperCup at the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya.
The two 25-minute races featured current stars of the one-make series, and a number of famous Porsche names including Nick Tandy, Richard Lietz, Laurens Vanthoor and Sven Muller as the German marque recreated its top Porsche 911 GT3 Cup series on iRacing.
Team GP Elite’s Ten Voorde took a lights-to-flag victory to open his account in style, but Güven put the pressure on early to ensure the Dutchman wasn’t given an easy ride.
At the start, the 23-year-old easily pulled clear of the chasing pack behind and avoided a number of accidents which befell his rivals, including a spin for Max Van Splunteren from within the top five as well as a crash for Nick Tandy – which left his Mobil1-backed 911 on its side in the Turn 3 gravel – and Richard Lietz – who went airborne in his machine.
As the race settled down after a chaotic handful of corners, Ten Voorde eased away at the front as Dylan Pereira, who started second, was quickly deposed by Güven, with the Turk proceeding to close down the gap ahead.
The battle for the lead proved to be a slow burner, with the pair happy to stretch out a gap to the cars behind. That all changed on the last lap though, as Güven tried to dive down the inside at the Turn 5 left-hander. The martinet by ALMERAS driver went too deep into the corner and allowed Ten Voorde to muscle his way back past. Güven tried to make another move at the end-of-lap chicane, but didn’t have the traction to be able to accelerate his way to the line.
Behind the lead pair, BWT Lechner Racing’s Pereira held onto the final spot of the podium in comfortable fashion, with Porsche Junior Driver Jaxon Evans unable to close down the gap despite an eye-catching early charge up the top ten to finish in P4.
Fifth went to Jesse van Kuijk, the Dutch racer one of the victims of Evans’ remarkable charge up the field with ten minutes of the race gone, with the Team GP Elite driver unable to fend off the Kiwi.
Sven Muller took a steady approach to proceedings to claim P6 in the opening race of the year, with Jaden Conwright prevailing in a back-and-forth battle with Dinamic Motorsport team-mate Marius Nakken to clinch P7 with the latter settling for eighth.
2016 ADAC Formula 4 champion Joey Mawson finished in ninth, with Rob Hansson rounding out the top ten.
It was positions reversed in race two, as a better start for Güven allowed him to power past fellow front-row starter Ten Voorde on the opening lap and onto a comfortable victory.
Slightly mirroring the opening encounter, Ten Voorde did apply pressure to Güven in the first half of the race, but as the tyres on his 911 went off – an accurate representation of the real-world equivalent – he faded in the Spanish sun to take the chequered flag nearly two-seconds off the pace, meaning the pair head to the second round at Silverstone in two weeks tied for points.
In one identical result, Pereira once again finished a lonely third almost six seconds off the back of the lead battle, but more than four ahead of Van Kuijk who improved a place on his race one finish.
With a race under his belt, Mawson powered up the order – and avoided a number of accidents – to finish fifth only half-a-second behind Van Kuijk.
Sixth went to Leon Koehler, who had time on his side to avoid a charging Nick Tandy. Porsche star Tandy powered his way from the rear of the field in a remarkable show of overtaking from the Brit – who has become a keen fan of sim racing in recent years – as he powered his way up to seventh, but ran out of time to make more of a challenge to Lechner Racing Middle East’s Koehler.
The best battle of the race proved to be that for P8 as Max Van Splunteren prevailed in a lenghtly battle for the position with Nakken.
Van Splunteren was behind the Norwegian for the whole race but gradually closed his way in as the time ticked down. On the final lap it appeared Nakken was going to hold onto the position in his Dinamic entry but as the pair exited the tight left-handed turn 10, Van Splunteren seemed to carry a bit more speed through the corner and nudged Nakken’s rear. That span the SuperCup racer and relegated him to P9, allowing the Dutchman to power through for a surprisingly un-penalised eighth.
Rounding out the top ten was Jukka Honkavuori, the MRS GT Racing driver having a better time of things in the second encounter than in the first.
The third and fourth races in the Porsche SuperCup Virtual Edition take place at Silverstone on Saturday 18 April.