The Stephane Ratel Organisation and Fanatec have announced major changes to their GT World Challenge Europe programme by involving esports and sim racing in its championship calculations.
The programme will now see points earned by real-world teams – they must take part in simulated races as part of their championship campaign. There will be an on-site Assetto Corsa Competizione race. Everyone competing for Pro honours and those in the Silver Cup will nominate a driver to represent them. The top three will receive real-world championship points. It’s not yet known how many points will be on offer.
As part of the arrangement, equipment and peripheral manufacturer Fanatec will also become the title sponsor of the series. With the full (and wordy) title now being “Fanatec GT World Challenge Powered by AWS”.
“There are good reasons why this series is the most popular GT series in the world. Stephane Ratel is leading the industry with innovative changes and he was very open when I introduced my ideas about a combined sim racing motorsport series to him. Allowing virtual race events to contribute to real-world championship points is the ultimate acknowledgement that sim racing has truly arrived on the big stage. It sets the bar high for other racing disciplines to integrate esports in more meaningful ways in the future.”Thomas Jackermeier, Endor AG (Fanatec), CEO
Certainly it’s a move that will promote mixed opinions. It does, on one hand, mean that the drivers in the series will need to consider sim racing as part of their preparation. On the other, many others question whether this “multi-discipline” approach is the right way of integrating the virtual and real motorsport worlds.
It’s not the first time esports has ended up gifting points in the real-world. Controversially, EuroNASCAR had a similar policy when affected by the coronavirus pandemic last year. It also announced the return of the EuroNASCAR esports series yesterday with more real-world championship points available.
What do you think? A step too far or a progressive move for the future? Let us know on social media or in the comments!