Esports has become a big deal over the last few weeks as most people in the world are stuck indoors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sim racing has enjoyed explosive growth as well, with several of the biggest racing series moving most if not all, of their well-known drivers into racing simulators for virtual races in place of the real deal. After watching lots of “on-track” action last week, it became clear that the racers are taking sim racing seriously, but also keep the mood light with jokes and plenty of back and forth over chat channels and social media.
We’ve rounded up the biggest events coming up this weekend to make sure you plan ahead and don’t miss the action. Did you see anything we missed? Let us know at [email protected] or in the comments below. We’re also open to suggestions on how we can improve this list.
Let’s get started!
- Who: Almost all IndyCar drivers including Sage Karam, Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, Alexander Rossi, and Scott Dixon
- What: The second round of IndyCar’s virtual iRacing Challenge
- When: Saturday, April 4 at 2:30 p.m. ET
- Where: The event will take place at “Barber Motorsports Track,” and can be viewed on NBC Sports Network
Sage Karam took the checkered flag at last week’s IndyCar race, which took place at a virtual Watkins Glen. Karam edged out Felix Rosenqvist and Will Power for the win, which is a better outcome than he’s seen in a real IndyCar race, where his best finish was third place in 2015. This weekend more drivers will participate, including the series’ winningest racing driver: Scott Dixon.
- Who: NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers, as well as truck series, Mexico series, and Whelen Euro Series racers
- What: The eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race, as well as a “Saturday Night Thunder” event with several heat races that lead to the main event
- When: Saturday night, April 4 and the main eNASCAR race, which will take place on Sunday, April 5 at 1 p.m ET
- Where: The event will take place at “Bristol Motor Speedway”, and can be viewed on Fox, FS1, and the Fox Sports App. The Saturday night event will be available online at Nascar.com
Timmy Hill won last week’s NASCAR Pro Invitational, which took place at a virtual Texas Motor Speedway. The action got so heated at one point that Daniel Suarez was called out after intentionally wrecking Ty Dillon. This week’s race will take place at “Bristol,” and there’s a Saturday night event with multiple heat races that lead to the main race at the end of the evening.
- Who: Several current F1 drivers, including Charles Leclerc, Alec Albon, George Russel, Lando Norris, and Nicholas Latifi
- What: F1 eSports Virtual Grand Prix
- When: Sunday, April 5, at 3:00 p.m. ET
- Where: The race will take place at a virtual Albert Park Track (home of the F1.com, the F1 YouTube channel, Twitch, and Facebook
The first Formula 1 virtual event took place two weeks ago at a simulated Bahrain International Circuit. The inaugural race featured former Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg, current McLaren driver and avid sim racer Lando Norris, and former F1 driver Johnny Herbert among others. There were some interesting moments, as Norris experienced a technical issue and made a funny phone call to Max Verstappen while being broadcast live on Twitch.
- Who: 31 professional team drivers from various countries
- What: Double-header virtual event replacement for the Porsche Mobil Supercup
- When: Saturday, April 4, at 10 a.m. ET
- Where: The race will take place at a virtual Spanish Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, and can be viewed in North America at this link to Porsche’s streaming site.
Porsche is holding is first-ever event of the Mobil 1 Supercup Virtual Edition this weekend, which will feature a doubleheader with a qualifying race, followed by an official race, a warmup, and a final race to finish the day. Considering it’s the first edition, we’re not sure exactly what to expect, but chances are it will be an exciting match.
Have a tip or know of an upcoming sim racing event? Let us know at [email protected].