COVID-19 had a huge impact on racing. We made an overview which events got canceled and which take place online.
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For racing fans, there are two types of important events: Watching professionals compete on the tracks and expositions where they can test out innovations and new games by themselves. Unfortunately, getting your hands on new equipment is quite difficult in these times. Some of the largest expos might no take place in 2020.
The annual ADAC SimRacing Expo brings together all elements of sim racing and motorsports, including new gear, opportunities to test, gaming, esports and professional tournaments. Not only can visitors try virtual racing and new equipment themselves, but they can also spectate professionals race at the highest levels, for example for the Porsche SimRacing Trophy.
This year’s expo is planned to take place September 4-6. But with the ongoing COVID-19 situation, it is not yet clear whether the event will happen as planned or if it has to be postponed or even canceled.
No gamescom 2020
The gamescom in Cologne, Germany, is the biggest fair for video games in the entire world. The festival features an incredibly wide range of gaming and its subcultures. It offers many novelties and features exposition areas for all kinds of interests. For esports racing fans, gamescom is a highlight as well: There are several booths where fans can try out sim racing or get their hands on new gear.
Unfortunately, this year’s gamescom had to be canceled due to safety measures. The organizers are currently planning to host an online event instead of the fair so fans can still take a look at all new releases. However, there is no further information on what the online event will look like.
While it is currently not possible to attend large gatherings such as expos, another aspect of virtual motorsports is booming: online events are more frequent and more popular than ever before since many important real events had to be cancelled. So let’s check out which events are still happening.
The Australian Grand Prix traditionally openes the season for all upcoming Formula 1 events. In 2020, the Australian GP had to be canceled completely, while its following GP’s are mostly either postponed or canceled as well.
Since the new season started with such disappointing news for Formula 1 fans, several esports racing organizers hosted substitute matches.
F1 Virtual Grand Prix
Formula 1 themselves put together a series of replacement events for the official GP. The F1 Virtual Grand Prix has five stages and goes from April 19 till June 7. Last weekend, the Grand Prix had its third pit stop where Red Bull driver Alex Albon claimed the victory. Fans could vote for the circuit on Formula 1’s Twitter, their choice fell onto Interlagos Circuit in Brazil. The next Virtual GP will be the Spanish edition on May 10.
The Race All-Star Esports Battle
The Race All-Star Esports Battle in rFactor 2 was hosted only three days after the official Australian Grand Prix had been blown off. Since it featured a mix of real-life racers, professional sim racers and YouTubers, the Esports Battle was not intended as serious competitive replacement, but as entertainment for fans.
Veloce Esports Not The … GP series
The Not the BAH GP took part in a similar fashion. The F1 2019 also starred pro racers and Formula 1 personalities, but also included influencers and soccer players.
Veloce Esports expand their Not The…GP series further and plan additional events. Last weekend, a special charity event in cooperation with UNICEF was organized to collect donations to fight COVID-19. Veloce sticked to their recipe and invited top racers as well as content creators and YouTubers.
Since the traditional IndyCar Series struggled with COVID-19 restrictions as well, the six-week IndyCar iRacing Challenge filled the gap of racing-less time. On May 2, the series came to an end with the last race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
New Zealand’s Scott McLaughlin from Team Penske took home the victory at the last circuit, but another Formula 1 personality caused a stir at the event. McLaren’s Lando Norris previously had his IndyCar Series debut at Circuit of Americas and promptly won the race. However, he was not able to repeat his success at Indianapolis since he was involved in several crashs.
Several voices from the community complained about the behaviour of some of the participants, as they have seem to have crashed deliberately. You can read more about the event on our article about the finale.
FINALE OF INDYCAR IRACING CHALLENGE TURNS INTO CRASH FEST
eNascar iRacing esports seriers
US-based motorsport union and operating company Nascar had to abandon their annual race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. A big blow for Nascar, because the race usually is one of the most-watched events of the popular racing series.
But Nascar found a solution that attracted millions of viewers as well: According to sportspromedia, their eNascar iRacing esports series aired by Fox Sports on television and all associated digital platforms, gathered 1.353 million viewers on their second broadcast on March 29.
Ongoing and future events:
- eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series: February 11 – November 1
- rFactor 2 GT Pro Series: March 9 – May 18
- IMSA Sebring SuperSaturday: March 21 – June 11
- World of Outlaws Championship: March 25 – May 27
- Subaru iRX All-Star Invitational: April 10 – May 15
- F1 Virtual Spain Grand Prix: April 19 – June 7
- Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup: May 2 – September 19
Check out our event calender to find all upcoming esports racing events.
Sources: GPFans, Sportspromedia
Photo credit: iRacing Twitter