Fueled by the energy that comes with every new season, drivers around the world were more than disappointed about races being postponed and cancelled due to corona. However, they found a way to live out their passion. Not on real-world tracks but on virtual ones. Here’s our list of all real racing classes that already went virtual.
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F1 Virtual Grands Prix Series
The Australian F1 Grand Prix was one of the first big races being cancelled. But the organizers for an alternative event were as fast as Formula 1 cars. Just two days after the official cancelation of the Grand Prix, a virtual event took place on that day instead.
Veloce’s “Not the Aus GP”, featuring F1 driver Lando Norris, several esports racers, and influencers was a smash hit. This didn’t go unnoticed by F1 officials. Only two weeks later, they established the “Virtual GPs”, featuring even more professional drivers.
Until F1 can come back in the real world, fans will be able to watch both Veloce’s and F1’s official events on weekends Formula 1 was supposed to be held. With more and more drivers like Charles Leclerc and George Russell starting with esports racing, we’re up to see some great races.
Next race: Sunday, April 19, Shanghai Circuit
eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational
The success of eNASCAR in the past few weeks has been a big surprise for broadcasters, especially in the US. The fixed setups create an equal playing field for all drivers with many new faces joining the competition. While it is the same sport, virtual NASCAR has brought a new form of racing entertainment to people’s homes, and they love it.
However, some negative headlines have accompanied the rise of eNASCAR as well. Driver Kyle Larson used racial slurs on stream, which led to him being suspended by both iRacing and NASCAR. His team Chip Ganassi Racing took appropriate action and fired the 27-year old.
Another driver, Bubba Wallace, was dropped by a sponsor after rage quitting a race.
Next race: Sunday, April 19, 8 PM, Richmond Raceway
MotoGP Stay at Home GPs
Following their car-based counterparts, MotoGP has started hosting virtual bike races as well. The world’s best riders compete in the Stay at Home GPs in MotoGP19. On the broadcast, you are also able to see each rider’s facecam, which brings a lot of fun to the competition.
This format makes the motorbike superstars even more relatable because even the best real-life riders need to practice on the virtual circuits at first. Biking legend Valentino Rossi participated in the second GP and crashed three times, finishing seventh in the end.
In the next weeks, all drivers will need to learn the game again with the new MotoGP game hitting the market on April 23. We hope to see some great action in the next Grands Prix on MotoGP 2020.
Next race: To be announced
IndyCar iRacing Challenge
IndyCar partnered up with iRacing to provide a virtual six-race series featuring 15 teams competing in the NTT IndyCar Series.
Part of the grid are well-known names such as five-time series champion Scott Dixon and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Ed Carpenter. With all IndyCar races canceled until August 2020, many drivers have already announced they will be racing on iRacing in various competitions over the next months.
Next race: Saturday, April 18, 8.30 PM, Twin Ring Motegi
Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup Virtual Edition
Instead of creating invitationals with drivers from many different racing classes, Porsche moved its entire Mobil 1 Supercup to iRacing. All 40 drivers of the championship were invited to join the grid and race on four different European circuits. The virtual edition will be a show-event only. The results will not have any impact on the actual Supercup.
But watch out! Do not confuse this competition with the similarly named “Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup 2020”, which starts in May. This cup is not about real racers, but about the esports elite competing in one of the biggest sim racing tournaments in the world. Superstars like Joshua K Rogers, Greger Huttu, and Max Verstappen will race for a prize money of $200,000 in this competition.
Next race: Saturday, April 18, 3.30 PM, Silverstone Circuit
WTCR Pre-Season Cup
Teaming up with their esports partner RaceRoom, the FIA World Touring Car Cup has created a pre-season tournament.
In the four-event series, drivers from the actual WTCR as well as twenty qualifiers will compete on tracks from the Esports WTCR 2019.
Next race: Monday, April 20, 7.30 PM, Slovakia Ring
SRO America GT Rivals Esports Invitational Series
SRO Motorsports America established the GT Rivals Esports Invitational series after the huge success of their Esports Charity Challenge. Well-known GT World Challenge America drivers will face off against battle-hardened esports racers and a few selected guests like former TC America champion Tom O’Gorman in Assetto Corsa Competizione.
Eight events have been announced so far, taking place on prestigious tracks such as Spa-Francorchamps and Suzuka.
Next race: Sunday, April 19, 9 PM, Misano
Photo credit: iRacing