June 16, 2020
Honda Racing’s quartet of WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup drivers will be at the heart of the action when the new Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship launches on June 14.
Esteban Guerrieri, Nestor Girolami, Tiago Monteiro, and Attila Tassi have all committed to the new initiative from the WTCR series organizer Eurosport Events and RaceRoom, which will be contested exclusively by professional WTCR drivers and other real-life wildcard entrants, and is being billed as a teaser before the 2020 season can get underway.
The Championship comprises six rounds, each of which will include a 10-minute qualifying session followed by the WTCR’s traditional pole position shootout for the fastest five qualifiers, plus two 12-minute races – the second of which will feature a partially reversed grid.
As was the case with the Championship’s forerunner, the Esports WTCR Beat the Drivers series, Honda again praises Eurosport and RaceRoom for introducing this contest in order to give fans a fix of touring car action during the Covid-19 pandemic, and is proud that the four drivers who are due to campaign the real-life Civic Type R TCR this year have all shown the same commitment.
While this primary intention to entertain remains, there is an additional motivation for the drivers as they go head-to-head to beat the racers they will face in real-life WTCR competition.
Esteban’s form in the Beat the Drivers series culminated with a win in the final race at the virtual Sepang – the first for a real-life WTCR driver on RaceRoom – and a seventh-place finish in the standings, ahead of a number of sim racing professionals.
The Argentinian, the real-life 2019 WTCR runner-up, is under no illusions however that the stakes are different in an all-pro-driver field, and is taking nothing for granted heading into the new contest.
Nestor showed strong form at Sepang too, bagging an impressive top-10 finish, and will contest the full series on the home simulator that he used to prepare for real-life WTCR rounds last year – having returned from Argentina to his home in Spain last month.
Having made strides on the simulator platform he was least familiar with during the Beat the Drivers series, Attila, 20, is eagerly anticipating the quickfire nature of the upcoming Championship and keen to put his dedicated preparations to good use.
Though Tiago’s family and business commitments mean he has not been able to commit the same hours of practise on the RaceRoom platform that others have, he is up for the challenge and recognises the importance of his participation in the series.
The Championship will commence at the virtual version of the Salzburgring on Sunday (June 14), and will take in events at the Hungaroring, Slovakiaring, Ningbo and Macau, before concluding at Sepang on July 19.
Each event will be broadcast on Eurosport International, running to a 48-minute format.