E-mpact of E sports
As a consequence of Covid-19, many Motorsport series have postponed or cancelled racing weekends that should have taken place in March and April, and so far there's no concrete date when regular racing is going to continue. In its place, E sports have taken the front line, and oh boy, did they deliver...
Weekly races, new and old heroes behind the wheel
Since the Corona virus outbreak, racing has been put on hold, but not in virtual world. After the Australian GP has been delayed, the community has already come up with a solution: racing using the world famous racing sim games.
This idea resulted in many real-life racing drivers taking the challenge and competing with their colleagues from other racing series and also some very fast gamers and already established sim racers. Avid followers of some real-life racing drivers know that they like to compete in Virtual Racing, by playing games such as rFactor (2), iRacing and even F1 2019. Such examples are Max Verstappen and Lando Norris, who also race in the same team online.
It didn't take much time to get them, and also other drivers, such as Stoffel Vandoorne, Antonio Felix da Costa, Felix Rosenqvist, Max Guenther, Neel Jani, Nico Hulkenberg, Esteban Gutierrez and many more to compete and battle, probably in much more comfortable environment than they are used to, and provide us fans with the racing action that we were endlessly waiting for.
First Virtual Racing Weekend consisted of two events, one of which was an "All-Star esports Battle", which was brought to the fans by The Race (racing in rFactor 2, using F1 2012 cars on the Nuerburgring GP circuit), and also Not the Australian GP, which was brought to the fans by Veloce Esports (racing in Official F1 2019 game by Codemasters on the Albert Park circuit). Since then, many more have started to organize similar Virtual Race weekends.
Formula 1 also took this opportunity to organize its own "Virtual Race" following the 2020 Race Calendar, starting with the Bahrain GP, where every team had its representatives. Most surprising was definitely Johnny Herbert, who was racing for Alfa Romeo. MotoGP has also gone with the theme, and organized their own Virtual GP, which aired last weekend.
Many racing championships are starting towards similar route, and we could probably call the first half of this racing season the E-half. These are also a good platform to also see some other celebrities, not associated with racing, to come and compete with the stars of the world's racetracks.
One racing championship that is still more-less quiet on that front, is probably the one I thought will start this trend first, and that is Formula E. During race weekends, the E-Race was a integral part, and there fans had the opportunity to race with the Formula E drivers. Seeing that many of the real-life racing drivers who are competing in these races are Formula E drivers, the question can be raised, if the first all-electric racing championship should create something similar in order to promote its concepts.
Nevertheless, when the Covid-19 situation is behind us, I for one would like to see these Virtual races continue, since they are great fun, not just for the spectators but all also the drivers. Being streamed on YouTube also helps a lot when it comes to accessibility. On different weekends when there are no, for example, F1 races, some of its drivers could join forces with other celebrities and continue making these fun events, and slowly build an even brighter future for Virtual racing.
How can you pass the time racing on non-race weekdays?
Besides already mentioned rFactor (2), iRacing and F1 2019, there are other racing games where you can enjoy navigating corners of your favorite racetrack, even on the go.
Featuring pixel perfect virtual Formula E cars, Real Racing 3 gives players the chance to experience the cars on the Hong Kong E-Prix track through race and time-trial challenges as well as an energy regeneration test, which involves completing a lap using a fixed amount of power. Real Racing 3 is available to download and play on all iOS and Android devices.
For those who like to be a team principal and make all the important decisions in how to run a racing team, Motorsport Manager Online lets you take control of your very own Formula E team. Build your team from the ground up and hire the best drivers and assemble a crew to develop your race-winning machinery. Take the challenge to competitors all over the globe as you set the race strategy; choosing when to take the ATTACK MODE and when to engage FANBOOST as you mastermind your team's victory. Real Racing 3 is available to download and play on all iOS and Android devices.
For PC and other consoles, options are the rFactor 2 and also Forza Motorsport games 6 & 7.