The third season of the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup kicked off with a barn-burner on Saturday, as the series visited Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace in the Interlagos neighborhood of Sao Paulo for the first time. When all was said and done, it was Kevin Ellis Jr. standing atop the feature race podium, giving the brand new Rahal Letterman Lanigan Esports team its first series victory in its very first race in the championship.

A new season means a clean slate for all 40 drivers who make it to the grid, and an opportunity to set the tone for a great season from the onset. That’s exactly what Virtual Racing School driver and inaugural series champion Josh Rogers was looking to do, and he started his chase for a second title by earning the pole position in qualifying and leading every lap of the 10-lap sprint race. Dayne Warren and Tommy Ostgaard completed the sprint race podium, while defending series champion Sebastian Job came in 12th, just ahead of former series race winner Maximilian Benecke in 13th.

The twist for 2021 is that, instead of inverting the top eight drivers between qualifying and the sprint race, the inversion happens for the feature. That meant that eighth place sprint finisher Alejandro Sanchez would put MSi eSports on pole for the main event, with Ellis in second. Sanchez would lead the first four laps of the 20-lap feature, but Ellis would take the lead on Lap 5 and never look back.

As the laps wound down, Mitchell deJong forced his way up to second, while Ellis’ RLL Esports teammate Zac Campbell and Benecke diced their way through the field to give themselves shots at podium finishes of their own. The field took the white flag with an RLL 1-2, but the experience of deJong and Benecke would win out; in a drag race at the line, Benecke would complete his comeback from a disappointing 22nd place qualifying run to finish second, with deJong third and Campbell the best-finishing rookie of the day in fourth. Both Rogers and Job ran into trouble and finished a disappointing 23rd and 31st, respectively.

Prior to the season opener, a slate of Twitch streamers and Porsche works driver Matt Campbell took part in their own All-Star race from Interlagos. Campbell won the sprint race, while Emily “Emree” Jones took the checkered flag in the feature. All-Star races will precede each Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup event in 2021, with influencers and real-world racers jumping in various Porsches on iRacing for a 10-race series of their own.

Results from the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup feature at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace were as follows:

Fin. St. No. Driver Laps Interval Led Best Pts.
1 2 30 Kevin Ellis Jr 20 16 1:35.059 50
2 13 11 Maximilian Benecke 20 -0.822 0 1:34.917 45
3 5 24 Mitchell deJong 20 -0.846 0 1:34.871 40
4 10 15 Zac Campbell 20 -0.942 0 1:34.748 37
5 4 5 Martin Krönke 20 -1.388 0 1:34.955 34
6 14 121 Diogo C. Pinto 20 -1.722 0 1:35.093 31
7 9 16 Mack Bakkum 20 -2.357 0 1:35.045 28
8 15 8 Graham Carroll 20 -3.369 0 1:35.503 26
9 17 99 Mikkel Gade 20 -3.370 0 1:35.361 24
10 6 58 Tommy Østgaard 20 -7.876 0 1:35.676 22
11 22 49 Jamie Fluke 20 -8.042 0 1:35.037 20
12 1 47 Alejandro Sánchez 20 -8.327 4 1:35.022 18
13 19 107 Tuomas Tähtelä 20 -9.003 0 1:35.178 16
14 7 57 Dayne Warren 20 -10.025 0 1:34.932 14
15 20 18 Sindre Setsaas 20 -10.477 0 1:35.255 12
16 21 33 Ricardo Castro Ledo 20 -10.668 0 1:35.030 10
17 11 7 Jeff Giassi 20 -11.171 0 1:35.222 9
18 33 04 Salva Talens 20 -16.288 0 1:35.010 8
19 18 312 Daniel Lafuente 20 -16.443 0 1:35.144 7
20 34 42 Matti Kaidesoja 20 -18.170 0 1:35.337 6
21 25 77 Jeremy Bouteloup 20 -18.794 0 1:35.207 5
22 23 13 Alexander Wolters 20 -21.371 0 1:35.379 4
23 8 92 Joshua K Rogers 20 -25.300 0 1:34.686 3
24 32 911 Ayhancan Guven 20 -29.310 0 1:35.216 2
25 35 31 David Williams 20 -30.292 0 1:35.855 1
26 39 50 Ricardo  Rico 20 -35.124 0 1:35.205 0
27 16 69 Moreno Sirica 20 -41.772 0 1:35.492 0
28 26 10 Jack Sedgwick 20 -47.634 0 1:35.216 0
29 24 729 Maxim Ramsteijn 20 -57.657 0 1:37.239 0
30 3 93 Charlie Collins 19 -1 L 0 1:35.077 0
31 12 1 Sebastian Job 18 -2 L 0 1:34.849 0
32 40 110 Christopher Dambietz 15 -5 L 0 1:35.340 0
33 38 211 Thibault Cazaubon 8 -12 L 0 1:35.970 0
34 27 27 Patrik Holzmann 6 -14 L 0 1:40.737 0
35 31 28 Carlos  Fenollosa 4 -16 L 0 1:37.085 0
36 30 43 Brian Lockwood 3 -17 L 0 0
37 28 119 Pekka Tuomainen 3 -17 L 0 1:37.118 0
38 29 12 Alexander Thiebe 3 -17 L 0 0
39 37 90 Yohann Harth 2 -18 L 0 1:37.156 0
40 36 51 Josh Thompson 1 -19 L 0 0

The Porsche TAG Heuer season continues this coming Saturday with a return to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, where Benecke took the feature victory last year. Coverage begins at 1PM ET/10AM PT with the All-Star race and leads into the World Championship at 2PM ET, and will air on Porsche and iRacing social media channels. For more information on iRacing and for special offers, visit www.iracing.com.

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