David Perel claimed victory in Sunday’s GT Rivals grand finale at Kyalami, as SRO America’s esports series came to a close after eight hard-fought rounds.
Racing on virtual home soil, the South African took his No. 111 Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 to a 0.289-second win over the No. 05 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 of Bryan Heitkotter.
Heitkotter, who entered the event with five wins on the season, assumed the lead on the opening lap from pole-sitter Tom O’Gorman, who dropped behind the Nissan and Perel’s Ferrari at the start.
GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS veteran Perel, however, got around Heitkotter for the lead on Lap 3 and didn’t relinquish the top spot from there.
Perel held off a late-race challenge from the Nissan GT Academy USA winner to claim his first win in GT Rivals competition.
Championship points were not awarded over the course of the season, with Sunday’s race instead serving as the title-decider.
O’Gorman finished third after making the switch from an Acura NSX GT3 Evo to a Porsche 911 GT3 R for this weekend’s race.
Nelson Mason, who started from the rear due to a penalty from the last round at Bathurst, charged through the field to finish fourth in his Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo, while Thomas Lastre was the best of the sim racers from Champion Motorsports in fifth.
Nick McMillen finished sixth, rebounding from an opening lap spin, while Jon Miller came home seventh, in front of Dakota Dickerson and Collin Mullan.
Kenny Murillo, in a Mercedes-AMG GT3, completed the top-ten.
As was the case in previous rounds, a number of drivers dropped out of contention for top-five finishes due to penalities.
It included drive-throughs awarded to sim racer Josh Staffin, while running in fourth, as well as Bathurst winner Karl Wittmer, due to contact with another car.