Jordan Pepper claimed victory in the opening round of the SRO E-Sport GT Series on Sunday, leading most of the 60-minute virtual race at Silverstone.
Driving K-PAX Racing’s Bentley Continental GT3, Pepper inherited the lead around ten minutes into the 60-minute sprint race that was run with no pit stops.
Thereafter, the South African continued to build his lead while battles for the remaining podium positions unfolded behind him.
He had started from sixth on the grid but moved up to third on the opening lap, behind the McLaren 720S GT3s of Ben Barnicoat and Fabrizio Crestani.
Pepper’s opportunity to take the lead came when the two McLaren drivers collided with GPX Racing’s Louis Deletraz, causing all three cars to lose position.
Crestani and Deletraz were handed drive-through penalties for the contact, while Barnicoat escaped with only a few lost positions.
The British McLaren factory driver made up several places during the rest of the race and eventually managed to finish runner-up, crossing the line seven seconds behind Pepper.
Barnicoat’s late-race progress included an impressive move on 2018 Blancpain GT champion Raffaele Marciello, who was forced to settle for third in his AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3.
Italian kart racer Luigi Di Lorenzo placed fourth, ahead of David Perel and Seb Morris.
The field included almost 50 professional racing drivers, comprising many GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS regulars and other high-profile names such as Jenson Button and Ferrari Formula 1 ace Charles Leclerc.
The race, which was run on the Assetto Corsa Competizione platform, did have a number of incidents and a high degree of contact, resulting in several early retirements.
Each driver’s worst race result is omitted from the final standings at the end of the season.
The next round is scheduled for May 10 at Spa-Francorchamps.