26 Marzo 2021
SRO ESPORTS 2021
Leading sim racing drivers and teams will have the chance to demonstrate their skills in a trio of new GT World Challenge Esports Championships that are set to launch next month, joining the already announced British GT Esports Championship.
Europe, Asia and America will each be represented by a continental series consisting of sprint and endurance racing, with a total of 31 events scheduled to take place between May and October. It represents the latest in a growing number of esports competitions organised by SRO Motorsports Group in partnership with Fanatec, Kunos Simulazioni and AK Informatica, with further support provided by The Sim Grid. The new programme complements the Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series, a five-event series for professional racing drivers that counts towards the real-world teams’ standings. Like all SRO esports activities, the GT World Challenge Esports Championships will use the acclaimed simulation Assetto Corsa Competizione from Kunos Simulazioni, which sets the standard in driving realism with its highly authentic physics, stunning graphics and photo-realistic weather conditions.
Entry to Sprint Series events on each continent will be determined by hot-lap qualifying. Up to 44 single-driver cars will be able to compete in the races, which will last 60 minutes and include a mandatory stop during a fixed pit window. As well as scoring points towards their respective championship, the top-five finishers will also gain automatic entry to their next continental Sprint race. A total of 10 events will make up the European series, with America and Asia each contesting five. While the Sprint Series will be aimed at individual sim drivers, Endurance Series events will cater for leading esports teams. Entry will be determined by a single hot-lap qualifying dedicated to each continent, and determining the full season grid of up to 44 cars. Teams will consist of either three or four drivers, with driver changes mandatory during the long-distance contests.
Europe will stage five Endurance Series events, beginning with a three-hour race at Monza (22 May) and then tackling a six-hour contest at Circuit Paul Ricard on 5 June. The highlight will be the inaugural virtual running of the Total 24 Hours of Spa, which is scheduled for 7/8 August. The season will conclude with a six-hour contest at the Nürburgring (11 September) and a three-hour finale at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya (16 October). Asia and America will each stage a trio of Endurance Series rounds in 2021. Both will launch on 17 July with six-hour races at Laguna Seca (America) and Bathurst (Asia). On 18 September the Asian championship will undertake a 10-hour contest at Suzuka, while the American series will run a 12-hour event at Bathurst one week later (25 September). Both will conclude with separate three-hour races at Monza on 30 October.
Access to each hot-lap qualifying will be subject to an entry fee, which will be used to create a significant prize pot that successful teams and drivers can earn over the course of the season. Continental titles will be awarded for each Sprint and Endurance Series, while plans are also taking shape for a global finale featuring the best performers from across the regions.
This new venture further expands the range of SRO esports activities planned for 2021. Indeed, alongside the British GT Esports Championship and the on-site Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series, it will bring the total number of live streams to 41, adding up to 130 hours of action. Each event will be streamed live across YouTube, Twitch and Facebook, featuring high production values and an expert broadcast team. By combining substantial experience of real-world motorsport with sim racing specialists, the GT World Challenge Esports Championship aims to lead the way in virtual competition, thanks to the extensive support from Assetto Corsa Competizione, the official game of the championship.
ABOUT SRO ESPORTS
In 2019, the first edition of the SRO E-Sport GT Series based on Assetto Corsa Competizione by Kunos Simulazioni started the path to what now has become the most relevant GT racing Esports competition around the world.
Renamed SRO Esports for the start of the 2020 season, the category stood out as one of the greatest motorsports shows during the enforced global lockdown, with significant participation from high profile real GT3 drivers, pro sim racers and amateur sim drivers producing fantastic spectacles in the three respective separate classes of racing – with the most successful drivers of their classes joining together for a thrilling Grand Finale at Suzuka – as the series looked to crown an overall winner.
The solid partnership between SRO Motorsports Group and AK Esports has clearly marked a milestone in the Esports world, demonstrating once again the true potential of virtual competitions even in such hard times caused by Covid-19 pandemic.