FANATEC GT: Porsche seizes narrow advantage in global World Challenge standings

FANATEC GT: Porsche seizes narrow advantage in global World Challenge standings

• New leader in race for global supremacy as Porsche overhauls Mercedes-AMG
• Change follows five events in three weeks across America, Asia and Europe
• Season continues next weekend (1/2 June) with Fanatec GT Australia heading for The Bend
Global standings after 10 of 30 events

Fanatec GT World Challenge Powered by AWS has witnessed a shift in power during recent weeks, with Porsche establishing a narrow lead at the top of the global standings and BMW making significant gains on the lead duo.

It comes after a three-week spell featuring five events, which saw the continental series in America, Asia and Europe all in action. Thanks to the success and consistency of its customer GT3 teams, Porsche now holds a 15-point advantage over defending winner Mercedes-AMG, while BMW appears ready to make it a three-way fight with two thirds of the season remaining.

Two series were in action over the weekend of 4/5 May, with both Fanatec GT Europe and its American counterpart staging their second events of 2024. The former was at Brands Hatch, a circuit that features on many drivers’ list of favourites. BMW (Team WRT) and Mercedes-AMG (Winward Racing Team Mann-Filter) shared the overall wins on this occasion, though Ferrari earned the biggest points haul of the weekend thanks to a Silver Cup triumph for AF Corse and a pair of overall podiums for Emil Frey Racing. 

There was a big score for Audi – which won both Gold Cup races with Saintéloc Racing and Liqui Moly Team Engstler by OneGroup – while the Mercedes-AMG tally was bolstered by a Silver Cup triumph for Boutsen VDS. In contrast to the broader global picture, Porsche did not score especially well with its 911 GT3 R. 

Meanwhile, at Sebring International Raceway, the German manufacturers were once again at the forefront. This was another strong weekend for BMW, which captured a pair of Pro-Am wins courtesy of Turner Motorsport and ST Racing. Porsche's customer squads also performed well, highlighted by RS1 earning both Pro class victories in the Sunshine State. And, while it did not take a win, Mercedes-AMG also banked a solid haul thanks to the efforts of CrowdStrike Racing by Riley Motorsports and Regulator Racing. 

The next stop on the global tour was the Chang International Circuit in north-eastern Thailand. Opened in 2014, the 4.6km venue in Buriram Province played host to the second Fanatec GT Asia meeting of 2024 and, in terms of points, was a significant event for Porsche. Race 1 brought victory in the Silver-Am class courtesy of Origine Motorsport, which also bagged Race 2 honours in Pro-Am. Absolute Racing added to the tally by taking the second contest's Silver Cup win. 

Audi was able to bolster its score, with Audi Sport Asia Team Absolute taking Race 1 honours in Pro-Am and the Silver Cup. Lamborghini and Ferrari were also among the winners, taking Am Cup honours courtesy of The Spirit of FFF Racing and Garage 75 respectively. Nevertheless, this was unquestionably a Porsche event: its weekend tally of 1,354 points was the biggest of the past five rounds and played a significant role in the Stuttgart marque's rise to the top.

For the second time in succession, both Fanatec GT Europe and Fanatec GT America raced concurrently over the weekend of 18/19 May. The former made its 10th annual visit to Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, which featured racing under the lights on Saturday evening. BMW enjoyed a weekend to remember thanks to Team WRT, with the M4 GT3 securing both overall victories – including an immensely popular triumph for local hero Valentino Rossi – as well as two Silver Cup wins.

Audi again made the most of its numerical advantage in the Gold Cup by scoring a double triumph, first with stalwart customer squad Saintéloc Racing and then with CSA Racing. In the Bronze Cup, meanwhile, Porsche and Ferrari were the winners courtesy of Dinamic GT and Sky Tempesta Racing respectively. 

Next up, Circuit of the Americas – better known as COTA – an undulating 5.5km road course on the outskirts of Austin, Texas. ST Racing continued its strong form in Fanatec GT America, taking both Pro-Am wins for BMW with its driver pairing of Samantha Tan and Neil Verhagen. Porsche also scored well Stateside thanks to Wright Motorsports and RS1.

COTA marked round 10 of 30 in the global campaign and, for the first time this year, Porsche tops the standings with 6,086 points, 15 clear of Mercedes-AMG. But this is by no means a two-horse race: having emerged from three of the past five rounds with the biggest score, BMW sits third on 5,390 points. Ferrari (4,716 points) and Audi (4,384 points) are next after some strong recent showings, followed by Aston Martin, Lamborghini, McLaren and Ford.

The season continues with the third round of Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS, which takes place at The Bend on 1/2 June, followed by the latest Asian instalment on 22/23 June at Fuji. After that comes the biggest scoring opportunity on the calendar, the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa, which will stage its centenary edition with a 67-car field on 29/30 June. There will then be further rounds for Asia at Suzuka (6-7 July) and Europe at Hockenheim (20/21 July), while the Fanatec GT America season resumes at VIR on 20/21 July.