The list of motorsport categories transitioning to the virtual realm grows ever-longer, with the Australian TCR field set to line up on a digital grid for the first time tonight in the opening round of the 10-race Australian Racing Group eSport Cup.
Beginning in Bathurst, the series goes live at 8PM tonight (AEDT) with a healthy lineup of 52 drivers from a variety of racing disciplines: TCR Australia, S5000, Touring Car Masters and V8 Touring Cars are just some of the categories the drivers hail from, with a few special guests spread among them. To be streamed in real-time on Facebook and Youtube, we've included the video stream below for you to watch all the action.
The eSport Cup makes use of iRacing as its software platform, which has also recently been used by NASCAR and Supercars in their respective online racing series - which have now become their only outlet to put on a show now that the global Coronavirus pandemic has shut down virtually all motorsport. Formula 1 is another category that has also made the switch to virtual racing, however their software of choice is Codemasters' F1 2019 - read about how F1's first stab at eSports broadcasting went down.
For the first round, drivers will compete around Bathurst in iRacing's sole TCR category vehicle, the Audi RS3 TCR. Successive rounds will see the field transfer into Formula 3 cars - something which may benefit those drivers hailing from S5000 racing.
Barring any technological issues, the combination of plenty of seasoned drivers and the mighty Mount Panorama circuit should make for good racing - and hopefully something more akin to NASCAR's approach to e-sports rather than Formula 1's. Watch the stream and let us know whether you think virtual racing is indeed ready to step up and replace motorsport... at least until we're finally allowed out again.