Fri 19 June 2020
The grid for the inaugural Virtual Race Of Champions on Sunday June 28, 2020 is up to 10 confirmed stars of the real and the virtual world of motorsports.
Haas F1 Team driver Romain Grosjean returns to the fold after four real-life appearances at ROC, taking the title of ROC Champion of Champions at Bangkok 2012. Grosjean entered his own team in last week’s Virtual Le Mans 24 Hours. Now he’s taking the wheel.
“Winning the Race Of Champions in Bangkok was such a fun experience, so I’m really looking forward to trying to do it again in the virtual world,” Grosjean said. “We’ve all seen the potential that sim racing has in recent weeks. Launching my own sim racing team R8G E-Sports was a proud moment, now let’s see how competitive I can be at Virtual ROC.”
Three-time World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx is a veteran of nine Race Of Champions appearances. The Guernseyman, who recently announce he is stepping down from full-time competition, also made his first steps in the virtual world by winning a race in the Legends Trophy.
Reigning World Rallycross Champion Timmy Hansen is the third addition to the all-star roster. The 28-year-old Swede will make his first ever ROC appearance following a spectacular 2019 World RX title on countback.
“Competing in the Race Of Champions will be amazing,” Hansen commented. “It’s something I dreamed about doing for a very long time. I always watched it as a kid and looked up to the great drivers that took part. 2019 was the highlight of my career and this is the icing on the cake. Of course, this year it’s a bit different with the Virtual ROC. I don’t have that much experience in esports, but I’ll try to prepare the best I can like I would do for any other race.”
Grosjean, Priaulx and Hansen join an expanding line-up featuring seven more motorsports stars, including Petter Solberg, Stoffel Vandoorne, Rene Rast and Benito Guerra. Earlier this week Le Mans 24 Virtual winners Raffaele Marciello and Louis Deletraz signed up as well for the Sunday 28 June event, along with DTM and IMSA iRacing Pro Series champion Bruno Spengler.
The event, which is organised in partnership with Motorsport Games just like last weekend’s Le Mans 24 Hours Virtual, will follow a similar format to the real-world Race Of Champions. Some of the biggest stars from Formula 1, World Rallycross, Formula E, Le Mans and other major disciplines will go head to head in identical cars. They will face off on virtual versions of some of the most iconic venues of ROC’s rich history, such as the mixed gravel and tarmac roads of the original Gran Canaria track and the twists and turns of London’s Wembley Stadium.
The tracks have been built from the ground up in the sim racing game Assetto Corsa and have not been used in competition before, ensuring a neutral platform and fair competition for all participants. Just like in the real-world Race Of Champions, the drivers will have to showcase their diverse skill set to quickly adapt to a wide variety of machinery, including a VUHL supercar, a Rallycross car and the classic ROC buggy.
Fans of sim racing all around the world get the opportunity to sign up until June 25 for the eROC Qualifier and claim a place in the eROC part of Virtual ROC. After setting their best hotlaps in ROC’s free Assetto Corsa mod, the fastest drivers will go through to the eROC part of the competition, where they will take on the first two eROC Champions Enzo Bonito and James Baldwin for a chance to compete against the real-world stars.
The event, which is organised in partnership with Motorsport Games, will take place on Sunday June 28 at 19:00 CET (13:00 US ET, 18:00 BST) and will be streamed live on the Race Of Champions Youtube and Facebook channels.
More drivers for the event will be announced over the coming days.
Keep up with all the latest news at www.raceofchampions.com, Race Of Champions on Facebook and @raceofchampions on Twitter and Instagram. The official hashtag for the event is #RaceOfChampionsVirtual.