The flagship esports program of Gran Turismo Sport, the FIA Certified GT Online Championship, will get back underway this month, with races starting on February 27.
As with previous seasons, the racing starts with a pre-season “Exhibition Series”, running from February to March. This will give players some practice time and experience in the serious races before the season starts for real, likely in late April or early May. With the races taking the same format and scoring as the main event itself, players will also be able to build up their ranking towards that prestigious “S” Driver Rating — all but required if you want to be part of the season-ending grand final.
In previous seasons, the Exhibition Series has also served to act as a qualifier for live events at the beginning of the season. Though the 2020 schedule was heavily disrupted, this proved to be the case for the Sydney World Tour. We haven’t yet learned of any live events for 2021, or even if there will be any, but it would be safest to treat the 2021 pre-season as if something hinges on it.
Although we know when the Exhibition Series will start, Polyphony Digital hasn’t released a full schedule just yet. However it’s likely that, as usual, there’ll be between eight and ten races, in both the Nations Cup and Manufacturer Series. You will be able to select a new manufacturer for the latter if you wish, but bear in mind the new Balance of Performance settings before you commit!
As February 27 is a Saturday, it’s also probable that the calendar will continue to alternate between the two series on Saturdays and Wednesdays, concluding towards the end of April. Time slots will likely remain as they have in previous seasons, with events running through the evening in the center time zone of each region; PD does adjust the precise time slots most seasons, and we’ll bring you information on that when it’s available.
Featured image courtesy of 05XR8.