If sim racing or eSports was once perceived as an expensive hobby or just a ‘game’, it has now presented itself as the next best thing to actual motorsports as it enables racing action to continue even under the Movement Control Order. Not only you can race against your peers at the comforts of your own home, you can also race against top racing drivers which you can almost say is impossible in a real world scenario.
Here are some eSports series that you can follow or even participate before some proper racing series gets back on the road.
SRO E-Sports GT Series
Synonymous with GT racing worldwide, SRO did not waste any time in jumping into the eSports movement to make this happen. The SRO E-Sports GT Series properly divides the category into three tiers – Pro Series, Silver Series, and Am Series.
The Pro, like the name suggests, are for those from the actual racing world and the Am are players who went through a qualification process. The Silver Series on the other hand is reserved only for pro sim racers. The series features current GT cars like the Bentley Continental GT3 or the Huracan GT3, racing on famous tracks like the Nurburgring or Spa-Francorchamps.
Now, some of you might think this is just a game. But if this game runs on Assetto Corsa, one of the most realistic racing sim out there, and allows us to race against names like Charles LeClerc, sign us in! There are also a lot of names in the GT world that takes part like Ben Barnicoat and Raffaele Marciello.
The Race All-Star Cup – Fully Charged by ROKiT Phones
We are not sure if ROKiT is a household name in the UK but aside from being the title sponsor of Williams F1, we don’t really hear much about them, until now. Seeing the golden opportunity to get their name out there after the cancellation of the Australian GP, ROKiT signed up to be the title sponsor of The Race’s All-Star Esport Cup.
This eSports series features a lot of famous names in the motorsports scene that’s not only limited to F1 stars like Sebastian Vettel, Pierre Gasly and Jenson Button, but also those in the GT/endurance scene as well like Emanuele Pirro and Jan Magnussen.
Using the rFactor 2 as their platform, one thing that we like about this racing series is that they are not sticking to one particular era or type of car. For example, we have seen old F1 cars like the McLaren M23 and Brabham BT44B in action, the more recent Formula Race 2014 car, and the Norma M30 LMP3 prototype as well.
If you like to watch racing legends going wheel-to-wheel against each other, this is the one to watch!
ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge
Not wanting to be left behind in the trend, Formula E also has their own eSports series called the ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge. They have two categories running in the series where one is exclusively for official championship drivers like Lucas di Grassi, Stoffel Vandoorne and Felipe Massa.
But the other series for sim racers is just as interesting as the official drivers’ line-up as they will be competing against each other for the ultimate prize of a real-life Formula E test! Although Formula E was a bit slow in starting their own eSports series, they definitely scored some points on the real-life test, and nor forgetting the unique the race format as well.
Instead of running it like a normal race, the format will adopt the ‘battle royale’-style knockout where the driver in the last place at the end of each lap gets eliminated. This will go on until only 10 competitors are left, in which they will then compete in a one-lap sprint to the finish.
Formula 1’s Virtual Grand Prix
A lot of us were shocked when the season-opening race at Australia was cancelled on the 11th hour, which was also the summary of the motorsports activities scheduled to take place in the next couple of months as they were either cancelled or postponed. Keen to keep the show running, the guys in F1 got into action pretty quick and launched the Virtual Grand Prix.
Unlike the other eSports series which uses the rFactor 2 platform, F1 decided to run with Codemaster’s F1 2019 game. Participants are allowed to select anti-lock brakes and traction control since this was more of an exhibition race and not all participants are familiar with advanced controls.
It may sound arcade-ish at best, but having real F1 racers like Lando Norris and Nicholas Latifi battling it out against the likes of guest drivers like footballers and cricketers sure does sound like a unique way of promoting the sport to other fanbases simultaneously.
And last but not least, we could not wrap this list up without one from our local scene. Gaining quick traction from both racers and fans alike, the MSF Cyber Turismo knows how to pull the crowd in by modelling it based on the real-world MSF Racing Series.
Using the same rules, regulations and driving standards, this digitalized MSF keeps it close to real-life by using the cars you normally see on the roads. No Ferrari 488 GT3 here, but expect cars like the Toyota 86 and Audi TT!
As we went through the rules and regulations on their website, probably what caught our eyes the most were the prizes that await the top finalists. Aside from Driver Training and experiencing MSF as Race Observers in Race Control, the most attractive has got to be race seat time with the MSF-TOC racing Proton Saga Cup in the MSF Saga Cup Finale 2020!
Although Sepang has reopened their gates as the MCO is slowly being relaxed, it will still be a while before races are allowed to take place. So for the time being, let’s enjoy these eSports series for the time being and if you think you got what it takes to beat the pros, why not give it a shot?