Which motorsport championship has the best virtual series?

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No major international motor racing took place in April – and it’s likely the same will be true for this month.

But while the pandemic has put a stop to real-world racing, the esports scene is enjoying a boom. All the major championships have launched their own online equivalents, and many of their regular drivers have joined in.

Virtual racing offers almost limitless combinations of platforms, cars and tracks for the world’s drivers to compete on. So which of the series run by major motor racing series has got the right mix, attracted the best field and – most importantly – produced the best racing?

Formula 1: Virtual Grand Prix

Game: F1 2019
Tracks: Bahrain, Malbourne, Shanghai, Interlagos
Drivers: Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris, Alexander Albon, Carlos Sainz Jnr, George Russell, Nicholas Latifi, Antonio Giovinazzi and others

IndyCar: iRacing Challenge

Game: iRacing
Tracks: Watkins Glen, Barber Motorsport Park, Michigan, Motegi, Circuit of the Americas, Indianapolis
Drivers: Simon Pagenaud, Scott Dixon, Josef Newgarden, Will Power, Sage Karam, Dale Earnhardt Jnr, Lando Norris and others

Australian Supercars: All Star Eseries

Australian Supercars iRacing
Australian Supercars uses iRacing for its virtual series
Game: iRacing
Tracks: Silverstone, Circuit de Catalunya, Mount Panorama, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Watkins Glen and others
Drivers: Shane van Gisbergen, Chas Mostert, Jamie Whuncup, Will Davison, Zane Goddard, Joey Logano, Max Verstappen and others

World Rallycross Championship: Invitationals

Game: Dirt 2.0
Tracks: Circuit de Catalunya (rallycross), Montalgre and others
Drivers: Timmy Hansen, Kevin Hansen, Kevin Abbring, Mattias Adielsson, Lukas Mateja, Killian Dall’olmo and others

NASCAR: eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series

Game: iRacing
Tracks: Texas, Bristol, Richmond, Talladega and Dover
Drivers: Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselwoski, Alex Bowman, Corey LaJoie, Dale Earnhardt Jnr, Jeff Gordon

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WTCR: Esports races

Game: RaceRoom
Tracks: Hungaroring, Slovakiaring, Ningbo, Sepang and others
Drivers: Tiago Monteiro, Esteban Guerrieri, Norbert Michelisz, Yann Ehrlacher, Nestor GirolamiKevin Ceccon, Mikel Azcona and others

Formula E: Race at Home Challenge

Formula E Race at Home
Formula E’s Race at Home series
Game: rFactor 2
Tracks: Hong Kong, Electric Docks (fictional) and others
Drivers: Maximilian Guenther, Felipe Massa, Stoffel Vandoorne, Pascal Wehrlein, Jean-Eric Vergne, Sam Bird, Simona de Silvestro

IMSA: iRacing Pro Invitational Series

Game: iRacing
Tracks: Laguna Seca, Mid-Ohio and others
Drivers: Bruno Spengler, Matheus Leist, Townsend Bell, Jack Hawksworth, AJ Allmendinger, James Calado, Shane van Gisbergen and others

SRO: E-Sport GT Series

Game: Assetto Corsa Competizione
Tracks: Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps, Nurburgring, Circuit de Catalunya and others TBC
Drivers: Jenson Button, Jordan Pepper, Raffaele Marciello, Patrick Selva, Fabrizio Crestani, Ben Barnicoat, Luigi Di Lorenzo and others

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You say

Which of these series have you watched and which have you enjoyed the most? Cast you vote below and explain your preference in the comments.

Also, which other esports series have you been watching during the hiatus? Let us know below.

Which motorsport championship has the best virtual series?

  • Other (4%)
  • Formula E: Race at Home Challenge (10%)
  • IMSA: iRacing Pro Invitational Series (2%)
  • WTCR: Esports races (0%)
  • NASCAR: eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series (5%)
  • World Rallycross Championship: Invitationals (1%)
  • Australian Supercars: All Star Eseries (22%)
  • IndyCar: iRacing Challenge (48%)
  • Formula 1: Virtual Grand Prix (7%)

Total Voters: 94

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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27 comments on “Which motorsport championship has the best virtual series?”

