Jordan Pepper says he’s glad to reward his team with the first win in the SRO E-Sport GT Series after an “incredible effort” from K-PAX Racing’s new esports venture.
The Bentley factory driver says he owes his victory in the opening round of SRO Motorsports Group’s new esports series on Sunday to the cooperation of real-world and sim racing experts gathered at K-PAX Racing by Sirio eSports.
The partnership of California-based K-PAX, for whom Pepper will compete in the ‘real’ GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS this year, and Madrid-based esports team Sirio makes Pepper and Andy Soucek two of the best prepared drivers on the virtual grid.
Pepper explained that much of the support behind his success came from Sirio’s three sim racing experts (Alberto Garcia, Philippe Simard and Tariq Gamil) who also competed in the Silver Series races shortly after helping the South African to victory in the Pro round.
“The three of them are the driving force behind our setups,” Pepper tells Sportscar365.
“They are the ones pushing the car forward, they’re all really smart, intelligent guys who understand the car really well.
“They’re crazy data-driven, which is awesome, they know the game really well, which is important, and they know how to extract performance out of the car, which helps.
“Not only have they been engineering and helping the car along with our feedback but they have also been helping us, myself and Andy, develop our styles.
“It goes the other way, we’ve been able to share a lot of knowledge from the real world over to them, which has helped them perform as well.
“It’s a great venture, a great partnership between K-PAX and Sirio eSports. With the two of them combining both factors from the real world and the virtual world, we’ve formed a really strong package.”
Further to the developments made by the partnership between K-PAX and Sirio, Bentley itself has put its weight behind virtual racing and is currently one of the most heavily-involved manufacturers on the grid.
“A little over a month ago I was on a conference call with Bentley, discussing esports,” Pepper says.
“As this championship was brought into light by SRO, Bentley said, ‘Hang on a minute, we need to get stuck in here and do it well’.
“We first jumped on and realized our car needed some developments, we need to pass some information over from real life into the virtual world to get it competitive, because it was still basically modeled on how the car came out the workshop the first time.
“We’ve made big developments in the real world so we had to pass that over to the virtual world.
“Our boss [Bentley Motorsport director] Paul Williams is really focused on esports. He really wants to do well and I love how he’s driven because any project that Bentley Motorsport is entering, he is really driven to succeed.
“It’s a great tool just to be able to have him to talk to, always chatting backwards and forwards, speaking about things we can improve for Bentley in the virtual world.
“There are so many guys putting in loads and loads of hours and looking at data; improving, improving, improving. It’s always cool to reward them with a win straight off the bat.”