This revolutionary series promised an equal emphasis between racing on track and racing on a sim. But we have heard little about it since.
Image credit: ADAC
Back in August 2020, a championship was announced by ADAC which would be a revolutionary blend between track and sim racing. The HYRAZE League was to feature hydrogen powered cars. Interestingly for us simracing fans, it was going to be a hybrid series blending real and virtual motorsport. Professional drivers from the real world and sim racers would all compete.
In the initial press release, the series is described as having teams which field two drivers each – one for the real world races and one who takes part in the esports events. The results of both races count towards the championship standings in equal measures, so that one team will eventually be crowned the overall winner of both disciplines.
The series is a concept developed by ADAC Motorsport and they were also partnering up with the World Esports Association.
But since then, things have gone a little quiet on the end of the organisers. They detailed their roadmap for the next few years which said the plan was for esports qualification events to start in November 2022. Well that month has come and gone, and there were none. So what happened?
What Was The Plan?
In the initial roadmap that detailed the plans, it claimed the car would be developed throughout 2021 and tested this year. This would then lead into a German-based championship in 2023 before a global expansion in 2025.
From the descriptions written in the initial announcements, teams would run a spec hydrogen powered car developed by HWA. They would be four-wheel drive with one motor per wheel and it would produce 800 horsepower. Teams would also be free to put their own custom bodies on the car.
There would be every effort to make the series carbon neutral, with special tyres made out of renewable raw materials that don’t wear out very quickly. The cars were also supposed to feature a unique braking system where any brake dust is captured within the car and disposed of in an environmentally neutral manner afterwards.
Then, of course, there are the esports races. Whether the car would be developed for a pre-existing title or maybe even a new type of software, the esports drivers would have qualified online to be selected by teams. Those selected would then gather at the racetracks to compete onsite.
The teams would have a combined championship total between their one real life driver and one esports driver. An equal emphasis on both, something that has never been seen before in racing. The GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup also has sim racing count for real world points, but the points available for the two disciplines were different.
According to a source at HWA, the difficult nature of the development of the car had meant they couldn’t match the roadmap they set out. Nevertheless, the development of the concept is still going on, and HWA even showed off their test car.
A few demonstration runs for their ZEDU-1 (Zero Emission Drive Unit – Generation 1) took place at Hockenheim. This was during the ADAC GT Masters finale event on the weekend of 23 October. It may not exactly have the look of a racing car but it’s still indication that the series as a concept isn’t dead in the water.
Our contact at HWA told us that their potential idea for the series format is to structure it like a Champions League tournament. This means that regional championships will be held throughout the year, with the best from each region then gathering for a world final. This isn’t set in stone, and could very well change when the series does begin.
We are certainly eagerly anticipating the HYRAZE League. A championship that has real world racing and virtual racing in equal capacity is something perhaps all sim racing fans have wanted to see. Especially as it provides any esports racer the chance to compete alongside the best in the real world.
Whenever it’s meant to begin, expect the HYRAZE League to run on ADAC Racing Weekends alongside the ADAC GT Masters and DTM. In 2022, the former had a majority German set of tracks on its schedule, with visits to the Netherlands and Austria also included.
Which real world and sim drivers would you like to see team up in the HYRAZE League? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!