On September 9, 2020 (Wednesday), Porsche Japan K.K. announced the " Porsche Esports Racing Japan Season 2," a virtual Porsche one-make race using " Gran Turismo SPORT.
Like " Porsche Carrera Cup Japan " which is contested by Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, " Porsche Esports Racing Japan " is a one-make race series organized by Porsche Japan. Season 1 was held for the first time in 2019.
For the first time, "Porsche Esports Racing Japan Season 2" will also feature an offline qualifier to allow players who are unable to participate in the online qualifier to compete.
The top 10 players, consisting of the top 9 winners of all 5 online qualifying rounds and one player from the offline qualifying round, advanced to the semi-finals, where the offline finals were held on December 20, 2020 at Jing, a commercial facility in Harajuku, Tokyo.
The venue was Jing in Harajuku.
The venue for "Porsche Esports Racing Japan Season 2" was Jing Jing, where a pop-up store of Porsche's EV sports car " Taikan " was open until December 19 (Sat.), the day before the event, and a bright red Taikan was displayed outside the venue. A bright red Taikan was on display outside the venue.
A movie was projected on a wall along the street, attracting the attention of passersby.
Car 20 of the 911 GT3 Cup, used in the Porsche Carrera Cup series, was on display at the event.
Mr. Kenichiro Maeda of Porsche Japan Corporation made a speech at the opening of the finals.
Mr. Ally will serve as MC and Mr. Rico Otsuka will provide commentary and information on the race and the competitors.
Semi-finals by all 10 competitors
The semi-finals will be divided into two groups of five each, with the top two from each group advancing to the finals.
Even if you do not make the top two in the semi-finals, you can still qualify for the finals if you finish first in the Loosers.
Semifinal Group A and Group B will be held under the same regulations.
The car is a Porsche "Taikan" and the course is the " Tokyo Expressway.
The race will be held on a course that is based on the Metropolitan Expressway and will show the beauty of the Taikan from angles that would be impossible in real life.
The semi-finals begin with a rolling start.
Pole position in Group A is taken by Takuma Miyazono driving a red Taikan.
In Group A, Kanade Kawakami and Ryota Kokubun, who started 2nd, were in a fierce battle for 2nd place.
The second-place finisher would advance to the finals, but the third-place finisher would have to finish first at the Loosers to advance to the finals.
Since this was a major deciding factor, the two players were in a fierce battle, but it was Ryota Kokubun, who started in third place, who won the match.
Miyazono and Kokubun advanced to the Final, and Kawakami and Shundo Imazato advanced to the Routers.
Keishun Imai' s advancement to the Loosers will depend on the results of Group B.
In Group B, Tomoei Yamanaka, the oldest player in the field, took pole position, followed by Kanaki Nabetani, Tatsuhiko Kato, Hiroo Shimizu, and Shogo Yoshida.
The race was clean, but no one was willing to give up a single step, and all competitors finished in the same position they were in at the start of the race.
Viewers may have witnessed a high level of play in the short 5-week race.
Rousers, a fiercely contested race
In the Rousers, where only one driver can advance to the finals, a mid-ship " 911 RSR " was designated as the car to be used instead of the 4-wheel drive Taikan used in the semi-finals.
The course was Fuji Speedway, and the starting format was a grid start.
The starting grid was Kawakami, Kato, Imazato, Shimizu, and Yoshida, who beat Imai's time in the semi-finals, in that order.
Fuji Speedway has a long straight of about 1.5 km. The key to victory was the home straight.
In every lap, a dogfight using the slipstream unfolded on the straight, and the battle for the first corner took place.
As the battle for first place between Kawakami and Kato heated up, Yoshida, who was slowly improving his position, joined the battle for first place, and the battle was close to three wide on the home straight.
The final lap was even more heated, with the outcome of the race becoming unpredictable.
In the midst of the chaos, Imazato spun at the Coca-Cola Corner, and Yoshida was caught up in the spin.
Kato also spun at Dunlop Corner. Meanwhile, Shimizu, who started in 4th place, jumped into the lead.