  1. Supercars by a looooong way.

    1. Yep without a doubt @fer-no65
      It might not win the poll, but it has been a really slick production with great racing & commentary.
      Feel free to disagree, but not until you’ve done yourself a favour and watched the last two laps of Bathurst:

      Indy has been great too, but not as polished as the V8 version. And of course, that Pagenaud moment to end the series soured it big time…

      1. Sorry that link didn’t work properly…

      2. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        3rd May 2020, 23:56

        Supercars gained a lot of points by having Craig Baird there as the race steward keeping everything in check. Could have done with him at IMS yesterday.
        Lost points for having presenters in the studio they were hardly key workers

    2. Definitely Supercars. Great presentation and actual stewards keeping things in check. Plus they’re willing to have a laugh at the pileups when they do happen. Good racing and good entertainment!

  2. It would be a shame if 3 laps of idiotic behaviour would spoil everyone’s opinion of the Indycar series – the rest of it was serious, competitive and entertaining. Yesterday’s race was 98% awesome, particularly loved the McLaren trio’s defensive teamwork at the end.

    1. @graham228221 I’m disappointed that a punishment hasn’t emerged faster for this. If organisers want it to be taken seriously by fans (and competitors) the rule book needs to be enforced in the same manner it is in real world racing. This is a slam dunk penalty, the only debate is the sentence, and should be between one and three races on the bench.

      I was a terrible sim racer, but I know it takes a serious level of dedication to be good. The dangers aren’t there, but the hard work is just the same and that needs to be respected in scenarios like this.

  3. I don’t watch enough series to cast a vote (basically only gave a try to Indycar and I don’t think F1 is worth a try) but I would have like another poll on the same page with which series people are watching.

    If 12% of readers watch Supercars, and the best of poll shows that 12% of all readers think it is the best. It means that even if it’s not the highest rank, all people watching Supercars think it is the best…

    1. I actually watch almost all of them and i find the Indycar commentary and showwise the best followed by the Supercars.
      The Rally cross was a bit soso i rated that last just before F1 (did Ralling myself so i find it more a game then a simulation)

  4. I’ve been enjoying the F1 virtual GP because it’s been presented as a bit of fun which is exactly what i’m looking for from these things.

    Maybe it also helps that I follow some of the sim racing/Youtubers that have been taking part in the F1 races (Jimmy Broadbent for instance) so i’m more invested in it from that perspective as I like seeing those guys bring the extra bit of fun personality to it.

    The Indycar one (As well as some of the others) may well be better in terms of been presented in a more realistic way but I know i’m not watching a real life race & I know it’s lacking some of the things I enjoy about watching the real thing so I don’t like the fact they are trying to present it as something it’s not.

  5. The (RFactor) Race All Star Series has been the best. With this driver list it’s been fantastic:

    Sebastian Vettel (first time today?)
    Emerson Fittipaldi
    Hélio Castroneves
    Mika Salo
    Vitantonio Liuzzi
    David Brabham
    Dario Franchitti
    Petter Solberg
    Jason Plato
    Tiago Monteiro
    Jenson Button
    Darren Turner
    Max Papis
    Oriol Servia
    Adrián Fernández
    Mario Dominguez
    Juan Pablo Montoya
    Jan Magnussen
    Gil de Ferran
    Andy Priaulx
    Emanuele Pirro
    Bryan Herta
    Michel Jourdain JrSEBASTIAN VETTEL
    Emerson Fittipaldi
    Hélio Castroneves
    Mika Salo
    Vitantonio Liuzzi
    David Brabham
    Dario Franchitti
    Petter Solberg
    Jason Plato
    Tiago Monteiro
    Jenson Button
    Darren Turner
    Max Papis
    Oriol Servia
    Adrián Fernández
    Mario Dominguez
    Juan Pablo Montoya
    Jan Magnussen
    Gil de Ferran
    Andy Priaulx
    Emanuele Pirro
    Bryan Herta
    Michel Jourdain Jr

    Watched Jenson go wheel to wheel with Jan Magnussen last week, fantastic race.
    I’m not sure why it’s not on this list?

    1. Agree! Haven’t watched any of the US or Australian series but this series has had the most intense races and been a suitable replacement for real F1 race (although would love them to do longer race distances with some weather and pit strategy to contend with)

    2. Same as for me the timing was wrong, I couldn’t watch it ….

  6. I didn’t vote as I’ve only watched a few of these, thanks for sharing that Bathurst footage! The TV coverage there does indeed look superior to the little of official coverage I have watched of the other series. I’ve been almost exclusively watching streams from the drivers themselves. I find it empowering compared to traditional TV coverage. For instance in yesterday’s Indianapolis Indycar race I was switching between up to 5 individual drivers watching them race and talk from their point of view. Where as heavy handed corporate broadcast policy has always minimized driver personalities on TV they can be themselves within their own little unofficial race broadcast. No green screen just them in their game rooms. Personal favorite driver to watch so far has been Josef Newgarden. Professional yet friendly and respectful he’s been a joy to watch without the mass viewer count drivers like Lando Norris collect. Poor Norris obviously does have pc /internet issues as his Indycar race stream was so laggy and glitched it ran some 10 laps behind the other drivers becoming not only a slideshow but a SLOW slideshow.
    It is noticeable that those race series that already have an established eseries running alongside the real life equivalent have a distinct head start over others scrambling to get technically proficient.

