Digital Motorsports – the Irish sim racing retailer – recently played host to a World Cup of sim racing, where 33 of the fastest sim racers in the world battled against each other to win a share of a €20,000 prize pool. All the drivers took part in cars liveried up in their nation’s flags, with 20 different countries represented on the grid.
Although there wasn’t a team element to proceedings, some of the top sim racing squads on the planet had multiple entries, including Williams Esports, MSI eSports and VRS Coanda Simsport – who could count on real-life Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup star Ayhancan Güven in their lineup.
As a celebratory nod to 100 years of Polish motor racing, the race was broadcast live from Digital Motorsports’ studios in Warsaw, Poland – close to title sponsor G2A’s Polish R&D base.
The finalists fought for a place on the grid over three days of qualifying, where around 200 initial entrants were whittled down to the final 33, including professional sim-racing superstars such as Mortiz Löhner, Maximilian Benecke and Sebastian Job. The broadcast was set to include a number of the world’s best sim-racers in the studio, but due to Covid-19-affected travel restrictions six of Poland’s top esports drivers filled in as late substitutes.
The contenders were set to duke it out over a 30-minute sprint race using the iRacing version of the Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit, driving the new-for-2021 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup 992 car, with commentary coming from Jack Cunnane and Kevin Galvin.
It was Red Bull Racing Esports Team member Sebastian Job who took pole from Team Redline’s Maximilian Benecke by just 0.010s – the top 10 was covered by only 0.3s, highlighting how close the field was. As the race was being run with fixed setups, the event boiled down to who could be the fastest in equal machinery.
As the race got underway, Benecke made a great start and took the lead into turn one. He cemented his position at the front when Job went off at turn three after a lock-up and a little side-by-side contact. Job dropped down the order into eighth position, but the 2020 Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup champion staged a miraculous comeback to end the race in second and take away €5,000 in prize money, with Güven, who picked his way through two final-lap incidents, finishing on the last step of the podium.
On that eventful final lap – Red Bull Racing Esports Team’s Graham Carrol was involved in two unfortunate crashes in the space of a few corners as he firstly locked up and nerfed Alejandro Sanchez into a spin at Chapel, before being tapped off at Copse by Zac Campbell. This all allowed VRS Coanda Simsport driver Güven to move up the order and take a comfortable podium and a €2,500 cash prize.
In the end, Benecke crossed the line in first, taking home €10,000 prize money and the inaugural title of Digital Motorsports World Champion 2021.
Although the ‘World Cup’ aspect wasn’t leaned on particularly, the event and broadcast garnered favourable reviews from the watching sim racing community, and impressed with its slickly presented studio format with knowledgeable pundits, great prizes, and – most importantly – a high-quality field of racers. The 2022 event will surely look to build on this success.