A McLaren Formula One car in a different colour scheme to the one they race in real life.
Image credit: McLaren Shadow

F1 Sim Racing Kicks Off 24 November

F1 23

F1 Esports is going through a heavy revamp, ditching the name used thus far. Rebranded as F1 Sim Racing, the series will kick off in late November 2023.

Recently, we detailed the planned upcoming season of what was formerly known as F1 Esports. With all events being onsite, the season lasting until early next year and ESL taking over from Gfinity as the organisers, a big revamp seemed to be in order.

Indeed, the series will be known this year as the F1 Sim Racing World Championship. It seemed there were crickets on when the season would start, but now we know for a fact.

F1 Sim Racing Start Date Confirmed?

According to a press release by Red Bull Sim Racing (renamed from Red Bull Racing Esports), we can expect the championship to begin Friday 24 November. In our initial article on the plan for F1 Sim Racing, the season was set to begin in October.

The season opener would have had the drivers competing at the Circuit of the Americas, supporting the US Grand Prix. Then Event 2 would have had them at Las Vegas this weekend also in support of the F1 race. However, this has not materialised.

The next logical step would be to kick off the season at the next planned event. DreamHack Winter in Jönköping, Sweden will be taking place from 23 to 26 November, and for sim racing esports fans, it will be a double billing of action. The ESL R1 Fall online season has just wrapped and the top 24 drivers are competing to decide the driver’s champion of the Fall Major.

ESL R1 Fall Season championship leader Sebastian Job will be competing for the Fall Major championship at DreamHack Winter. But he is also on standby for F1 Sim Racing, acting as a reserve should Red Bull teammates Frederik Rasmussen and Josh Idowu not be able to compete.

Along with Red Bull, the only other team to have made a formal announcement is McLaren. Their reveal may have hinted at something unique about the plan for F1 Sim Racing.

Dedicated F1 Sim Racing Liveries

After the first running of F1 Esports in 2017 where drivers just raced individually, 2018 saw the teams becoming a part of it. At first all but Ferrari were involved, until they joined the following year.

Many of their sim racing divisions ran liveries different to their real life one in other championships. But F1 Esports had them all running their real life F1 livery from that year. This, however, could be about to change. With the series running into next year, the real teams are due to change their liveries heading into the upcoming season.

Pre-existing sponsors could be leaving and new ones may be joining. Even potential rebrands like the rumoured AlphaTauri rebrand to Adidas could happen heading into 2024. An example of the issues this could cause is the Virtual Grand Prix ran in early 2020, with all the teams’ 2019 liveries on display.

A bit of a headache for Haas, who had long since parted ways with Rich Energy. So how to tackle this in F1 Sim Racing? Well, it would appear the teams will be racing their own custom liveries.

In the teaser video by McLaren Shadow, the car is in a colour scheme vastly different to the real F1 car. So it may be a stretch, but perhaps we can expect the F1 Sim Racing teams to be running different liveries to their real life cars.

For example, Mercedes run a hint of pink on their livery in other sim racing championships. Red Bull, in past seasons, sported a neat set of lines and circles on the sides of their cars. Williams perhaps have the sim racing livery that is furthest removed from the one they use in F1.

A white and blue open wheeler racing car.
Might this be the livery that Williams run in F1 Sim Racing this upcoming season? Image credit: Williams Esports

For the avid collectors out there who play F1 23, perhaps these F1 Sim Racing liveries will release for the My Team spec car or even for the main season cars through the Pro Challenge events.

Of course, this is mere speculation and could just as well not come to fruition. But with teams potentially running different livery designs for the 2024 Formula One season, that could mean that a 2024 season liveries update may come to F1 23.

Where to Follow

The season opener on 24 November will take place at the virtual Bahrain Grand Prix circuit. The official F1 Twitch channel will be the place to go to watch the racing. Stay tuned for the formal announcement of the F1 Sim Racing World Championship.

Are you planning on following the F1 Sim Racing World Championship? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!

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