The supposed to be Australian GP day saw two ESports races with F1, IndyCar, Formula E and sim racers competing against each other.
Even though almost all major races scheduled for March 15th were called off due to the spread of COVID-19 all across the globe, there was still activity in the racing world, albeit it was online rather than on-track, with ESports taking center-stage.
Two major ESports events took place on Sunday, one put together by a website called The Race, and the other, set up by Veloce ESports, where the former used the racing simulator rFactor 2, while the latter used the F1 2019 game.
The Race’s ‘All-Star ESport’ battle had a group mixed with real racing drivers along with virtual racers. There were quite many who joined in at a short notice like Max Versappen, Juan Pablo Montoya, Felix Rosenqvist, Simon Pagenaud, Nelson Piquet Jr, Antonio Felix da Costa, Colton Herta, Billy Monger, Will Power, Sebastian Montoya, Neel Jani, Maximiliam Gunther, Dani Juncadella, Dries Vanthoor, Ed Jones, Paul O’Neill, Marc Gassner and Eduardo Barrichello from real world.
There were solid names in the sim racers list as well, which included Jarl Teien, Lucas Blakely, Rudy Van Buren, Kuba Brzezinski, Kevin Siggy, Jernej Simoncic, James Baldwin, Brendon Leigh, Bono Huis, Jimmy Broadbent and Erhan Jajovski.
They had a three-heat qualifying system, and the top eight from each heat went on to a 24-car shootout for the win of the event. Verstappen took victory in his Heat, while van Buren and Simoncic took victories in their respective Heats – all from pole.
Simoncic, in fact, took pole in the finale as well to win the All-Star ESports event at Nurburgring as he led the 12 laps at ease with Siggy and van Buren rounding the Top 3. It was all sim racers with Blakely, Brzezinski and Huis in Top 6.
Behind them, in seventh, IndyCar’s Rosenqvist was the leader of the real-world drivers, and one of three in the Top 10, as Herta was 10th with GT3 driver Gassner eighth. Sim racer Teien was in between the two in ninth.
Red Bull Racing F1 driver Verstappen started in the Top 10, but dropped down the field as he got tangled up early in an incident. He had another spin before clawing back to 11th. Of the other big names, da Costa was 13th, F1 ESports champion Leigh 18th, Jones 20th and popular Youtuber Broadbent 21st.
Full event can be viewed here:
Not the… Aus GP:
The other ESports of the day, dubbed as ‘Not the… Aus GP’, featured a grid of real racers like Lando Norris, Stoffel Vandoorne, Esteban Gutierrez, Louis Deletraz, Ryan Tveter, Sacha Fenestraz. Their sim racers quotient was bigger with Real Madrid goalie in too.
It had Thibaut Courtois (RM goalie), Will Lenney (WillNE), Aarav Amin (aarava), Benjamin Daly (Tiametmarduk), Steve Brown (SuperGT), Jimmy Broadbent, Nick Andrew (AR12Gaming), Dani Bereznay, James Baldwin, Tomek Poradzisz (Hyperz), Jarno Opneer, James Doherty (Limitless), Simon Weigang, Tom Martinez (Tom97).
With on ESports racer Bereznay on pole, he delivered in the race as well to win the ‘Not the… Aus GP’ driving an Alfa Romeo on the F1 2019 game with Opneer taking second in a Renault and Poradzisz third in a Red Bull Racing car.
Baldwin made it 1-4 for Alfa Romeo with Martinez ending up fifth in the Williams ahead of Norris in the McLaren, who had to climb back after a bad qualifying. Daly in the Red Bull car had a supreme battle with Doherty in the Racing Point.
The latter took seventh spot from Daly as Gutierrez in the Mercedes was 10th after climbing from the back with Weigang in ninth in the Renault. Real Madrid goalie Courtois did well to be 11th in the pink-liveried Racing Point car.
Among others, Broadbent – who also raced in the other ESports event – was 13th with from Tveter, Vandoorne, Amin (Aarava), Fenestraz and Deletraz. Both the ESports races organisers will have more races for next weekend as the long wait for real racing continues.
Full event can be viewed here:
The story was edited by Darshan Chokhani