ESPORTS: Successful race weekend at Bathurst 12h

Published on
26 Feb 2024
Est. reading time
10 Min

Read how the teamwork of our drivers brought home the results in a rollercoaster ride of a race

The iRacing Bathurst 12 Hour is a 12-hour endurance race staged on the Mount Panorama Circuit in Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia.
This event serves as the opening round to the Intercontinental GT Challenge Series in the real world, and will feature GT3 cars.
Williams Esports won this iconic race back in 2019 aboard the Porsche 991 car driven by Alexander Voss and Nils Koch, as multiclass was permitted by then, until iRacing took the decision to just allow all GT3s.
A total of 50 cars per split, were we joined the main one with x5 cars:
Williams Esports Chillblast (Porsche GT3) [Daniel Lafuente, Vasilios Beletsiotis]
Williams Esports BenQ (Porsche GT3) [Louis Nahser, Daniel Pasztor]
Williams Esports Fanatec (Mercedes-AMG GT3) [Kamil Grabowski, Parker White]
Williams Esports Academy #1 (Mercedes-AMG GT3) [Jerzy Glac, Mateuz Nogaj,Qio-Tiago Marteau]
Williams Esports Academy #2 (Mercedes-AMG GT3) [Thibaud Prevot]
To highlight the comeback of Louis Nahser, who was absent since early 2023 when he took part in one of the Williams Esports work experiences placements at Grove, UK.
On the other side, surprising and inspiring once again Parker White as he became one of the most versatile drivers on iRacing this year; not only competing on this special event, also eNASCAR iRacing Series and iRacing Porsche SuperCup.
In the build-up to Bathurst, it's been a really close run thing with BoP. The team was forced to test all GT3 to ultimately work out which one fit the best when it comes to driving style. The race was expected to be pretty tight and definitely down to driver ability as opposed to BoP.


Bathurst, similar to Monaco in F1, is the track where a single mistake could be paid off with a DNF and with consequence the end of qualifying. Williams Esports’ teams managed to qualify inside the Top 15, aspiring for good chances to avoid traffic and incidents on the first stages of the race.
The circuit itself is not only known for its close walls but also for being a narrow circuit, with a high risk that an accident could cause a scuffle in which to get trapped and lose the race.
Qualifying results:
BenQ - P6
Chillblast - P9
Fanatec - P13
Academy #77 - P20
Academy #88 - P26
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Thanks to the attitude of all the participants (it is implied that the first split hosts the number of most experienced drivers and teams in the simulator) we did not have to regret any accidents, which meant we were not involved in any setbacks at the beginning of the race.
The WIlliams Esports cars were fighting for their positions, and until lap 42 we did not have to regret the first incident for the team, where one of the Academy cars, driven by Jerzy Glac, was hit by one of the opponents without being able to avoid contact with the wall and which meant several minutes of repairs (2 laps behind the leader).
Both Chillblast and BenQ cars were slightly ahead of the other Williams cars, with solid positions on Top 10, however during the early stages of the race, it was clear that the Lamborghini, Mercedes-AMG and Porsche were split in pace around Mount Panorama with the Lamborghini having the biggest advantage over every other car and our drivers having to both defend and keep up with teams using it!
Within the first 80 laps of the race, we found our Fanatec (Mercedes), BenQ and Chillblast (Porsche) sandwiched in a Lamborghini dominant top 10 field with one car ahead that we had to chase down to not fall behind and one car behind too, quickly closing up on all three of our teams at once before the pits. Parker White in the Fanatec powered Mercedes-AMG found himself defending both the pit undercut and for his teammates a few seconds down the road with Altus Esports pushing their livery into the mirrors across 5-10 laps.
Unfortunately for Parker, he eventually found himself overtaken by the Lamborghini but was close enough to stay relatively close to Altus Esports in and out of the pits. Thanks to his efforts however, the BenQ and Chillblast continued to own a safe gap, remained on pace with the Lamborghini ahead and pushed on with a longer stint than others in the pits, whilst working with each other to complete the undercut later on down the race, for a lap or two more, pushing into the top 7 before heading for a driver change.
The first half of the race was steady and strategic through the whole grid, seeing pit tactics become the main factor of the fight so far. After making our driver changes, now with Louis Nahser, Daniel Lafuente and Kamil Grabowski behind the wheel, we found ourselves in P9 for BenQ, P11 for Chillblast and P12 for Fanatec which dropped us back a few positions for now but would be a big part of our race in the later stages and final finishing result.
By Lap 79, Louis Nahser would now catch up to another Lamborghini of Dorr Esports and start putting on the pressure for P9, creating mistakes for the car ahead but staying behind to continue distracting their pace for teammate Daniel Lafuente in the Chillblast just over 1.5s in the rear, to join the fight and work together in staying with the Italian made powerhouse standing between them and a net P6 in the next pit stop window but would require two of our Porsche’s to keep them in sights.
Not long after however, on Lap 86, the Chilblast would come into the pits for its change once again, going from over a second to just a 0.3 gap and this is where the undercut strategy from the longer stint 30 laps prior would come into effect. Louis Nahser would continue to stay with the Dorr Esports Lamborghini 6 laps more whilst Chillblast was back on track in P8, making up three positions. The BenQ would then pit on Lap 92 with Daniel Pasztor in the car and exit, gaining four positions on MAHLE, BS+ Competition and Dorr Esports, now in P6.
Throughout the remainder of the first half of the 12 hour, all cars would keep in the same positions and would now see the Porsche begin to develop similar pace to the Lamborghini with the track conditions improving and giving us the opportunity to fight amongst the front pack, whilst the Mercedes-AMG powered Fanatec would begin to make time back up in P15, racing for P12 after their earlier sacrifices for our teammates ahead.


