Published: Mon, March 23, 2020
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Norris charges, as Renault junior Zhou wins F1 Esports Virtual GP

Norris charges, as Renault junior Zhou wins F1 Esports Virtual GP

Well don't worry, because from 2000 GMT today F1 Esports takes centre stage with the first round of the Virtual Grand Prix Series.

The coronavirus pandemic has had a massive impact on the F1 calendar, with races being postponed until June at the earliest.

Following the official postponement of a number of races over the past 10 days off the back of the failed attempt to host the Australian GP, the first race now on the calendar that has not been addressed is Azerbaijan.

The three-time grand prix victor crashed his Alfa Romeo through a trackside barrier in qualifying and then, from 16th on the grid, propelled himself into the lead of the race coming out of the first corner.

John Clarke, Gfinity Chief Executive Officer added: "Gfinity is proud to be playing its part in the design and delivery of the F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix series, which will bring exciting virtual racing to a legion of Formula 1 and Esports fans around the globe".

Ideally, fans would be tuning in to watch the Bahrain Grand Prix.

All of the action from #NotTheBahGP can be followed live on the Veloce Esports YouTube and Twitch channels, with the race set to start at 18:00 GMT. Not everybody on the grid is accustomed to sim racing so assists are allowed, including reduced vehicle damage, optional ABS and traction control - while set-ups are fixed and auto performance is equal.

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"With every major sports league in the world unable to compete, it is a great time to highlight the benefits of esports and the incredible skill that's on show".

None of the drivers taking part have been named.

"Super Sim Saturday" sees three virtual races in quick succession - the Nuerburgring Endurance Series, IMSA Super Sebring and THE RACE All-Stars Esports Battle.

It delivered the unique sight of current F1 drivers Lando Norris and Nicholas Latifi racing against Olympic cycling legend Sir Chris Hoy, golfer Ian Poulter and singer-songwriter Liam Payne to name but three.

The driver lineup for the race was a mix of real-life drivers and racing game streamers, plus chat favorite Lando Norris, who is both-Norris is a racer for McLaren who commonly streams both iRacing and PUBG.

"I love cars, I love Formula One, I love everything about motorsport", the Briton told Sky Sports television from his home in Florida, where he has a simulator in his garage.

Try as the presenters did to talk up how the event was supposed to be just a spot of fun it was impossible not to sense that was simply a diversion from a grid that was miles away from what would have actually been in Bahrain.

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