The 2023 Fanatec GT Europe season is in the books after a dramatic final weekend at Zandvoort, where the action on the circuit proved to be just as unpredictable as the Dutch weather.
Ultimately the sun shone on Ricardo Feller and Mattia Drudi, who clinched the Sprint Cup title in the best style possible with a brace of wins. Their tally of four victories and seven podiums from 10 races confirms that the Tresor Orange1 Audi duo were thoroughly deserving champions.
But what might have been an epic fight to the finish was scuppered on lap 1 of the closing when the #88 Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMG was tapped into a spin. This was a painful ending for Raffaele Marciello and Timur Boguslavskiy, who ultimately took a third runner-up finish in four years.
There was more joy and despair in the Gold Cup and Silver Cup as championships were won and lost. Indeed, of the three crews that entered the weekend at the top of their respective class standings, not one left Zandvoort with the drivers’ title. These are the final stories and stats from the 2023 Sprint Cup finale.
- Feller and Drudi became first-time Sprint Cup drivers' champions on Sunday afternoon, while Tresor Attempto Racing, which operates the Tresor Orange1 entry, secured its maiden the teams' title.
- This name is new for 2023, formed from an alliance between Ferdinando Geri's Tresor Competition and Arkin Aka's Attempto Racing. The latter has been a Fanatec GT Europe stalwart, making its first appearance at Nogaro in 2015 and scoring a maiden overall win at Zolder in 2018.
- Audi, meanwhile, enhanced its status as the most successful brand in Sprint Cup history. The drivers' title was the seventh for the brand, while it has amassed an astonishing 10 teams' titles in 11 seasons. This marks the first time it has done so without Team WRT.
- The #40 Tresor Orange1 Audi swept the weekend on its way to securing the championship. This marked the first instance of a crew taking both overall victories since Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts did so at Misano in 2022. It is the sixth sweep since the current race weekend format was introduced in 2018.
- Sunday's triumph came from ninth on the grid, bettering the #40 crew's run from P7 to victory at Brands Hatch. Remarkably, in the 120 Sprint Cup contests staged since 2013, only two races have been won from a lower starting position.
- Thierry Vermeulen and Albert Costa (#69 Emil Frey Racing Ferrari) earned runner-up spot in Race 1 to bank a second podium in as many weekends. It owed a great deal to the progress made by Vermeulen, whose performance level took a major step at Hockenheim and developed further over the final two weekends.
- Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts took second position in Race 2, completing a run of 10 straight points-paying finishes for the Belgian duo. Though they could not secure a fourth successive title, the #32 crew earned a win and five more podiums to place third in the final Sprint Cup standings.
- Valentino Rossi and Maxime Martin secured a third podium of the season in Race 1. The #46 Team WRT BMW concluded the campaign with a P1 (Misano), P2 (Brands Hatch) and P3 (Zandvoort). Notably, this was the duo's first podium in a race that Rossi qualified for and started.
- In Race 2, the final spot on the overall podium went to the #30 Team WRT BMW. This standout performance saw Calan Williams and Niklas Krütten become the first Gold Cup crew to score an overall Sprint Cup podium. More importantly, it gave them a class win that clinched the Gold Cup drivers' championship.
- This title battle swung in Race 1 when the #9 Boutsen VDS Audi lost its class win for causing a collision with the #54 Dinamic GT Porsche. Adrien De Leener was judged to be slowing correctly for a full-course yellow when Alberto di Folco made contact from behind.
- This handed the win to the sister #10 Audi of Adam Eteki and Cesar Gazeau, ensuring that all five full-season Gold Cup crews ended 2023 with a win to their name. What's more, all five began Sunday with a shot at the class title. While the combined and Sprint Cup drivers’ championships went to Williams/Krütten, both teams' titles were won by Boutsen VDS.
- By finishing sixth in Race 2, the #77 HRT Mercedes-AMG secured the best overall result of the season for a Silver Cup car and wrapped up both class titles. The drivers' crown was won by Jordan Love, who shared with Frank Bird at Brands Hatch, Misano and Zandvoort, while Alain Valente deputised at Hockenheim and Valencia.
- The #99 Tresor Attempto Racing Audi finished second in the standings having entered the weekend as championship leader. The trip to Zandvoort did not play out as planned for the pairing of Alex Aka and Lorenzo Patrese, with the latter out of contention in Race 2 before the conclusion of the opening lap after making contact with the #88 Mercedes-AMG.
- Madpanda Motorsport came home as Silver Cup runner-up in the final race, matching its best result of the campaign. The #90 Mercedes-AMG of Ezequiel Perez Companc and Jesse Salmenautio finished fourth or better in nine out of the 10 races this term to claim third in the class standings.
- Two regular Bronze Cup crews contested the Zandvoort weekend: the #112 JP Motorsport McLaren ran in the Gold Cup, while the #44 CLRT Porsche was a Pro entry. The latter marked the first top-tier appearance for Côme Ledogar's squad and was rewarded with a front-row start for Race 1.
- The #46 Team WRT BMW secured pole for Race 2 after three-place penalties for the #14 Emil Frey Racing Ferrari and the #159 Garage 59 McLaren. Both cars were found to have set fastest sector times under yellow flag conditions. As such, what would have been a maiden series pole for Giacomo Altoè became a maiden series pole for Maxime Martin.
- The trip to Zandvoort brought the curtain down on the 2023 Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS campaign. The 2024 season is set to launch at Circuit Paul Ricard on 5-7 April, while the Sprint schedule will contest its traditional opener at Brands Hatch (4-5 May).