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  • Writer's pictureJustin Prince

NGK & NTK Esports Cup Finale Preview

Updated: May 13

It all comes down to this.

The battle for the NTK & NTK Esports Cup title comes down to a 10 lap finale at iRacing’s virtual Nürburgring Nordschleife on April 5.

Since late December, some of the best drivers on the platform have been focused on one goal: to lock themselves into the final round of the campaign.

“It's been a fun and challenging season, especially with the full reverse grids,” said Patrik Thomsen. “The series was always going to be interesting.”

The winner of the final race of the season will receive one Bavarian Simtech Wheel and a cash prize of 500 €.

As competitors get ready for the final round of the season, here is what to expect:

Who: Who Will Be Racing in the Finale?

After showing rapid pace all campaign, Alexander Thiebe enters The Green Hell as the regular season champion. Thiebe finished the campaign with a series-high seven wins. Vince Peeters, who started strong in the first half of the series, finished 35 points behind Thiebe.

“This season I think I could quite consistently bring results,” said Peeters. “I seem to have been able to navigate the reverse grids quite well and that paid off in the points.”

John Ehlen of Dörr eSports rounded out the top three in the standings, 132 points back.

The drivers invited to the season finale in Germany include:

Alexander Thiebe

Vince Peeters

John Ehlen

Gaël Valero

Michael Haflidason

Alessio Bender

Daniel Muth

Yuanxi Lin

Patrik Thomsen

Naz Addati

Sergi Maturana

Sara Dove

Darwin Romero

Nikolas Nolde

Norbert Leitner

Tamas Simon

Szymon Szczuczko

Mike Barber

Artem Makarov

Franco Sanchez

Sophie Aeronwen

Matias Penttilä

Harry Fox

Dave Christie2

Luis Beilicke

Noor Hendricks

Dario Dils

Juho-Checo Sopanen

Tanguy De Cock

Luca Munro

Meike Ploeg

Sam Chapman

Tim Beilicke

Daniel R Nicholls

One driver who confirmed they will not be able to race on Friday is Artur Gustems. The Firebird driver confirmed to race officials they were unable to race due to knee surgery. Gustems had missed the sixth race of the season due to that surgery.

Gary Lin also had to decline his entry due to a family emergency.

Thomsen, who rallied to a ninth place points finish after missing the first half of the series, expects Thiebe and Peeters to be some of his biggest competition in Germany.

“Thiebe has been strong. Peeters has shown promise too,” said Thomsen. “Maybe even my mate Luis (Beilicke) could give it a good shot.”

Where: Nürburgring Nordschleife

Location: Nürburg, Germany

Track Length: 25.378 km (15.770 miles)

Turns: 170

The field will have to conquer one final task to win the series title: win at The Green Hell.

The Nürburgring Nordschleife features 170 turns, multiple elevation changes, and dozens of dangerous corners. It takes not only a smart mind to survive a race at the circuit, but also a lot of luck, practice, and consistency.

Race Control confirmed this week that will be a 70 percent fuel load in each person’s Toyota GR86, per driver feedback. They will also have to serve a drive-through penalty after 35 incident points. Drivers will be disqualified if they reach 50 incident points in the race.

With the finale expected to be the longest race of the year, a lot can happen in Germany.

Peeters, who has been practicing more than usual this week, hopes his extra work pays off.

“Driving this car on this track is surprisingly different,” said Peeters. “Because it's so slow, some of the more difficult corners are simply flat out in this car. For example, the exit out of the 2nd carousel is quite important since it's the last 'corner' before the Dottinger Höhe.”

Thomsen also emphasized the importance of the straights.

“You need to have a survival mentality because realistically the only thing that matters is the Döttinger Höhe on the final lap,” said Thomsen.

Luca Munro, Contributing Editor for, is hoping to have fun. He was one of the final drivers to receive an invite to the finale.

“I'm feeling like I'm going to enjoy it,” said Munro. “I did the Nurburgring Endurance Championship opener (on iRacing) last week with the baseline GR86 setup. I was miles away from everyone else due to how much wing I had, but the Nordschleife is always a track that I love driving.”

Peeters expects Thiebe to be the biggest threat for the win because of it being his home track. He also considers qualifying to be critical.

“An off track on the one and only qualifying lap would absolutely kill off any chances at a win,” said Peeters. “If rain comes along, keeping out of trouble will also be essential. In the end, it comes down to Döttinger Höhe on the last lap. The driver with the best positioning will draft his or her way to the win.”

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