With fans of motorsport turning to watching Esports racers in increasing numbers during the enforced coronavirus lockdown, the standard of racing and entertainment on offer appears to be peaking.
Initiatives from Veloce Esports and Formula One’s Virtual Grand Prix races have helped fans to get their motorsport fix, certainly with increasing numbers of F1 drivers and celebrities now wishing to participate.
Competition over the weekend was further ramped up a notch, with Ferrari star driver Charles Leclerc showing he can take to the Esports version like a duck to water, the Monegasque easily winning the Virtual Vietnam Grand Prix on his competitive sim racing debut, taking the victory from Renault Junior driver Christian Lundgaard and fellow F1 driver and sim rookie, George Russell.
"I gave everything, guys!"
— Formula 1 (@F1) April 5, 2020
Leclerc’s brother, Arthur, also enjoyed a strong race to pip Antonio Giovinazzi for fourth after Alexander Albon had earlier spun from contention. Also trying his hand at the Esports event for the first time was 2009 F1 champion Jenson Button, who just missed out on a top ten finish. Also competing for the first time was England’s hero of the 2019 World Cup and Ashes hero Ben Stokes. But despite the benefit of driver aids, Stokes wound up being lapped by the stars of their respective sport.
— Formula 1 (@F1) April 6, 2020
“It was unbelievably hard,” Leclerc said after the race. “I’m sweating like crazy. Great race. Eight days ago [I bought the game], but I put quite a lot of hours into it. At least five hours each day.”
— George Russell (@GeorgeRussell63) April 5, 2020
If Leclerc could be described as something of a novice in the virtual racing stakes, Lando Norris has been an eager participant in many of the races since the cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix, and the popular McLaren driver was finally left with something to cheer after holding off YouTuber Benjamin ‘Tiametmarduk’ Daly to win the latest round of Veloce Esports’s #NotTheGP series.
— Veloce Esports (@VeloceEsports) April 5, 2020