Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup Goes Virtual For COVID-19 With iRacing-Based Series Featuring Real Pro Drivers
Sport events in all sorts of genres have been canceled due to the coronavirus and the inability for large groups of people to gather. This has driven some sporting events to go the way of eSports and be held online, particularly in the basketball and motorsports world. Porsche Motorsport is currently holding its PMSC Virtual Edition racing event that’s being live-streamed from the Circuit De Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain. The event is underway right now and has more than 32 professional drivers participating in the event.
The announcers are calling Porsche's virtual race just as they would in the real world and talking about the interesting mashup of virtual racing and professional motorsport racing. One interesting aspect of the virtual racing event is the actual drivers are behind the wheel of the virtual racing cars. The teams also have their actual spotters telling the drivers where the competition is, and real racing engineer teammates doing their thing for the virtual racing cars. It’s very much a mashup of real-world and simulation racing in a team eSports venue.
The flag dropped on the virtual racing event at 3:30 PM CEST, and as of writing appears to be roughly halfway completed. The length of the virtual racing circuit that the drivers are competing on is 4.627 kilometers, and the track has 16 turns. The virtual race will span 145 minutes. Porsche says that the track will place “maximum demands” on the driver’s ability to control the car. Some of the drivers are very new to virtual racing and racing simulations finding that racing in a virtual car is vastly different than the real world for obvious reasons.
It’s harder to see out of a virtual car, and drivers can’t feel what the car is doing, for example. And of course, controlling the vehicle and how it responds is a totally different ball of wax as well.
Porsche isn’t alone in turning to the virtual racing world, NASCAR has also put its drivers into virtual racing cars to keep fans entertained and drivers racing until the real events continue. The NBA is also holding a virtual tournament with real players competing in NBA 2K20.