Thrilling virtual experiences to help Motorsports fans get through the boredom of the lockdown
The Corona virus has caused the entire world to slow down and countries to lockdown, with people working from home and many events being cancelled. In these trying times, with no certainty of when racing action will return, motorsports fans are finding ways to keep themselves entertained while Teams are either chipping in to fight the pandemic and finding innovative ways to connect to their audience and keep them engaged through video based content or eSports.
Teams on the front lines
Italy has been one of the countries most heavily affected by the pandemic and Ferrari admirably continues their efforts to help the fight against the virus by producing respirator valves and fittings for protective masks from their Maranello factory. Similarly, as a part of ‘Project Pitlane’, 7 UK-based F1 teams including McLaren and Mercedes have taken to building respiratory devices to provide breathing aid to those affected by Corona.
"The Formula 1 community has shown an impressive response to the call for support, coming together in the ‘Project Pitlane’ collective to support the national need at this time across a number of different projects" - Mercedes engine chief Andy Cowell
Photo credits: Formula1.com
Lockdown as a motosports fan: eSports? Documentaries? Highlight reels?
If you are unaware, F1 TV Access is being offered for Free over a 30-day period to help fight the boredom that comes with the Corona quarantine. With access to exclusive F1 documentaries and adrenaline inducing races and drama, the couch is suddenly a lot more enjoyable place to be at. F1 will be streaming a series of iconic races over the next couple of months thus allowing motorsport fans to re-live the excitement and thrill of some all-time classics. These races can be viewed every Wednesday evening and Saturday afternoon on F1.com, and the official F1 Facebook and YouTube channels. Fans are also invited to vote for the races that they would like to see, so go on ahead and vote for your favorite!
While the 2020 season is on hold, F1 is running a new eSports Virtual Grand Prix with live races on Codemasters’ F1 2019 PC involving current drivers. These races are running in place of every postponed Grand Prix. Online action kicked off on March 22 with the Bahrain Virtual Grand Prix with subsequent rounds being broadcast live on the official Formula 1 YouTube, Twitch and Facebook channels, as well as F1.com.
MotoGP has also kept motorsport fans on the edge of their seat with their version of an eSports event. The #StayAtHomeGP Virtual Race series held at the Red Bull Ring. Francesco Bagnia, Maverick Viñales and Álex Márquez put on impressive performances in the virtual MotoGP realm with places on the podium from the safety of their residence.
The ‘Race for the World’ mini-series is also being streamed on the twitch accounts of racing drivers like Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris, Alex Albon, George Russell and Antonio Giovinazzi with the six-race eSports championship evoking the participation of Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and avid sim racer and YouTuber Jimmy Broadbent. Certainly a good way to make full use of the lockdown.
More events like the Subaru iRX All-Star Invitational, Formula E Stay at Home Challenge, Digital Nurburgring Endurance Racing, Veloce’s ‘Not the… GP Series’, World RX eSports Invitational, NASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational means that a majority of promoters have realized the potential of a virtual experience that allow motorsport fans to not only spectate on thrilling races, but also participate in them, gunning for gold along with their favorite drivers. Since the duration or severity of the lockdown is still uncertain, these events continue to give fans the thrill of racing.
It truly is astonishing how quickly promoters have adapted to sim racing and utilized eSports technology to cater to motorsports fans even under the conditions of lockdown. Records for participation and viewership are being broke across the globe and over several forms of motorsports. Perhaps it could open up new avenues in the future as fans are becoming familiar to the environment supported by the presence of platforms like Twitch and we at the GPBox feel that this is a trend that is here to stay long after Corona has been defeated.