The six-event Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship will power up at a virtual Salzburgring on Sunday (14 June) with a made-for-television programme reserved exclusively for WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup drivers.
Held over six weekends until 19 July on the RaceRoom Racing Experience platform, the Pre-season Sports WTCR Championship gives fans the chance to watch virtual WTCR racing with a difference.
All drivers taking part will have a webcam and microphone connected, making it possible for viewers to see and hear their heroes during the races. The microphone feature will also allow drivers to be interviewed as well as interacting with their rivals. Videos of drivers on their simulators, at home and enjoying some fun moments will also be shared during the one-hour shows.
New-for-2020-liveries will be used with six epic tracks, including three that will feature in the real WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup, providing the challenge. And with the real WTCR set to kick off at Salzburgring in September, the Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship will provide a virtual taster of what’s to come in a few months from now.
Who’s on the virtual grid?
The following drivers will contest the Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship event at a virtual Salzburgring on 14 June:
#1: Norbert Michelisz (Hungary), BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse, Hyundai i30 N TCR
#7: Aurélien Comte (France), DG Sport Compétition, Peugeot 308TCR
#8: Luca Engstler (Germany), Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team, Hyundai i30 N TCR
#9: Attila Tassi (Hungary), ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR
#10: Niels Langeveld (Netherlands), Comtoyou Team Audi Sport, Audi RS 3 LMS
#11: Thed Björk (Sweden), Cyan Performance Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR
#18: Tiago Monteiro (Portugal), ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR
#29: Néstor Girolami (Argentina), ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR
#31: Tom Coronel (Netherlands), Comtoyou Team Audi Sport, Audi RS 3 LMS
#55: Bence Boldizs (Hungary), Zengo Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competición
#65: Kevin Ceccon (Italy), Team Mulsanne, Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR by Romeo Ferraris
#68: Yann Ehrlacher (France), Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR
#70: Mato Homola (Slovakia), BRC Racing Team, Hyundai i30 N TCR
#86: Esteban Guerrieri (Argentina), ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR
#96: Mikel Azcona (Spain), CUPRA Racing, CUPRA Leon Competición
#100: Yvan Muller (France), Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR
#111: Andy Priaulx (Great Britain), Cyan Performance Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR
The Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship format explained
Each Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship will feature a 10-minute qualifying session followed by a top-five Superpole shootout, which will be included in the official broadcast.
Race 1 will last for 12 minutes with the grid using the combined qualifying results. Race 2 will also last for 12 minutes but with the top 10 qualifying results reversed to form the first five rows of the grid. Cars will appear as they will look when the WTCR begins, as planned, for real later this year.
Track guide by Esteban Guerrieri
The first real WTCR driver to win an Esports WTCR event, ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda driver Esteban Guerrieri is your guide to the 4.241-kiloometre Salzburgring by clicking here.
How I’m preparing by Yann Ehrlacher
Preparation is key in all forms of motorsport and it’s no different in the Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship. Click here for Cyan Racing Lynk & Co driver Yann Ehrlacher’s quick guide.
What I’ll be eating by Luca Engstler
In order to stay sharp during the intense Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship races drivers need to be in peak physical condition. Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team driver Luca Engstler explains how it’s done by clicking here.
Fans get to watch and hear their heroes
All 17 drivers will have a webcam and microphone connected, making it possible for viewers to see and hear their heroes during the races. The microphone feature will also allow drivers to be interviewed as well as interacting with their rivals.
Videos of drivers on their simulators, at home and enjoying some fun moments will also be shared during the one-hour shows. And while the drivers will be racing from home, the television production will be managed from Paris with the 30-strong crew working in compliance with social distancing and other health and safety requirements.
What you’ll watch?
The programmes will benefit from the same in-house production expertise as the real-life WTCR broadcasts in partnership with technical provider AMP Visual. The work of a 30-person team, the programmes will have the same ‘look and feel’ as the WTCR broadcasts with identical on-screen graphics and expert commentary on the global broadcast feed from the voice of WTCR Martin Haven.
WTCR pitlane reporter Alexandra Legouix will present the action and interview the drivers while they race at home. Esports WTCR commentator James Kirk joins the team to provide an expert view on simracing.
How to watch?
Eurosport 1 will broadcast all Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship events with the Salzburgring event scheduled for 15h15 CET on Sunday 14 September. The programmes will be available on the WTCR’s social media channels from 09h00 CET the next day.
In addition to coverage on Eurosport in 54 countries, Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship events will be shown on the following channels with more to be announced soon:
RTBF Auvio (Belgium)
StarTimes (sub-Saharan Africa)
SuperSport (South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa)
Three (New Zealand)
Following the Salzburgring event on 14 June the remaining Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship calendar looks like this:
21 June: Hungaroring (Eurosport broadcast time: 22h30 CET)
28 June: Slovakia Ring (Eurosport broadcast time: 22h00 CET)
5 July: Ningbo International Speedpark (Eurosport broadcast time: 23h00 CET)
12 July: Circuito da Guia, Macau (Eurosport broadcast time: 23h00 CET)
19 July: Sepang International Circuit (Eurosport broadcast time: 23h00 CET)
Making it happen for the fans
Organised to give WTCR drivers the chance to engage with fans through the WTCR’s social media platforms while they wait the start of the 2020 campaign and a prelude to the full Esports WTCR online championship due to begin later this year, the Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship from RaceRoom in partnership with Eurosport Events lists Goodyear, TAG Heuer, DHL, KW Suspensions, TrackTime and Liqui Moly as partners with a TAG Heuer watch going to the champion. The series will promote the FIA’s #RaceAtHome campaign.