GT Sport‘s first World Tour event of the year is still fresh in our minds, but already it’s time to prepare for the next stage. The Pre-Season for 2020 FIA Online Championship gets underway this week, ahead of the full season starting in mid-March.
For those of us who took part in the last Exhibition Series, there’s not a lot of changes. The schedule remains broadly the same, with Nations taking place on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and Manufacturers a day later. You’ll have five chances at each race, with the timings for each regions below:
- Oceania Region – 1800, 1920, 2040, 2200, 2320 AEDT
- Asia Region – 1900, 2020, 2140, 2300, 0020 JST
- EMEA Region – 1600, 1720, 1840, 2000, 2120 UTC
- North America Region – 1600, 1720, 1840, 2000, 2120 CST
- Central & South America Region – 2000, 2120, 2240, 0000, 0120 BRST
You’ll find your own country’s time slots both on the official game website and in Sport Mode within the game itself.
It’s a slightly shortened schedule of just eight races for this pre-season. Although you can race in every slot for every race, only your best three rounds will count — and remember that only your last score of each round goes to your overall total, even if you disconnect and it’s zero.
The full calendar for both events in the pre-season is below:
- Round 1 – February 18 – Red Bull Ring/Mazda Roadster Touring Car
- Round 2 – February 22 – Brands Hatch – Grand Prix Circuit/Gr.3
- Round 3 – February 25 – Autodrome Lago Maggiore – East/N300
- Round 4 – February 29 – Dragon Trail – Gardens/Gr.1
- Round 5 – March 3 – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya/Gr.3
- Round 6 – March 7 – Autodromo Nazionale Monza/Dallara SF19 Super Formula ’19
- Round 7 – March 10 – Tsukuba Circuit/N200
- Round 8 – March 14 – Autodrome Lago Maggiore – GP/Gr.4
- Round 1 – February 19 – Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps/Gr.4
- Round 2 – February 23 – Fuji International Speedway – Short/Gr.4
- Round 3 – February 26 – Autodromo de Interlagos/Gr.3
- Round 4 – March 1 – Tokyo Expressway – South Outer Loop/Gr.3
- Round 5 – March 4 – Autodrome Lago Maggiore – Centre II/Gr.4
- Round 6 – March 8 – Sardegna – Road Track B II/Gr.3
- Round 7 – March 11 – Red Bull Ring/Gr.4
- Round 8 – March 15 – Nurburgring – GP/Gr.3
For this season there are no Top 16 Superstars races, so you’ll need to work hard to gain the S ranking ahead of the full season. The eagle-eyed will spot there’s no gaps in the schedule or any unknowns, which suggests that any content that may arrive in a game update won’t impact the pre-season.
The new, shorter qualifying session still applies, with five minutes (plus any lap you are on when the timer expires) to set your time. There are two exceptions, with the final Nations race at Lago Maggiore GP (six minutes), and the first Manufacturer race at Spa-Francorchamps (seven minutes) having a slightly longer session. Mandatory tires are still in effect, with a 20s time penalty for any car ignoring tire requirements.
A further detail of note comes in the sixth round of Nations Cup. The car required for this race is the Super Formula Dallara SF19, and where this has previously been a one-make for either the Honda or Toyota variant of the open-wheeler, both cars are eligible for the event.
One minor change for Pre-Season affects the Manufacturer Series, with regards to the overall manufacturer rank. Previously this has used the score from the top-ranking player in each region to award points, but this will change to the top three regions only. This won’t have any immediate ramifications, but may shake up the manufacturers which attend subsequent World Tour events.
Featured image courtesy of Stephan.