2 Seas Motorsport takes positives from difficult eSports weekend at Spa

May 12, 2020
SRO eSports

2 Seas Motorsport returned to eSports action to contest the second round of E-Sport GT Series Championship 2020.

- 2 Seas Motorsport completes second round of E-Sport GT Series Championship 2020

- Early race incidents see both Isa Al-Khalifa and Ben Barnicoat complete strong recovery drives

- Isa Al-Khalifa makes Spa-Francorchamps race debut, leading the team home in P25

2 Seas Motorsport returned to eSports action to contest the second round of E-Sport GT Series Championship 2020. Pro drivers Isa Al-Khalifa and Ben Barnicoat were both racing again with the McLaren 720S GT3 as the team lined up for its first overseas race event with the series visiting the Spa-Francorchamps. An incident-filled race saw the drivers presented with challenges, but both finished the one-hour event with Isa crossing the line in P25 with Ben recovering to P27.

Isa Al-Khalifa and McLaren Factory Driver Ben Barnicoat joined a grid of nearly 50 competitors for the Pro race, competing remotely on Assetto Corsa Competizione at the world-famous Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium for the second event of the five-round championship. Following the podium result scored by Ben and the team at Silverstone during the opening round of the season, both Ben and Isa each carried an additional 17kg of success ballast into the race which would present a new challenge.

The qualifying session saw both drivers struggle with the overall set up around the 7.004km circuit, with Isa also having the added challenge of learning the layout as he made his track debut. Despite this, Ben qualified the #99 McLaren in P22 and Isa repeated his Silverstone qualifying result, lining up P41 for the one-hour race.

As the race got underway, Isa and Ben made clean starts during an action-packed opening lap which saw both drivers benefit from various incidents near the front of the field. However, during only the second lap, Ben was forced to take avoiding action to prevent becoming caught up in a high-speed incident at Blanchimont while Isa also picked up some damage following contact with a competitor. These early incidents resulted in both the 2 Seas Motorsport McLaren 720S GT3s requiring repairs in the pitlane. With both drivers dropping down the order following the visit to the pitlane, the remainder of the race saw them both then working to recover positions.

After these initial issues, Isa and Ben returned to the track and ran faultlessly for the remainder of the race. Lap times for both the #383 and #99 were consistent, and both worked hard to move up the order in the closing half as the track temperatures dropped and the light began to fade. As the chequered flag dropped at the end of just over 60 minutes of racing, Isa’s Spa debut came to an end with him leading the team home in P25 while Ben followed behind in P27.

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

“Another challenging weekend, but a lot of positives to take away from the event. Although I have driven a lot of laps on the simulator, sim racing is a completely new skill to learn and I have never raced at Spa before so overall it was a new experience for me. It has been a big learning curve, but I am pleased with the progress we made over the weekend. The extra weight we carried from the success at Silverstone made a big difference and we struggled with the set up, but the aerodynamic package on the car felt strong and we were unfortunate again to require repairs in the opening laps. Overall the pace felt good and I am learning more about how the car reacts with each lap more, so we know the areas to work on for this weekend’s race at the Nürburgring.”

Ben Barnicoat, #99 McLaren 720S GT3 driver.

“It was a difficult race weekend, but we saw improvements through each session. I was unfortunate with the incident in the opening laps and that had a big impact on my race so we were always on the back foot from there, but that’s racing. From that point on, the pace felt good and we managed to make up some places during the second half of the race. We are all still learning this platform so there is an element of trial and error, and obviously the extra ballast made a difference, but we know what we need to do and that is where our focus is now. We have identified a few areas for improvement and are working on each of these for the next outing. The Nürburgring is a similar track to Silverstone where we were strong, so we are confident we can bounce back straight away.”

Focus for 2 Seas Motorsport has already now switched to Germany and the next round of the E-Sport GT Series Championship 2020 with Ben currently P5 in the championship. This coming weekend will see round 3 of the championship take place at the Nürburgring with both Isa and Ben back in action.