The GPGSL is an AI-based series on Geoff Crammond's Grand Prix 4, that features real-life forum members take the roles as drivers and team bosses in simulated races. This means that entrants don't drive themselves, the game decides the results based on a performance system determined by previous results. Photos or videos of the sessions are then posted on the forum by the official broadcaster GPGTV. Each Season currently features a calendar of 18 races, which include races at a variety of global motor racing circuits as well as some fictional circuits. The rules and regulations of the series are enforced by the GPGSL Governing Body, which consists of forum members and competitors.
Between 2006 and 2008, there were two other AI-based championships on GrandPrixGames; WGP and W300. Due to some of the series administrators no longer having time to run the series, and many teams and drivers becoming inactive, the two series were folded and it was decided a new series would be formed. This became known as the GPGSL and featured many of the teams and drivers from the previous series, although the new sign-up process created controversy.
Season 1: A New Beginning
Season 1 was launched in July 2008, just a few months after the demise of the previous series. The Season 1 Austrian Grand Prix was the first race in series history, won by Monil Santilal for Double F. It didn't take long for one of the 11 original teams to drop out, with WGP/W300 stalwart Paul Willins abandoning the series and taking his Team RAC with him. Willins had finished last in the inaugural race, and thus maintains the worst individual driver record in series history with an average finish of 22nd. Alpha Motorsports thus joined the series for the second race, the Season 1 Brazilian Grand Prix. Santilal went on to lead the championship for the majority of the season, but finishes of 10th and 15th in the final two rounds, the Japanese Grand Prix and Australian Grand Prix, allowed Philip Oakley to become the first series champion, despite not winning a race. Minardi (later to become known as Van Smirren Motorsports) won the Constructors' Championship, with Oakley and Marko Aleksander at the wheel.
Season 2: Shadow DominatesAfter Season 1 only featured 10 races, Season 2 expanded to a calendar of 17 races, although this later ended up being 16 races after the cancellation of the French Grand Prix. The season itself saw a battle between the two Team Shadow entries of John Warrington, who eventually prevailed, and Ed Greenhalgh. Thus, Team Shadow became the first, and so far only, constructor to win a championship in the old and new eras. The season also saw another one of the heritage teams depart the series, with RaltWest leaving after Round 8.
Season 3: Oakley Repeats
For Season 3, Warrington moved to Double F and was replaced by Season 1 champion Oakley at Team Shadow. Just as in Season 1, Oakley was behind in the championship with two events to go, with Martini Paddock Racing's Marko Aleksander leading the championship. Aleksander then had results of a DNF in the Monaco Grand Prix and an eighth place finish in the British Grand Prix, which combined with Oakley's victory in the final race, allowed him to become the first driver to take a second title. Oakley, along with Greenhalgh, also provided Team Shadow with their second consecutive constructors' title.
Season 4: Testing Times
Season 4 was notable for the introduction of the testers' championship for the first time. The testers' championship, which was a feature of the WGP/W300 era, was introduced to include a greater number of drivers in the series, without the need to create a fully-fledged secondary series as was the situation previously. Zsigmond Somogyi, driving for Team Shadow, became the first champion of the new title. In the main series, Marko Aleksander was once again the bridesmaid, this time finishing behind Velox's Matt Houston. Velox, who had previously finished second in the WCC in Season 2, managed to complete the double with second driver, and team owner, Nick van der Voort also finishing third in the standings.
Season 5: One Job at a TimeThe major change for Season 5 was the new regulations that stipulated that race drivers could no longer manage teams simultaneously. This led to the end of the racing careers for several drivers such as Mal Stoddart, Ricardo van Smirren and Stuart Ingers, and the closure of teams such as Velox, Alpha Motorsports and Dark Xploder Racing. As such, a lot of new blood was ushered into the series for the new season. In what later turned out to be a controversial move, teams which changed hands were able to retain the performance of their predecessors. This proved to to be beneficial for Aston Martin Racing, who replaced Velox, who won the title in Season 5 with former Velox owner Nick van der Voort at the wheel. Marko Aleksander once again finished second in the championship, whilst AMR won the constructors' title in their debut year by a narrow margin over the indomitable Team Shadow. Unexpectedly soaked conditions at the United Arab Emirates Grand Prix in Dubai provided the season's most chaotic race. John Maverick, who was drafted in to make his championship debut for the struggling Van Smirren Motorsports, managed to take an unexpected victory and become one of the few drivers to win their first race.
Season 6: A Season of Two Halves
Season 6 began as one of the closest seasons in GPGSL history, with eight drivers from six teams winning the first eight races. This included the first and only wins for ScalaGP (then known as Tafuro GP) and Alpha Racing Team. After this diversity of winners in the first half of the season, the remaining nine races only saw three winners. Even more remarkably, seven of the final nine races were won by Ed Greenhalgh, who had moved to Aston Martin Racing at the start of the season to link up with his former team-mate John Warrington. This included winning five races in a row, an unmatched feat in GPGSL history. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this run allowed Greenhalgh and AMR to secure their championship titles at the Belgian Grand Prix, with two rounds to spare. Team owner Stuart Ingers also won the Testers' title for the team. Also unsurprisingly, Marko Aleksander finished second in the points standings for the fourth consecutive season.
