One of the very best things about GT Sport as a game is its online FIA races. Each year there are several online battles to take part in, which for 2021 started with a practice Exhibition Series. It all culminates in a grand finale later in the year where FIA certified champions will be crowned.
Now that is drawing to a close, developer Polyphony Digital has revealed its plans for the real-deal 2021 FIA Certified Gran Turismo Championships.
The Gran Turismo FIA championships are known for their accessibility – anyone with a PS4 or PS5 and a copy of GT Sport can enter – a lack of prize money, and glitzy broadcasts. As was the case with 2020, the in-person World Finals will be held remotely considering the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite this, last year’s event still pulled off an impressive show.
“While we are looking forward to getting back to meeting up with competitors and audiences in person, we feel it is right to keep the Championships purely online in 2021. I wish the best of luck to all of the fantastic competitors who will participate within the competition,” said Gran Turismo Producer Kazunori Yamauchi on the PlayStation Blog.
The key date is 21st April 2021 which is when the first Manufacturer Series race is held, followed by the 24th April 2021 for the first Nations Cup race. Then, running until 26th June, there will be 10 Manufacturer Series and Nations Cup races at set date and time slots to take part in. That rounds out Stage 1 which is open to all via the Sport Mode within the game.
This is then followed by the World Series 1 & 2, which consists of two live races broadcast to watch online for the global top 16 Nations Cup and top 12 Manufacturer Series competitors. Entrants were selected from the 2020 World Finals. You can watch them on 6th June and 11th July respectively.
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Then there’s the World Series Showdown. This is the best drivers from the Stage 1 in-game competitions and pits them against each other in a Nations online race to see if they can grab spots in the main squads fighting for overall glory. Think F1 Esports Challengers or GT Challenge Series, where the best esports drivers can be promoted into the main F1 Esports Series and GT Pro Series events. This showdown event will be broadcast on 21st August.
On the 22nd August there will also be a livestream of a Manufacturer Series World Series Showdown with 12 teams of three racers contesting.
After the Showdown events to help decide the top echelon of competitions, an in-game Stage 2 begins, again open to all who fancy a dash of competitive online racing. This begins on 7th July and ends on 25th September across 10 more races in each category.
Heading towards the end of the year now, World Series 3 & 4 see news competitors fighting it out in two races, broadcast on 3rd October and 14 November. Entrants are determined for these races based upon the earlier Showdown events.
After all the open online stages and the broadcast World Series and Showdown events, we reach the World Finals which you can watch between 3rd and the 5th December 2021. This consists of a support race on the 3rd, the Toyota Gazoo Racing GT Cup, the Manufacturer Series final on the 4th with 12 manufacturer teams of three drivers and the Nations Cup World Final on the 5th featuring 16 established World Series competitors and 16 new competitors who won their place after Online Stage 2.
That’s a lot to digest. In simple terms, if you’d like to have a shot at an FIA accredited world championship, start racing within GT Sport on the 21st April. The venues, race lengths and strategy plays are yet to be revealed along with what makes up the Toyota Gazoo Racing GT Cup. Players living in South Africa and India are now eligible to qualify for the World Series for the first time too.
2021 marks the fourth year of FIA online racing events within GT Sport, with 2020 dominated by Japan thanks to Takuma Miyazono and Team Subaru. If you want to experience the very best of modern-era Gran Turismo, dip into any one of the online FIA races. I know I will be.
Images from the PlayStation Blog.