NGK & NTK Esports Cup: Round 3 Preview – Imola

January 31, 20247 min read

This Friday (February 2nd 2024), the third round of the 2024 NGK & NTK Esports Cup season will take drivers to virtual Italy.

This week, dozens of racers will be taking part in the two-race round as it heads to iRacing’s virtual Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, also known as the Imola Circuit.

This is the series’ second ever visit to the 4.9-kilometre facility. Back in 2022, Alex Mosin and Peter Daniel won a race each at the Italian circuit.

“Imola is a great historic track,” said 2024 series points leader Vince Peeters. “It has some interesting corners that are unique to the track. It flows nicely.”

As drivers get ready for the third round of the season, here is what competitors to expect this week:

Points Standings Entering Round 3

1Vince PeetersVisceral Esports132692010
2Alexander ThiebeURANO eSports10046146-55
3Gaël ValeroApex Racing Team9649145-56
4John EhlenDörr eSports9228120-81
5Darwin RomeroAstroRacing6846114-87
6Sergi MaturanaAstro Racing8030110-91
7Adam LockFFG Motorsport851499-102
8Norbert LeitnerImpulse Racing801898-103
9Daniel MuthNürburgring eSports504292-109
10Michael HaflidasonAM RACING TEAM603090-111

Last round at MotorLand Aragon, Peeters won his first race of the season in thrilling fashion. The Visceral Esports driver scored the Race 1 win with a three-wide pass for the lead with under two minutes to go.

That, along with a top five run in Race 2, has Peeters leading the series standings by 55 points.

Alexander Thiebe, who won the invert race, holds onto second spot by just one point ahead of Gaël Valero. John Ehlen (-81) and Darwin Romero (-87) round out the top five.

More About The Imola Circuit

LocationImola, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Track Length4.909 km (3.050 miles)

While the series is making just its second appearance at Imola, many of iRacing’s top drivers have experience at the facility, including Ehlen of Dörr Esports.

Ehlen, who is teammates with fellow series competitor Alessio Bender, said the key to winning a race this week would be lots and lots of practice. Ehlen has raced at the facility in the past in series like IVRA. He had also had very limited time to prepare for the last round – up to two hours – due to the iRacing 24 Hours of Daytona.

“Because the Track is very popular, the times will be really quick, which needs a lot of practice to be competitive.”

John Ehlen

Peeters, who ran official races at Imola all last week to learn the circuit’s track limits, thought people would need less practice instead of more. In turn, he expects Round 3 to have a less chaotic inverted race.

“A lot of people are familiar with Imola. They won’t need as much practice to get on pace. Perhaps the field will be closer in both the race and qualifying. The track also has fewer slow corners, this will make the reverse grid race less chaotic hopefully.”

Vince Peeters

Imola itself is known more as a technical circuit compared to other iRacing Italian staples like Monza. As mentioned during the Race Calendar/Car Review, the circuit features multiple hard-braking sections such as Tosa and Acque Minerali. In turn, attrition and drama are common in those sections of the circuit. Most drivers in turn usually attempt to make passes in Rivazza or down the main straight heading up to Tamburello.

Ehlen, who considers Imola as one of his favourite tracks, expects there to be a lot of overtaking opportunities overall.

Peeters in turn plans to focus once again on one strategy: drive away from the field.

“If I can drive away from the pack with whomever cooperates, I will take that opportunity any day. However, the race has to go a certain way for this to happen and draft will be huge on this track.”

Vince Peeters

Esports Brand Ambassador Patricija Stalidzane breaks down the circuit in her track guide here:

Timeline For Round 3

Time (CET)EventDuration
18:00 CET-19:15 CETFree Practice75 Mins
19:15 CET-19:25 CETQualifying 10 Mins
19:27 CET-19:52 CETRace 125 Mins
19:54 CET-20:19 CETRace 2 25 Mins – Reverse Grid

The Points Structure

Drivers will receive points based on their finishing position in their server and the Top 5in qualifying will also receive additional points as detailed below. This is designed to stop driver sandbagging for the reverse grid race.

A multiplier will be applied as a bonus based on how many splits were available for the race. After stewarding has taken place, the results will be processed and announced on the RaceSpot TV Website at http://racespot.tv/ngk-atk.

Qualifying Points


Race Points


The Prizes On Offer

For the first six rounds, drivers have the chance to win the following:

First Place – 100 €  Second Place – 50 €  Third Place – 25 €

The winner of the overall NGK & NTK ESPORTS CUP 2024 will receive a One Bavarian Simtech Wheel + 500 €. The second place driver will receive a One Tailoredrig (NGK Branded) + 250 €, and third place driver will receive an Alphatec Racing LED Screen + 150 €.

Positions 4-5 will receive 50 € , and Positions 4-10 will receive a NGK & NTK Goodie Bag. nThe driver with the fastest lap in the finals will receive a VRS Subscription.

How To Watch

You can catch the race on RaceSpot TV’s YouTube page on Friday afternoon, with live reporting of events here on RaceSpot News. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for more upcoming events, and make sure to come back to RaceSpot News to view the race recap after the event.

Watch Re-Run From Round 2 @ Motorland Aragon.

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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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