Shimizu was able to escape and took the checkered flag in the top position. Shimizu was able to advance to the finals.
Who will take the prestigious championship crown?
The stage for the finals, where the winner will receive the 1 million yen prize money, was set at Suzuka Circuit.
The 911 GT3 RS, which had been rebadged to compete in the "Porsche Carrera Cup Japan," was designated as the winner.
In the finals, drivers can choose between racing medium or racing hard tires, but it is mandatory to install racing hard tires once during the race.
In addition to pure speed, players will also be required to use strategies such as tire selection and pit stop timing.
Miyazono and Yamanaka, who will start from the front row, will choose racing hard tires.
The other three drivers started the race on racing medium tires.
Kokubu, who started the race on racing mediums, overtook Yamanaka in the opening lap at Degner.
On the second lap, Miyazono passed him as well, and moved into first place. Yamanaka took advantage of this and moved up to 2nd place.
However, on the 3rd lap, Kokubu made a pit stop. He changed to racing hard tires, and in the meantime, all four cars moved up in the standings.
At the Degner Curve, Yamanaka spun halfway through the race, dropping all the way down to 3rd place, and it was time to test each driver's tire management skills.
Miyazono also made a pit stop, and Kokubu also made his second pit stop.
Yamanaka, who was again in the lead, chose to continue the race on racing hard tires, but he pitted on the next lap, perhaps unable to stand the loss of grip.
The top positions changed rapidly.
Toward the end of the race, Kokubu understeers at the Spoon Curve, and Miyazono passes him from the inside to take the lead.
Kokubu tried to hold on, but Miyazono could not allow him to do so.
During the battle between the two, Yamanaka rejoins the battle for the top position.
On the final lap, Yamanaka lines up with Miyazono for the lead on the west straight.
As the two cars run side by side through 130R, Miyazono seems to be leading by one step, but at the chicane entry, Yamanaka makes a move from the outside.
At the second chicane, Yamanaka secured the inside position and held off Miyazono to head down the home straight.
Yamanaka took the checkered flag on the final lap.
Miyazono came in 2nd place, and Nabetani came in 3rd.
Awards Ceremony, just like in real motorsports
At the podium ceremony, the three drivers appeared wearing Michelin caps, just like in a real motorsports event.
Yamanaka, who was crowned the winner, received 1 million yen from Porsche Japan, while Miyazono, who came in second, Nabetani, who came in third, and Kokubun, who came in fourth, also received prizes.
Third-place finisher Nabetani said, "My goal was to make it to the finals. I am happy to be on the podium. Miyazono, who came in second, said, "I regret hesitating to brake at the last corner when the tires were sagging. I am disappointed, but I think I made a step forward in this race. I am disappointed, but I think I made a step forward in this race," commented Miyazono.
Yamanaka, the winner, commented, "In the final race, my tire choice paid off. I am happy that I was able to have a good battle with Miyazono until the final braking. As for how he would like to spend his 1 million yen prize money, he commented with a laugh, "I would like to use it to pay off my car loan. "I'd like to use it to pay off my car loan," he commented with a laugh.
"It's difficult now that I'm in the Corona Disaster, but I hope to have a dinner party with everyone who fought today. He also said, "I would love to have a dinner with everyone who fought today.
Bringing Porsche closer to the public through eSports
After the race, Mr. Kenichiro Maeda of Porsche Japan Corporation spoke about the future relationship between Porsche and e-sports.
He said that from the next event, they will consider linking e-motorsports with real cars, and I could sense the importance of e-motorsports in these days of "young people's shift away from cars.
The newly launched EV sports car, the "Taikan," is of course a focus of attention, but by paying attention to these efforts and activities, we can feel closer to the luxury sports car brand, Porsche.
Information about "Porsche Esports Racing Japan Season 2" and the Porsche brand can be found on the official Porsche Japan website.
Archived videos of "Porsche Esports Racing Japan Season 2" are available on Twitter and Twitch, so be sure to check them out as well.