2 Seas Motorsport takes podium finish on eSports debut

April 27, 2020
SRO eSports

2 Seas Motorsport made its competitive debut over the weekend, competing in the opening round of the SRO’s E-Sport GT Series Championship 2020 with Pro drivers Isa Al-Khalifa and Ben Barnicoat both in action.

- Ben Barnicoat claims P2 for 2 Seas Motorsport at Silverstone

- Isa Al-Khalifa completes successful debut race in P35

- 2 Seas Motorsport finishes as lead McLaren Customer Racing entry on competitive debut

Sport GT Series Championship 2020 with Pro drivers Isa Al-Khalifa and Ben Barnicoat both in action. The pair joined the action-packed Pro Series one-hour sprint race at Silverstone for the opening round of the championship and secured a podium finish following an impressive drive by McLaren Factory Driver Barnicoat.

The race was the first of a five-round championship and took place at Silverstone, England, contested on Assetto Corsa Competizione. Isa Al-Khalifa and Ben Barnicoat will contest the GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup powered by AWS as a pair later this season, but this first race saw them racing individually as part of a 49-car grid.

Each driver ran in the McLaren 720S GT3 which made its debut in the championship, and pace was immediately strong as Ben Barnicoat battled for pole position slot during qualifying. The one-lap timed effort saw the young Brit eventually secure P2 on the grid, lining up as part of a McLaren 1-2, while Isa Al-Khalifa lined up P41 on a grid which included 2009 Formula 1 world champion Jenson Button and current Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 driver Charles Leclerc alongside a number of factory drivers and leading names from GT World Challenge championships.

The race got underway with a rolling start and Ben was wasting no time at the wheel of the #99 McLaren as the lights turned green. A bold move around the outside in to turn 1 saw the 2 Seas Motorsport-entry take the race lead and Ben looked to pull out a gap to the chasing field. Meanwhile, Isa kept himself out of trouble during the frantic period of action in the opening laps to capitalise and progress up the grid. In the opening 10 minutes, the Bahraini driver had moved up to P25 on his sim-racing debut.

As the race started to settle, contact from a rival saw Ben drop down the order from the lead. Despite this setback he maintained a points-paying position within the top-10 and set about making up some of the lost ground. With just under 50 minutes remaining, Ben worked to recover and gradually made up ground over the leaders to progress back up the field. Impressive pace and consistent performance saw the #99 gradually moving up the order, and as the closing stages approached Ben was challenging for a podium spot. Two bold overtakes in the final laps saw 2 Seas Motorsport and Ben take P2 as the chequered flag fell. Isa also completed a solid debut performance running inside the top 20 for 40 minutes of the hour-long race before he received heavy contact from a competitor, forcing him to pit for repairs before bringing the #383 home in P35.

Isa Al-Khalifa, 2 Seas Motorsport team co-owner and #383 McLaren 720S GT3 driver

“Sim racing is a whole new challenge for me, but I really enjoyed it and it was great to be racing with such a world-class grid. The competition was intense and the opening laps were a bit frantic, but I managed to find my rhythm fairly quickly, settling in to running my own race and felt comfortable and consistent. I managed to move up the order early on and had several close battles as the race progressed but was unfortunately hit while I was running in P20 which forced me to stop for repairs. Despite that, it was good to get some racing laps under my belt and I am really looking forward to getting back behind the wheel as we head to Spa next.”

Ben Barnicoat, #99 McLaren 720S GT3 driver

“A tough but fun race, and I’m proud to score 2 Seas Motorsport a podium on debut at SIlverstone. It was a new challenge and the competition was extremely high, and the SRO has done a great job in arranging this championship. We have shown that we have the pace – both over a one-lap qualifying run and strong race performance – and it is great to be back racing. The grid is extremely competitive which made for some great racing and, while the contact wasn’t what we intended, it was great to be able to recover and finish on the podium.”

From here, the team will compete at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium on 10 May. This is followed by the Nürburgring in Germany and Spain’s Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya before a public vote decides the season finale.