This weekend is one that all motorsports fans will have marked in their calendars with the fattest Sharpie possible. May 24 is the date when two of the three arms of the Triple Crown of Motorsports stage their showpiece events: the Monaco Grand Prix, and the Indianapolis 500.
Or at least it’s when they planned to do so. Force majeure has put an end to that, and the races are simply the latest non-events in a spring, and summer, full of cancelled sporting fixtures.
Fortunately for race fans, the rise of esports means there’s still plenty of action to watch this weekend, as pro racing drivers put on a show in the virtual world. Here’s what’s going on, and how to keep up with it — and see if you can spot any themes…
ABB Formula E Race At Home Challenge
Formula E moves to a new track this week, with the Berlin Tempelhof circuit making its series debut. The track, set at Berlin’s airport, has played host the event in the real world five times, so it should be a familiar location for the pros.
It’s also a German 1-2 in the series right now. BMW’s Maximilian Guenther won the first three events (one a non-points event), while Mahindra’s Pascal Wehrlein won the last two to take the championship lead.
Round 4 gets underway on May 16 at 1425 UTC, and you can watch it on Youtube below:
The Race Legends Trophy & All-Star Esports Battle
This week’s Legends Trophy might see the apple cart upset, as the action heads to the oval. Not just any oval either, but the Brickyard itself. British F1 world champion Jenson Button leads the championship right now, but he has never raced professionally on an oval track.
The rest of the field though includes 13 Indy 500 winners, with two triple winners in Dario Franchitti and Helio Castroneves, and two double winners in Juan Pablo Montoya and Emerson Fittipaldi. 1969 winner, and 1976 F1 World Champion Mario Andretti will also make his debut this week.
Also on the schedule for this week is the Pro Series — with Esteban Gutierrez leading the way — and the All-Star sim racer event. These will also take place at Indianapolis, but at the F1 road course rather than the full oval. Everything gets going at 1600 UTC.
Monaco ESports Federation LiveFromMonaco
This event, staged by MESF, is a rare pro driver esports showpiece using Gran Turismo. It pits a number of professional racing drivers against each other in three sprint races in GT Sport.
Drivers, which include local brothers Charles and Arthur Leclerc, actually ran the races earlier in the week. That means that the broadcast you can catch below, from 1630 UTC on Saturday, isn’t live, but it will be the event’s premiere.
Formula 1 Virtual Grand Prix
F1 will naturally visit the Principality for this weekend’s Virtual Grand Prix, and the pro F1 driver grid has swollen to eight names in total. Regular VGP drivers Charles Leclerc, Alex Albon, George Russell, Lando Norris, Nicholas Latifi, and Antonio Giovinazzi will be facing two new fellow pros.
Esteban Ocon, usually seen in Gran Turismo, will take part in his first VGP, while Valtteri Bottas will be making his esports debut. Russell, Albon, and Leclerc have all scored victories so far this season, while veteran sim racer — and perma-favorite — Norris has been largely stymied by connectivity issues.
The wild and varied lineup includes footballers Thibaut Courtois and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and surfer Kai Lenny. The racing starts on Sunday May 24 at 1700 UTC, and you can watch it below.
It's Monaco time! Valtteri Bottas and Esteban Ocon join the Virtual GP grid for the first time alongside 6 other F1 drivers, Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Despacito singer Luis Fonsi!
Posted by F1 on Thursday, May 21, 2020