Season 7: Triple Threat
Season 7 began where Season 6 left off, with Greenhalgh winning the first two races from pole. Three further pairs of consecutive wins during the season gave Greenhalgh a relatively comfortable championship title. It also provided AMR with their third constructors' title, becoming the first constructor to win a third. Heading into the final round at Silverstone, in what would be Aleksander's last, he once again was running second in the championship. However, a second place finish allowed Ruben Greidanus to leapfrog him in the points with his second consecutive victory in the season-ending race. Aleksander did have the consolation of winning the landmark 100th GPGSL event in the French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard. He finished his career with six out of seven seasons in the top three of the championship, yet never clinching a title. Season 7 was also the host of one of the most remarkable races in GPGSL history; the German Grand Prix, which began in wet conditions at the Nürburgring. Greidanus, who qualified last, moved up to 11th by Lap 11 after the first pitstops. With clearing conditions forecasted, he extended his second stint longer than most, and was able to switch to slicks whilst others were forced to make a third pitstop for their tyre change. He then held off Greenhalgh by only half a second to take a famous victory.
Season 8: Them Again
Season 8 was a more open affair, with 11 different winners from 7 different teams achieving victories across the season. A new points system was introduced which allocated points to every finisher in each race for the first time. The system was not used in future seasons, however did provide the basis for performance calculations. In the championship, with John Warrington having left the series, John Maverick moved into his AMR seat and went on to battle team-mate Greenhalgh for the championship title. The team-mates were two of the only three drivers to win more than one race in the championship year. However, Greenhalgh proved too strong and went on to become the first driver in GPGSL history to win a third title, and with the added notability of achieving it in consecutive seasons. With their drivers finishing first and second in the points, AMR won another WCC, and by the biggest margin in GPGSL history. They also won the Testers' title, with Andrei Sevastian at the wheel, to complete perhaps the most dominant series by a team in GPGSL history. Second in the WCC was One Racing, an impressive result in their first championship season in the GPGSL, having long been successful in the GPGSL-3 series. Season 8 was also notable for GPGTV producing the first live video broadcast in series history, for the South American Grand Prix at Boromo.
Season 9: Southern Cross StarsAhead of Season 9, Greenhalgh made a shock move to Martini Paddock Racing, breaking up the ultra-successful partnership at AMR. While the move was very amicable, tensions rose to near boiling point at that season's Belgian Grand Prix. AMR had won the previous four races at Spa-Francorchamps, with the last three won by Greenhalgh - at least one streak had to end, and as it turned out it happened in extremely controversial circumstances. In wet conditions, Greenhalgh had taken the lead as others had off-track moments, but was being closed down by AMR's Jack Elleker in the closing stages of the race. Heading into the Bus Stop for the final time, Elleker pushed Greenhalgh wide and went on to take the narrowest of victories. By the end of the championship, these lost points for Greenhalgh would prove crucial, as he was involved in yet another battle for the title. With two rounds to go, the surprise packet of the season, Joseph Gilson of Southern Cross Racing, led the points by a handy margin. At the penultimate round, the French Grand Prix at Dijon-Prenois, Greenhalgh won from pole, with Gilson finishing out side the points. This meant that the two were level on points heading into the finale at Silverstone. This time, Greenhalgh would ultimately not prevail. Gilson, who had only debuted in the main series in Season 8, secured the championship by two points, despite only finishing eleventh in the final race. Greenhalgh could only manage seventeenth Southern Cross Racing became only the fifth team to have a driver win the WDC. However, they were not able to win the constructors' title, with MPR winning their first WCC after nine seasons of trying. This meant Greenhalgh was involved with his sixth WCC in nine seasons in the championship.
Season 10: To Be Confirmed...The landmark tenth season of GPGSL began in mid-2015. New innovations in GP4 allowed five tyre manufacturers to be available to teams for the first time. The season also featured an eighteenth race for the first time, with the introduction of the World Grand Prix (later renamed to Flevoland GP) as season-finale, thus becoming the first season not to feature the British Grand Prix as season finale since Season 1. Three-time champion Greenhalgh announced he would retire at the conclusion of the series, meaning that no driver will enter Season 11 having competed in every GPGSL event.
- http://grandprixgames.org - Home of the GPGSL
- http://gpg-nc.wikia.com/wiki/GPG_Nations_Cup_Wiki - Wikia site for the GPG Nations Cup (2010-present), a similar series to the GPGSL at GrandPrixGames run by Tobias Kederer, Greg O'Brien and Natã Cremasco.
- http://www.grandprixgames.org/read.php?1,1085683 - Season 10 thread for the GPGSL-3 (2007-present), a similar series to the GPGSL using Grand Prix 3 at GrandPrixGames run by Rodrigo Vilela.