Wed 10 June 2020
Some of the biggest stars in world motorsport will compete in the first edition of the Virtual Race Of Champions on Sunday June 28, 2020, as the grand finale of sim racing after the Virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans, Formula E's Race At Home Challenge, the All Stars Legends Trophy and the F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix series.
FIA World Rally & Rallycross Champion Petter Solberg, Mercedes Formula E star Stoffel Vandoorne, current DTM Champion Rene Rast and reigning ROC Champion of Champions Benito Guerra are the first of many greats confirmed for the first virtual edition of the historic all-star event.
In addition to his real-life exploits, Vandoorne has also shone in the world of esports, taking overall victory in the Formula E Race at Home Challenge. Solberg has also taken a keen interest in sim racing, winning the Legends Trophy with historic F1 machinery and qualifying on pole for a virtual Indy 500 race on the Indianapolis oval.
The event, which is organised in partnership with Motorsport Games, 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 event, which is organised in partnership with Motorsport Games, will follow a similar format to the real-world Race Of Champions. Some of the biggest stars from Formula 1, World Rally, Formula E, Le Mans and other major disciplines will go head to head in identical cars. They will face off on virtual versions of two of the most iconic venues of ROC’s rich history; 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.
ROC President Fredrik Johnsson said: “Our two first eROC Champions Enzo Bonito and James Baldwin have both proven that they can transfer their racing skills from the virtual to the real world. Now we will see how some of the world’s best race drivers adapt to competing on the Virtual Race Of Champions parallel tracks!
“We’ve seen a phenomenal growth in esports during the past months of lockdown. We want to make the Virtual Race Of Champions the Grand Finale for this intense period of sim racing ahead of first real Formula 1 race of the season. While it is still uncertain when it will be possible to organise events with fans again, we want to make the Virtual ROC as fun and fair as our real ROC events.”
“Everyone will have the same chance to win regardless of which series they come from. Recently we’ve seen several high-profile incidents in sim racing, but rest assured… on the ROC parallel track drivers won’t be able to hit each other…!”
The event will be organised in partnership with Motorsport Games, the team behind the upcoming virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Dmitry Kozko, CEO of Motorsport Games, commented: “The Virtual Race Of Champions promises to be an incredibly exciting event which has already attracted a stellar driver line-up. We look forward to working with those drivers and the team at the ROC to deliver a spectacular show for motorsport fans around the world. Motorsport Games has proven itself to be the esports partner of choice for motorsport rights holders and the Virtual Race Of Champions is further evidence of this.”
Solberg: “Virtual ROC will be a very tight fight”
It’s fantastic to get back together with friends and people from motorsports in the Virtual Race Of Champions,” former WRC and WRX world champion Petter Solberg said. “I bought a sim rig for my son Oliver about two months ago. He set everything up, but it seems like I’ve been using it much more than him! I’ve been improving a lot and I even won a race and took pole position at Indianapolis.”
“With all the experience and motivation that everybody now has in sim racing, I think it will be a new level of competition. It will be a very tight fight and a very good to watch. And the celebrations … nobody beats the celebrations that happen at ROC, hopefully we can re-create a little of that in the virtual race.”
Vandoorne added: “After winning the ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge Driver Grid, I am really looking forward to compete against drivers from other series in the Virtual Race Of Champions competition before preparing to resume Season 6.”
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.