The Race of Champions has been a staple of racing for a number of years now as all of the very best in motorsport get invited to drive some of the best vehicles and see dream races one on one that normally you wouldn’t get. For the first time ever, and some would say rightfully so, the Race of Champions will have sim racing and I am very excited to see how this will go.
Normally I would be the type of person who sits on the side of caution because of what has happened the last few times people have tried to get involved in sim racing. The Visa Vegas eRace had 27 different plugins that needed to be used which resulted in the failure of fanboost allowing Team Redline’s Olli Pahkala to be 6 seconds a lap quicker than the rest of the field. The F1 Esports World Championship had stewards who had little to no understanding of the F1 2017 game and selected settings that were not appropriate, followed by some very rushed and hasty decisions at the event including a race allegedly being done on realistic vehicles instead of equal.
However I don’t see that happening from the eROC. I think that they have chosen the platform perfectly for the role they want to pull off in Assetto Corsa and I don’t think many platforms could do it better.
While iRacing has the capacity to create a stadium-like venue with the announcement of the Chili Bowl being added in the near future and the already implemented Bristol Motor Speedway, there would have been no suggestion in the planning of eROC that iRacing had that capability and would have probably glossed over them very quickly.
rFactor2 would have to rely on the modding community while Project Cars 2 and Raceroom do not have an in built stadium. That also comes into play with the invitation only format which normally I am against as someone who likes equal opportunity but I have to agree with it on this occasion too.
Because the Race of Champions is an invitation only event, it makes perfect sense for the eRace of Champions to follow the exact format. There is a lot of prestige that surrounds the event and naturally that should be rubbed off on the sim racing community and I think it will because of it. The picks for this race though have been fantastic overall and I don’t have too many criticisms about them either.
Firstly you have an automatic position to race in the actual Race of Champions for Rudy van Buren who as a driver is phenomenal and driven while still being able to see where he is and what he does on the chances I have had to speak with him. You then join that up with the four drivers vying for a seat in the “Team Simracing All Stars” vehicles.
Brendon Leigh makes perfect sense being the F1 Esports world champion and that prestige should be respected and there should be no doubts about his position in the tournament.
Following on is Kevin Leaune who is a three time Project Cars world champion. I will admit that Project Cars is not my area of expertise however I assume the way Aurelien Mallet drove in WFG would be enough of an indicator on Leaune’s pace.
I can see a lot of sense getting the eWTCC champion in from Raceroom, being Alexander Dornieden and I would like to see how he manages everything knowing Raceroom has a habit of being a very secluded community while Enzo Bonito of Team Redline takes the final position. While on the iRacing side, he has been very quiet overall, you still have to respect that he has simulator experience with TeCheetah in Formula E, and the fact that on the game that matters, being Assetto Corsa, he holds world records in the sim.
And crucially I think this is going to be a very good exhibition for sim racing. I think most people will understand that we are not looking for one true god to stand out or to be pitting ourselves virtually against everyone else for credit to what we can do, the eROC makes the sim racing team in the ROC the most important team of them all and is another indication on why sim racing is about to take off in 2018.
This is a celebration of what we have all done as a community regardless of what game in the genre we have pushed forward on and I think in that respect, this could be one of the few companies to actually come into sim racing and get it spot on from day one.
I still have to reserve my judgement until the event has concluded however I think that this is going to be one of the foundations of the future that a lot of drivers are going to want to do overall, that there will not be many objections to and I think that it will be a worthwhile watch come February.