Photo: Supercars

Supercars stars keen to get online series underway

Some of the Supercars Championship’s top names have welcomed the category’s decision to start an Eseries as the sport faces a three-month break due to the coronavirus pandemic.

While announcing that racing would not resume until the Winton round in June, Supercars said that it will get behind an official online racing series which will be broadcast so fans retain their interest in the sport while drivers get a chance to race in truly equal machinery.

Based on the iRacing platform which features the Ford Mustang GT and Holden Commodore ZB campaigned in the real championship, the 2020 series will be broadcast on the Supercars website as well as with TV rights holders Fox Sports.

Triple Eight driver and 2016 Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen has thrown his support behind the idea of a virtual championship as a keen eracer himself, driving for Team Redline with Formula 1 stars Max Verstappen and Lando Norris.

“I race on there a bit with Scotty (McLaughlin) sometimes, Anton (De Pasquale) and all that, but it’s more for a laugh rather than competitive,” van Gisbergen said.

“It’s something to do for a while, there’s not much on TV sports-wise at the moment, so hopefully we can do something. You’re watching computer racing so you want to make it a bit fun and a bit full-on.”

Anton de Pasquale is no stranger to the sim racing world either and as well as owning his own simulator, his Erebus Motorsport Supercars team has a state of the art rig at their Melbourne base.

“I’ll definitely put my hand up and take part because it’s something I do a bit of now anyway,” De Pasquale said.

“I’ve got a sim at home which I have a bit of fun on and hang out with some mates and do that kind of stuff, and then we have the one at Erebus too which we take a bit more seriously and use for development and training with myself.”

Defending two-time series champion Scott McLaughlin weighed in, posting to social media that he believes motorsport as a whole is in a unique position to still provide despite the hard times.

“How cool for us motor racing folk to have sim racing,” McLaughlin said.

“We can’t race real life stuff at the moment but we are the only or close to the only sport that can still provide levels of entertainment to the world.

“Not only pro racers against pro racers but iRacing and other platforms allow the average Joe to have a crack with us also.

“We should really push this platform to not only extend the reach of our sport to our current fans but try to introduce new ones to this great sport that is motorsport.”

McLaughlin’s DJR Team Penske squad has one of the most advanced simulators in Australia at their Stapylton base which has been integral over the past few seasons in providing data between rounds.

With the championship suspended, McLaughlin leads the points standings as the next three rounds have been postponed to later in the year.