  7. IndyCar has been easily the best. Lots of people talking about certain drivers getting their feathers ruffled yesterday. Quite an entertaining and controversial race.

    The real thing can’t start soon enough.

  8. Miltiadis (@miltosgreekfan)
    3rd May 2020, 14:52

    Honestly, the best in my opinion, is the Race All Star Series . Great racing, legends driving and its kinda unique that they managed to get Emerson Fittipaldi and Sebastian Vettel participating.

    I like the attempt that Formula E did, as they equipped every driver on the grid with a rig.

    F1’s events are good, but lack some participation by other active drivers as well.

  9. Missing answer “I don’t watch any motorsrpot virtual championship” ;-)

  10. I’d have said Indycar until yesterday, when it became apparent certain drivers were treating it a joke, and no sanctions were applied as a result. 5 of the 6 races were great. Yesterday was an embarrassment. Looked more like a jokey amateur hour, despite being on broadcast TV in multiple countries.
    NASCAR has been pretty solid. IMSA has been OK. F1 is tragic due to the game and the lightweight rules applied.

  11. Jockey Ewing
    3rd May 2020, 18:07

    Yes, at the level of Nascar, Indy, or F1, I think it would be better to have strict stewarding, and at least “reduced damage setting” to make it more serious. I think the fun part would come at first races in this way, while they adapt to the game, and then no problem. For the actions like Pagenaud’s and Ferruci’s exclusion from some of the next online event, or some irl cash or point penalty for the next season would be fair.
    Ok, it’s a game, but for these behavioral standards anyone may get kicked or banned at any decent public server at many games. What happened is not about driving standards or skill, being decent is much more important, without that you can not even have fun, not to mention a decent competitive event.
    Yesterday’s Indy race was a nice example of the fact that competitive gaming or sports are not for everyone, even if someone has the skill to compete. They despite of being professional, was not able to take some beating from the more experienced simracer Lando, and had fun while wrecking at a top event as if they were a player who should not be at a public server either. While Ferrucci returned to himself again. I had been a quite active public server admin at another competitve game for years, but never removed anyone for being lame, but removed tons of people for behavior. The outcome: the server outlived almost all of its competitors at Europe, and I have played with some national team level guys, who respected me even if i only did it for fun.

    1. Jockey Ewing
      3rd May 2020, 18:15

      I have a funny idea against notorious sim crashers too: ramp up the fragility of their cars to something like 4x (or even a bit more :D) of the others. That would be quite funny to decent guys, and make them to learn faster if they dont have bad intentions. Also it would be a nice protection for those hours when an admin is not present. And of course to implement an option for server owners to enable or disable this feature.

  12. I watched the first two Indycar and Nascar races. The Indycar productions were a joke compared to Nascar. Nascar took it serious enough, but still kept it light hearted and fun.

  13. The 2 iRacing series, Indycar and Aussie V8 Supercars are by far the best. Much more realistic, and run properly, with damage factored in. also, they have virtually all the regular drivers, with a few top drivers from other series as wildcards. No ridiculous inclusions of “influencers”, cricketers, or other nonentities. Just watched the Virtual F2 first round – what a rubbish system! Lundgaard constantly going to P1, then dropping to P9 or something (where he should have been), numerous time penalties, that stuff up the on-track dicing for position, but most important, the lack of penalties for suffering damage made it just a joke, rather than a serious game.

  14. Luke Longnecker
    3rd May 2020, 22:02

    Today’s DTM race using RaceRoom was fantastic!

  15. The Aussie Supercars have been fantastic to watch. You know its good when you forget its actually Virtual. Treating it like any race meet with commentators and highlights, Race stewards and the drivers actually taking it pretty seriously has made a huge difference. Well done

  16. Indy go nuts on the last laps, just watched and that was plain wrong behavior from some drivers. Supercars at Bathurst was awesome. F1 should get a proper game/sim, or have the talk to Codemasters to build a sim mode on the game.

  17. SRO has not disappointed. Racers have been clean for the most part, and when not, race control has been swift.

  18. I’ve enjoyed the motogp virtual races more than the car ones I’ve seen.

Comments are closed.