NGK & NTK Esports Cup Race Calendar & Car Review

December 8, 202310 min read

As part of the third season of the NGK & NTK Esports Cup, drivers will be visiting four circuits making their series debuts in 2023-24.

Circuit Zolder, Hockenheimring, Rudskogen Motorpark, and Oulton Park all make their first appearances on the Esports Cup schedule as part of its move to iRacing.com. With seven total rounds, this season is the largest overall schedule in series history.

This season’s circuits include:

Race 1: Circuit Zolder, Dec. 15, 2023

Race 2: Motorland Aragon, Jan. 19, 2024

Race 3: Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Feb. 2, 2024

Race 4: Hockenheimring, Feb. 28, 2024

Race 5: Rudskogen Motorsenter, March 1, 2024

Race 6: Oulton Park, March 15, 2024

Final: Nürburgring, April 4, 2024

Schedule Breakdown

Round 1: Circuit Zolder

Location: Heusden-Zolder, Belgium

Track Length: 4.010 km (2.492 miles)

Turns: 10

The first round of this year’s calendar takes drivers to The Funtastic Circuit known as Circuit Zolder. Open since the 1960s, this 4.010-kilometre circuit features two long straightaways to set up passing opportunities as well as three tight chicane sections. Drivers in any class around Zolder have to deal with not just the tight turns, but also its 19 metres of elevation change throughout the course of a lap. In past RaceSpot TV-broadcasted races, attrition has been common in Sterrenwachtbocht (Turn 2), the Kleine Chicane (Turn 5), and in Bolderberghaarspeldbocht (Turn 8).

As part of this year’s preparations for the event, Esports Brand Ambassador Patricija Stalidzane created a track guide for Zolder, as seen here:

Round 2: Motorland Aragon

Location: Alcañiz, Aragon, Spain

Track Length: 5.345 km (3.321 miles)

Turns: 18

This year, Motorland Aragon makes its second straight appearance on the NGK & NTK Esports Cup schedule.

Last season, Alex Mosin and Sinan Gunay went back and forth for the race lead, trading paint several times. Mosin and Gunay won a sprint race a piece at the circuit, with Mosin picking up a round-high 58 points.

The circuit itself, designed by Hermann Tilke, has been open since 2009. The 5.345-kilometre circuit features a mix of long-sweeping corners and tighter, slower speed sections, giving the circuit a fun and unique flow and rhythm to it. During last year’s intense battles, the longest straightaway at the circuit – from the exit to Turn 15 all the way to Turn 16 – set up multiple overtaking opportunities. It remains the prime spot at the circuit to make passes this season on iRacing.com.

Round 3: Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari

Location: Imola, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Track Length: 4.909 km (3.050 miles)

Turns: 19

Also known as the Imola Circuit, the 4.9-kilometre Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari returns to the Esports Cup schedule for the first time since Season 1. During the 2022 campaign, Mosin started the round off right with a three-second victory in Race 1. The second race featured a lot more drama for the lead, however. After an intense battle in the opening few minutes of Race 2, Peter Daniel and Mariusz Zabdyr were broken up by hard contact from behind by Bence Farkas in Rivazza, sending the latter driver spinning into the gravel trap. Enzo Philippau took the lead from the ensuing chaos. Moments later, Philippau would give the lead back to Daniel after spinning out coming out of Tosa. Daniel would go on to win the race by less than a second.

The facility itself has been an Italian staple since 1953. While Monza is known as the Temple of Speed, Imola is more of a technical circuit, featuring multiple hard-braking sections such as Tosa and Acque Minerali. In turn, attrition and drama are common in those sections of the circuit. Many drivers tend to especially go off-track out of the latter corner, leading to stack-ups and spins on corner exit. Most drivers in turn usually attempt to make passes in Rivazza or down the main straight heading up to Tamburello.

Race 4: Hockenheimring, Feb. 28, 2024

Location: Am Motodrom, Hockenheim, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Track Length: 4.574 km (2.842 miles)

Turns: 17

The first of the debut circuits on the calendar is a Tilke-modified circuit with almost 100 years of history, the Hockenheimring. Originally called Dreieckskurs (which translates to “triangle course”, this German facility has had plenty of changes in recent decades, including the construction of a modernized track layout in the 2000s. A vast majority of the original track layout has since been torn apart and replaced by trees.

Today, the circuit itself is relatively flat and features a vast array of drafting sections, including the frontstretch and the run from Turn 4 all the way to the hairpin corner in Turn 6. It also remains fairly strict on track limits out of NordKurve and Turn 8.

Race 5: Rudskogen Motorsenter, March 1, 2024

Location: Rakkestad, Norway

Length: 3.254 km (2.022 miles)

Turns: 14

Also making its series debut this season is one of iRacing.com’s newest tracks, the Rudskogen Motorsenter. Norway’s national motorsports facility features 42 metres of elevation change throughout its 14-turn circuit. As drivers cut their way through the surrounding mountains, they will need to zip around a fairly tight racing surface, especially in the more technical Sectors 2 and 3. One of the prime opportunities to pass is the frontstretch. With 640 metres to work with, drivers tend to attempt to make their passes by the time they get to Turn 1.

Race 6: Oulton Park, March 15, 2024

Location: Little Budworth, Cheshire, England

Length: 2.692 miles (4.307 km)

Turns: 17

The penultimate race of the 2024 season takes drivers to the extremely tricky, but exciting Oulton Park. With lots of elevation changes, possible areas to slide off-track, and danger areas around the circuit, this could be the second-most challenging race of the season. With the car being used (the Toyota GR86), there are not really any significant drafting sections to rely on. Drivers will need to be able to not only hit their marks through the tight corners, but also very consistent to have a shot at being at the head of the field.

Final: Nürburgring, April 4, 2024

Location: Nürburg, Germany

Length: 25.378 km (15.770 miles)

Turns: 170

The Nürburgring and the Nordschleife. What else can one say?

Since the start of the Esports Cup, this circuit has been the host of the season finale. That will remain the same in 2024.

With more than 25 kilometres of twists, bends, and turns, the field will need to be extremely careful throughout the races. Not only will it be easy to lose the main pack fast, it will be a circuit with multiple chances to catch drivers off guard in their GR86s. If one drivers goes wide or drives into a guardrail, they could potentially take the whole field with them.

In other words, the final race of the season will be a true test of skill to see who wins the NGK & NTK Esports Cup for 2024.

Car Breakdown

Drivers will also be racing in Toyota GR86s this season. The series used GT3s in its first two seasons on other platforms.

From: Japan

Engine: 2.4-Litre Flat Four-Cylinder

Power: 223 HP

Fuel Capacity: 82.9 litres (21.9 gallons)

Weight: 1358.96 kg (2996 lbs)

Top Speed: 134 MPH (216 km/h)

0-60 mph (0-100 km/h) in 5.9 seconds

Price: Free

Difficulty: Novice

Year: 2023

Type: Beginner GT Racer

Configuration: Front-Engine RWD

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Justin Prince

Justin Prince

My name is Justin Prince. Since 2018, I have been broadcasting races with RaceSpot TV. I also have experience calling several iRacing World Championship Series over the past seven years. However, I also have more than 10 years of freelance reporting/journalism experience with various groups and companies.


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