The Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series is a new type of competition, which blurs the lines between sim racing and real world motorsport.
Photo credit: IGDB / Kunos Simulzaioni
Since early 2020, the boundary between sim racing and real-world motorsport has become far hazier and less defined. All sorts of professional racing drivers took to various sims during the initial coronavirus lockdown period, racing wheel-to-wheel with sim racing experts. SRO Motorsports Group, who run the GT World Challenge Europe racing series, has taken this a step further by incorporating sim racing into the structure of their race weekends.
A new type of series
The Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series, as this new competition will be known, runs in tandem with the World Challenge itself. Races will take place on Saturday evenings, with the first being 17 April. They will be one-hour long and will use Assetto Corsa Competitzione as their platform of choice. The first race of the season will take place at the purpose-built Fanatec Arena at Monza, alongside the GT World Challenge event held at the same circuit.
One driver from each team participating in the Pro and Silver Cup races will compete in the Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series race, with a small number of real-world championship points on the line for the podium finishers. Each team will use the same car manufacturer in game as they do in the World Challenge.
Ready to make history? Real-world points will be awarded during Saturday night’s inaugural @fanatec Esports GT Pro Series race, which features some of the world’s best GT drivers.— GT World Challenge Europe (@GTWorldChEu) April 15, 2021
PREVIEW & ENTRY: https://t.co/6H6lcGUwr8
🎮 @AC_assettocorsa Competizione pic.twitter.com/3rhSsUlJxd
Of the drivers chosen for the first GT Pro Series esports race, names such as Maro Engel, Kelvin van der Linde and Ben Barnicoatstand out. Mexican driver Ricardo Sanchez is favoured going in to this first event, as he made his way to real-life racing by way of sim racing success in the GT Academy in 2014.
So how will it work?
On Friday, 16 April, there will be a nine-hour long practice session available to the teams, although each driver can only practice for a maximum of two hours. Saturday will feature a warm-up session followed by a 20-minute qualifying to determine the grid order for the race. This will follow straight after and last for one hour, starting at 6.55 PM CEST, 15 minutes after the end of qualifying.
The Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series will consist of five rounds, each of which will yield points to the podium finishers. Every driver will have to make a mandatory pitstop between 25 and 35 minutes into the race, and a success ballast will be applied to the front three cars from each of the Pro and Silver class races. The races will be broadcast live on SRO’s YouTube, Twitch and Facebook pages, if you want to catch the action yourself.
What do you think of this blend of real and sim racing? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!