Sim racing – Is it really motorsport?

With the cancellation and postponement of many motorsport events through until June, a number of series have scrambled to fill the void with announcing their involvement in motorsport sim racing. Here’s some of those involved:

IndyCar and iRacing (motorsport racing simulation) are partnering to currently stage six virtual race events featuring a lineup of current NTT INDYCAR SERIES beginning Saturday, March 28.

Each race will be streamed live on for the enjoyment of racing fans while the current 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season is suspended. Each virtual race event, which will last approximately 90 minutes to two hours, will begin at 4 p.m. ET each Saturday through May 2.

Formula 1 has announced the launch of a new F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix series, featuring several current F1 drivers (although Max Verstappen appears to refuse to partake). The series has been created to enable fans to continue watching Formula 1 races virtually, despite the ongoing COVID-19 situation that has affected this season’s opening race calendar.

The virtual races will run in place of every postponed Grand Prix, starting this weekend with the Virtual Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday March 22.   The series will use the official F1 2019 PC video game, developed by Codemasters, and the first virtual GP on the Sakhir track will be a 50% length race with 28 laps.

Supercars has confirmed plans to run a simulated eSeries Championship with its drivers to fill the void left by the three postponed events.  It comes after the Tyrepower Tasmania Super400 (April 3-5), ITM Auckland Super400 (April 24-26) and the Pirtek Perth SuperNight (May 15-17) were all postponed by Supercars.

Through until late June, Supercars will host, via Twitch, Fox Sports and Kayo, an eSeries Championship where fans will get to see star drivers battle it out in a virtual world.  Details of the eSeries Championship are yet to be finalised with drivers and tracks to be announced in due course.

The Australian Racing Group has confirmed that it will host an online motor racing league, broadcast directly into every home around Australia and the world.   The competition, to be known as the carsales ARG eSport Cup, will be exclusive to race drivers from the carsales TCR Australia Series, VHT Australian S5000 Championship, National Trans Am Series, Kumho Tyres V8 Touring Cars and the Gulf Western Oils Touring Car Masters, plus other selected special guests (no pro-gamers allowed).  The popular iRacing software will be used for the competition, where a mix of touring cars and open wheel racing will make up the eSport Cup.

It’s a great marketing idea, but is it really motorsport?

Benjamin Carrell

Benjamin Carrell is a freelance motorsport writer and currently edits He writes for a number of Kiwi drivers and motorsport clubs. That's when he's not working in his horticultural day-job or training for the next road or mtb cycle race!

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