There will be plenty of esports racing in March. Here are five must watch events that we think are worth following.
Image credit: Porsche
For many a motor racing fan, March often signifies the start of the Formula One season. But that doesn’t mean that virtual racing events come to a standstill.
Many championships that began last month will continue their seasons, another one is just starting and there is even a one-off event as well. So, here are our recommendations for esports racing events to watch in March.
Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup
The season began for the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup with two rounds consisting of four races for the pros. It truly delivered the sort of racing that has come to be expected for this highly competitive series, with the drivers getting their elbows out as if it was the last lap of the last race.
March sees a back-to-back Stateside trip for the PESC drivers. In Round 4 on 18 March, the drivers will compete at the Circuit of the Americas for the first time. But, before traveling to virtual Texas, they’re first heading to virtual California as the Long Beach street circuit won the fan vote for the round 3 venue, defeating Laguna Seca and Imola.
It’s the first time that the series has ever raced on a city street circuit, and like always it’s almost certain there will be some overly aggressive moves. On some tracks, that wouldn’t be a problem. However, with the close walls and barriers at Long Beach, the drivers will have to be careful to avoid damage.
Reigning champion Diogo Pinto tops the standings thanks to his consistency. Meanwhile, local hero Zac Campbell will be wanting to make the most of his three home races in the next four rounds. After a strong start, he was caught up in an incident that has left him a fair bit behind.
The 1,000 horsepower 1,000 kilograms eX Zero on rFactor 2 is a tricky beast to tame, and it will be released once again. The third season of World eX begins this month, and you can expect the same collection of real world drivers and esports racers to be competing.
World eX’s structure can see multiple drivers collect points for the same entry but the championship is decided by the final race. Every car that makes it into a final of an eX Prix is automatically entered into a two lap dash around the Nordschleife. Last season saw Lasse Sørensen of 9-time Le Mans overall winner Tom Kristensen’s TK-9 E-SPeeD team get redemption for losing the 2021 Super Final.
The new season starts on the Bahrain International Circuit. With the exception of rounds at Maastricht, the Indianapolis oval and the Nordschleife Super Final, drivers will all vote from a pool of three tracks for all future rounds.
EDIT 07/03/2023: The World eX championship that has been held the past two years has been discontinued and in its place, the more amateur level World eX Bizz will run in its place. This series will be pre-recorded and broadcast on a later date, with amateur drivers as well as some established pros.
BMW SIM M Cup
Next up we have what was once the BMW SIM 120 Cup and then the BMW SIM GT Cup. The addition of the new M Hybrid V8 GTP car to iRacing has added a whole new dynamic to BMW’s flagship sim racing series. The first round of the BMW SIM M Cup in 2023 saw multi-class action with both teams driving the LMDh car and others racing the BMW M4 GT3.
In Round 1 on the Daytona road course the week after the real life 24 hour race, it went the way of URANO eSports. Their GTP entry of Vlad Khimichev and Jonas Wallmeier won the race overall, whilst Alexey Nesov and Luca Kita took the spoils in the GT3 class.
URANO will have fierce competition in the form of teams like BS+, Redline and Apex as well as many more across both categories. The next round will be broadcast on BMW’s own Twitch channel and the Racespot TV YouTube channel on 19 March.
The racing will be held on the Sebring circuit, the day after the real life 12 hours and the week before the iRacing Special Event. Speaking of which…
iRacing Sebring 12 hours
The BMW SIM M Cup will also serve as a good practice round for the 12 hours for everyone in the GTP class and anyone who uses the M4 in GTD. But, don’t expect them to have a huge inherent advantage. The Sebring 12 hours on iRacing is one of the highlights of the sim racing calendar, with drivers of all skill levels competing in their own splits.
Naturally, it’s the top split that everyone will have their eyes on. Thankfully this time there’s no grass to cool the tyres on or a lower apron that’s quicker. The drivers have to be on their best behaviour this time round!
Along with personal pride, there are some physical trophies also on the line as Sebring makes up one of the four VCO Grand Slam events this year. Expect the same top iRacing teams that were in the previous Grand Slam race, the Daytona 24 hours.
Last but not least, after a great season opener in Katowice, Poland as part of the ESL Pro Tour, the brand new championship being held on Rennsport is picking up where it left off. ESL R1 began with a bang thanks to some great racing on the Spa-Francorchamps and Hockenheimring circuits.
It was Max Benecke who took the first ever R1 round win for mainstream esports org MOUZ. The following day saw Porsche Coanda’s Josh Rogers claim a clean sweep of wins across the Quarter, Semi and Final. It’s Rogers who leads the championship, but that matters very little as the format for the all-important Major in May can open it up to anyone.
But we’re nowhere near there yet. First the field has to be narrowed down to the top 24. To do that, six more rounds will be held remotely. The first of those will be on the Nürburgring GP layout, with the four Quarter Finals races taking place on Friday 10 March and then the Semi Finals and Final on Monday 13 March. Another round on a currently undisclosed circuit will be held 24 & 27 March.
Which of these esports racing events will you be following? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!