Lando Norris has scored his first IndyCar victory as eSports becomes the default competition in the world of motorsport.
McLaren’s emerging star had the advantage on his iRacing Challenge debut as he was racing at the virtual Circuit of the Americas, where he finished seventh in the real world of Formula One in 2019.
It was also the first win for Arrow McLaren, which will join IndyCar once real racing resumes and will field Fernando Alonso in the Indianapolis 500, and his team mate Pato O’Ward was second.
In other eSports news, two-time Supercars champion Marcos Ambrose came out of retirement to compete in the BP Supercars All Stars Eseries, there is now a MotoGP competition starting with a DORNA-sanction Red Bull Virtual Grand Prix of Spain, and a number of retired superstars including Dale Earnhardt Jnr have returned to NASCAR in the virtual world.
Not surprisingly, the electric-powered Formula E series has gone virtual with Maximillian Gunther, who races for BMW through Andretti Motorsport in the real world, taking the first victory ahead of Nick Cassidy and Pascale Wehrlein.
But HAAS F1 racer Romain Grosjean is taking a longer-term view of eSports.
He may not be racing so far this year, but he has been keeping himself busy by putting together his own e-racing team, the R8G Sim Racing Team, which will compete across various platforms and is aiming to become a major force in online racing.
Grosjean has been tracking the development of eSports for some time and has become a big fan of how accessible it is and the quality of the driving talent that has emerged across the world.
“Launching my own sim racing team is a proud moment because I’m passionate about motorsport, innovation and embracing new challenges,” he says.
“I think the team structure we have created is unique and will be instrumental in helping us to achieve the ambitious targets we have set.
With the support of its partners, the R8G Sim Racing Team will be bidding to bridge the gap between the virtual and real racing worlds. One way it will do this is by giving its drivers and, in time, other talented sim racers, real-world motorsport experience.
Olivier Panis is part of the management team which aims to give sim racers the chance to test with Praga Kart Racing and to also go on from that to perhaps contest the X30 World Championship event at Le Mans.
The team made its debut in the Porsche Cup category in the virtual Nurburgring 24 Hours at the weekend and the team of Thibault Cazaubon, Marin Colak, Daniel Lafuente and Andre Martins finished second.