From real sports to Esports

Wednesday 25 March, 2020
With world sport coming to a halt during the ongoing COVID-19 situation, there is one form of motorsport that has stepped up due its online nature.
 
In these testing times, the motorsport community has had to find ways to adapt and continue running to keep the positivity up and its millions of fans entertained in their own homes.
 
The answer? Esports.
 
While playing computer games was once a leisurely hobby people would do to relax, in recent years, the advancement of gaming technology has seen Esports skyrocket into a popular and professional form of competition.
 
And now, as motorsport events around the globe have postponed their 2020 seasons, drivers have instead been dusting off their gaming consoles, simulators and driving wheels to get ready.
 
From the highest profile competitors in the FIA Formula 1 Championship to here in Australia with the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, a number of categories will be holding a special make-shift series, where drivers will compete from the comfort of their own home and still adhere to the current isolation regulations in place.
 
The Formula 1 Championship was meant to hold its Bahrain Grand Prix last weekend, but instead of holding the real race, it held the first Virtual Grand Prix, with a variety of drivers taking part in the event.
 

Headlining the field was Formula 1 star Lando Norris (McLaren), Daniel Ricciardo’s former Renault teammate Nico Hulkenberg (Racing Point) and Canadian Nicholas Latifi who made his ‘debut’ for Williams during the electronic race

Taking out the first ever virtual Grand Prix was Chinese Formula 2 driver Guanyu Zhou, with the Renault driver comfortably beating Formula E driver Stoffel Vandoorne and Austrian GT racer Philipp Eng in an exciting version of the sport.

Closer to home, Supercars begins its All Stars Eseries early next month with every full-time driver expected to be part of the 10-week series, which will feature races at Phillip Island and Monza.
 
With all rounds to be broadcast on Fox Sports, Kayo and Supercars.com, fans can get special access within the eseries with reigning champion Scott McLaughlin launching his own Twitch account for the series.
 
Unlike the experienced sim racer in McLaughlin, some drivers have little to no virtual seat time with Rick Kelly one of the drivers hoping to have a little fun during these times.
 
“I’ve never actually used a sim before, I don’t own one,” Kelly told Supercars.com
 

“I’m a bit old school like that so we might have to build one bush mechanics-style over the next few weeks which will be fun.”

Australian Racing Group, promoters of the carsales TCR Australia Series, will also host an online TCR race, with up to 50 competitors set to tackle Mount Panorama and other tracks over the coming weeks. Details about ARG’s event is available on their website.
 
There are many options for the motorsport fans to do racing of their own with simulators, driving wheels and a range of consoles available for purchasing from stores.
 
The next virtual Grand Prix will be set in Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix on 5 April, while Supercars begins its virtual season on 8 April.
Motorsport Australia: Return to Race