How to Watch Pro Drivers Race Online With Esports Replacing Live Events
Getting robbed of F1, IndyCar, and NASCAR feels unfair, but it doesn’t have to be all bad.
Whether you're turning to esports over the havoc coronavirus has caused real-world racing or you've always been a massive sim fan, now's a better time than ever to delve into the world of competitive online motorsports. Not only are there droves of dedicated sim racers who put on a show every time they log in, but thanks to the lack of live action in Formula 1, IndyCar, NASCAR, and many others, real-life drivers are trying their hand against the proven pros of iRacing and rFactor2.
Last weekend saw the kick-off of The Race's All-Star Esports Battle, and it included household names like F1 ace Max Verstappen and two-time Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya. A pool of 40 racers contested against one another for the overall crown, which was eventually nabbed by seasoned sim pro Jernej Simoncic. In fact, the highest-placing real-world driver was IndyCar's Felix Rosenqvist, who placed seventh at day's end.
A follow-up to the All-Star Esports Battle will be held this weekend, with sights aimed at once again becoming the most-watched gaming channel on Twitch and YouTube. Expect the entry list to be released shortly and tune in to The Race's YouTube channel or rFactor's Twitch on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET. Round two will be held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
In response to the massive delays that have pushed back events as far out as June, racing sanctioning bodies are even creating their own events and series to bring fans the competition they deserve. NASCAR has struck a deal to host regular iRacing rounds, of which the first was held on Sunday and featured Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell, and fan-favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr.
You can watch this weekend's NASCAR battle, hosted at the virtual version of Homestead-Miami Speedway, on iRacing's YouTube channel Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
Likewise, IMSA will host a Sebring SuperSaturday event this weekend that kicks off at 2 p.m. ET and will consist of a 90-minute, single-class shootout. IMSA Radio's John Hindaugh will also be in the booth, giving it a real-deal feel along with the closely matched entry list of pros that's expected to be released shortly. Make sure to visit iRacing's eSports Network YouTube channel for that one.
If you want a complete and comprehensive list of all big-time racing esports events, you can check out The Race's compilation that includes various European championships, from touring cars to open-wheel machines.
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