Things started to get lively from here on!
Closing in on the Halfway Mark at Bathurst, Parker would be back in the seat after a great stint from himself and Kamil Grabowski beforehand, piloting the Fanatec car. The Mercedes-AMG would now pick up some more pace also and saw Parker complete another undercut in the pit and overtake the Porsche powered GNG team who they’d been hunting down for approximately 30 mins to an hour which would place them P14 and allow them to start pushing towards the two Mercedes-AMG cars ahead in P13 and P12.
As for the BenQ car, Louis Nahser would begin the sprint for the top 5 with the Simufy Porsche and felt good with the performance so far despite small understeer which was affecting his chances of getting past. By lap 179 though, Louis saw his chance and took it through turn 2 up the Mount.
This battle would persist throughout the rest of the race where on lap 194, the gap between the two cars would open in our favour as the Simufy were caught in lapped cars and struggled to get through the traffic, giving us another opportunity to run away into the top 5!
BenQ wasn’t the only one to make the moves. After pitting early on race strategy, Daniel Lafuente would send the Chillblast into P7 past the MAHLE BMW and made it stick as he defended from this point onwards. The momentum was on!
9 hours had passed and the Fanatec machine had progressed from 6+ seconds outside of the top 10 in P12/P13 to P10, the team really were finding their paces. Not only was the Fanatec car progressing up in the Mercedes-AMG, but the fellow Academy #77 would be on the push for the top 15 from P20 - competing with some of the Pro Team!


Counting down to the race finish, we were in the 2nd half of the 12 and last few hours. This was where it all counted to get everything perfect.
At 2 hours to go, the #77 Academy were P14 with Thibaud Prevot, focused on the back of Drago HC to get the top 15 finish secured. Up the road, BenQ were still in great form and in the ever so close fight with Simufy for P4 as time was ticking away and pressure built up.
On lap 307 with 1 hour and 15 minutes to go, Louis knew he was the faster Porsche and did what he’d done best all race and took his chance again before the last pit stop windows, claiming P4 with a late braking move into the hard left chicane, catching Simufy off guard.
Our positive progress was cut short 8 laps later unfortunately. The BenQ had a repeat situation of the Simufy in reverse with lapped traffic and Louis needed to push but couldn’t get passed. Whilst our on track rival would be pitting, the gap was quickly cut down and our advantage was thrown away - it would be a race to the pit exit and just what we didn’t want, Simufy overtook us out of the pit exit and would now be +1.5s in front, with BS+ Competition rapidly catching us from +3 to +1.8s in P6. A three way fight for P4.
Sadly, we couldn’t keep up with Simufy for P4 in the last 30 mins through the traffic and had to start fuel saving to the end. The BS+ competition was struggling in the traffic also and would stop catching, it was all down to bringing it home safely.


Crossing the chequered, our final results:
BenQ - P5
Chillblast - P10
Fanatec - P13
Academy #77 - P15
Academy #88 -P36
The BenQ held on to finish P5 with the Chillblast gaining 1 position in the final hour for a strong P10. Sadly, the Fanatec lost P12 late on despite it’s incredible efforts for the team and remained in their positive P13 Qualifying position whilst the #77 advanced +5 places to go from P20 to P15 and it’s sister #88 car showing their resilience at the back in P36.


Louis Nahser (BenQ): "Quite a difficult preparation phase meant that we were only focussed for 2 days to build a setup for the Porsche.
"In the end we gambled on the wrong car / weather combination. Driving wise I would still mark it as a good effort."
Vasilios Beletsiotis (Chillblast): “We had a clean start into the race which was very important.
"Sadly, the Porsche was not the fastest car this time around so anything more than a P4 was not possible. Performance wise, we can be proud.
"Both Dani and I were driving 12 Hours without any major mistakes and our pace was great, but due to the changes in strategy - it prevented us from converting our great performance into a great result and we had to settle in P10.
"Not happy about it with the prep we’ve done for this race, but at least it’s good to know that we as drivers did a great job in teamwork and working together to keep our paces up."
Kamil Grabowski (Fanatec): "We finished Bathurst 12H in P13. Together with Parker we executed our strategy well, didn't get involved in any incidents, made little to no mistakes and overall ran a decent race, so I'm quite happy with how it went.
"A big thank you to everyone at Williams Esports who worked hard in all areas for this race and to my wonderful teammate Parker for his incredible racecraft and consistency!"
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