Spain Wins the Gran Turismo World Series Nations Cup on Home Soil

Team Spain took Nations Cup victory in an enthralling finals encounter that saw four nations vying for the win almost right to the finish.


It was a popular win on home soil, with the 2023 finals taking place in Barcelona, and met with overwhelming approval from the crowd as Pol Urra crossed the finish line in the grand final to confirm victory.


The win gave Jose Serrano his first ever title, as well as confirming the predictive power of the Toyota GT Cup event following Urra’s own win on Friday. As for Coque Lopez, he becomes the first driver to win two Nations Cups, and back-to-back at that.





Race 1 – Trial Mountain


After an initial qualifying session that saw each team’s top-ranked driver setting a lap in the new Bulgari Vision Gran Turismo at Tokyo Expressway South Counterclockwise Circuit, it was Spain that came out on top and had first pick of the available road cars.


Selecting the BMW M3 seemed like an error for Urra as Italy’s Mangano, driving the Lexus LFA, was all over him in the early stages. Mangano eventually made the pass for the lead on lap two, but couldn’t shake Urra as the duo began to drop the cars behind.


That gaggle, consisting of France, Japan, Brazil, and the USA, provided an interesting battle for much of the race, with Rikuto Kobayashi grabbing third down the back straight on the final lap from Kylian Drumont.


Urra made the same move in the same place too, coaxing Mangano to the inside for the hairpin and cutting under on exit to recapture the lead and ease to victory.


Race 1 Results


Spain (Pol Urra) – BMW M3 Coupe – 5 laps

Italy (Giorgio Mangano) – Lexus LFA – +0.684s

Japan (Rikuto Kobayashi) – Lamborghini Diablo – +3.325s





Race 2 – Watkins Glen


With the finishing order of each race determining the grid for the next it was Spain on pole position again, ahead of Italy, and it didn’t take long for the first major incident in the tricky Honda RA272 race cars.


With the finishing order of each race determining the grid for the next it was Spain on pole position again, ahead of Italy, and it didn’t take long for the first major incident in the tricky Honda RA272 race cars.


That all gave Japan the lead, but Suzuki was caught up in a bizarre crash that saw Beauvois lose control into Turn 1 and slide across the nose of the Japanese car to temporarily halt its process.


Having inherited the lead then on lap two, Brazil’s Igor Fraga needed no further invitation to show why he has four world titles and streaked away with the race to win by just over two seconds. Japan would claim second from Chile’s Fabian Portilla who’d remained out of trouble throughout and beat Serrano by a half second.


Race 2 Results


Brazil (Igor Fraga) – Honda RA272 – 5 laps

Japan (Seiya Suzuki) – Honda RA272 – +2.122s

Chile (Fabian Portilla) – Honda RA272 – +4.183s





Race 3 – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya


The result meant Spain just held onto the overall lead by one point from both Brazil and Japan, with Italy only two points further back, going into the final individual race in the diesel-powered Le Mans cars.


With Brazil starting first, Adriano Carrazza was faced with the challenge of giving a slipstream to everyone — but the cars behind him had mirrors full of Coque Lopez who was on a mission to bring the car up from its fourth-place start.


Chile was the first in his sights, overtaken into turn one almost three-abreast as Valerio Gallo tried to get into the mix too, eventually also getting past as Harald Walsen began to slip backwards. Then, on lap four, it actually was three abreast, with Lopez and Gallo going either side of Kobayashi for second and third.


Kobayashi and Gallo would end up scrapping for the final podium spot across the final lap, with Japan coming out ahead with a move into turn 10. With Carrazza winning from Lopez, Brazil would take the points lead ahead of Spain and Japan heading into the final race.


Race 3 Results


Brazil (Adriano Carazza) – Peugeot 908 HDI – 7 laps

Spain (Coque Lopez) – Peugeot 908 HDI – +0.880s

Japan (Rikuto Kobayashi) – Peugeot 908 HDI – +1.404s





Grand Final – Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps


That set up the traditional double-points, X2019 Competition finale nicely, with the top three all able to take the title with victory and Italy also well in contention but needing slip-ups from Brazil and Spain.


The leaders both elected to start on soft tires and, as the only teams to do so, quickly began to pull away from Japan in third. It wasn’t long until Spain hit the front too, as Lopez slipped past Fraga in a classic Spa overtake up the Kemmel Straight.


Come the pit stops though, the lead switched back to Brazil. Spain had used more fuel and took on more at the stop as the strategies diverged: Serrano was now in the car on medium tires for Spain and Bonelli took the hards.


With the tire differential it took barely a lap and a half for Serrano to take back the lead, but both cars were now being closed down by Gallo in the soft-shod Italian car. Brazil couldn’t offer much of a defence with the two-grade difference, and in any case pitted soon after, but Gallo’s tires started to seem very second-hand as he couldn’t get within 2.5s of Serrano.


Both of the European cars had to switch to hards for the final stint, but a shorter time spent fueling meant that Urra now had a significant advantage over Busnelli. Carrazza, on the mediums, wasn’t making big enough inroads, but now Japan came into play finishing the race strongly on the soft options.


Kobayashi was onto the back of Carrazza with three to go and straight past, but caught Busnelli at the wrong part of the track and had to wait until Blanchimont to move up into second. That left him six seconds back from Urra and with just one lap left.


It was, ultimately too much, and Japan would finish just over three seconds behind Spain at the flag for an extremely popular victory among the Spanish crowd!


Grand Final Results


Spain (Lopez/Serrano/Urra) – Red Bull X2019 – 22 laps
Japan (Kobayashi/Suzuki) – Red Bull X2019 – +3.434s
Italy (Busnelli/Gallo/Mangano) – Red Bull X2019 – +8.326s