> Suzuka hosts standalone Charity Cup on August 29
> Five-round championship begins at Monza on September 15
> All events staged on Assetto Corsa Competizione’s popular PC platform
> Races to feature Asian real-world drivers, pro sim racers and public
> Qualifying registration opens August 14 – Asian sim racers can submit their interest here
SRO Motorsports Group will extend its officially sanctioned sim racing franchise to Asia later this year when the five-round GT World Challenge Asia Esports Championship kicks off at Monza on September 15.
The sim racing campaign follows standalone, non-championship GT World Challenge Asia Esports Charity Cup races, which take place at Suzuka on August 29.
Assetto Corsa Competizione – the official game of GT World Challenge – will host all six events after successfully staging SRO’s European and US esports championships earlier this year.
Indeed, following the success of its other esports series, SRO is now fully focused on providing Asia’s real-world drivers, pro sim racers and general public with a professionally managed and highly competitive online racing environment. Experience gained in Europe and America will make the GT World Challenge Asia Esports Championship SRO’s most polished sim racing product to date and introduce several new aspects familiar to fans of real-world competition.
Like its continental counterparts Asia’s esports series will be staged on Assetto Corsa Competizione’s popular PC platform with the help of ACC’s developers, Kunos Simulazioni, while AK Informatica will once again provide first-class technical assistance and management.
Meanwhile, CBR Media will oversee and develop the championship’s commercial opportunities in Asia. CBR Media is the marketing arm of Craft-Bamboo Racing, which is amongst the region’s most successful race teams and carries a long list of motorsport marketing achievements.
Two 60-minute races take place per event: one reserved for real-world Asian racing teams and drivers from a variety of championships across the continent, and a second featuring Asia’s fastest sim racing exponents. The ‘Real’ and ‘Sim’ races are broken down into sub-categories comprising professionals and amateurs who will fight for one of four individual class titles: Real-PRO and Real-AM, and Sim-PRO and Sim-AM.
Real-PRO results will also count towards a Teams’ Championship, while a Manufacturers’ title – open to all registered manufacturer entrants – will be awarded on the basis of points scored across all four driver classes.
What’s more, GT World Challenge Asia’s real-world teams will be represented in Assetto Corsa Competizione for the first time thanks to faithfully reproduced liveries. And, in an SRO esports first, a mandatory pitstop will add an extra layer of strategy to each 60-minute race, just as it does in Asia’s real-world sprints.
Suzuka’s Charity Cup race aside, SRO will stage each championship round on Tuesday evenings in Asia to avoid clashing with the return of real-world racing, which typically takes place over weekends. Esports dates will also work in harmony with those of Asia’s real-world campaign, of which four rounds are currently scheduled between September and December.
Having familiarised themselves with ACC’s procedures and format at Suzuka, the championship-proper begins around high-speed Monza on September 15. Laguna Seca (October 6), Silverstone (October 27), Spa-Francorchamps (November 10) and Suzuka (November 24) complete the inaugural GT World Challenge Asia Esports Championship campaign.
Qualifying sessions take place in the early evening before both races are broadcast live around the world that night. SRO’s GT World Youtube channel and GT World Challenge Asia’s Facebook page will show English-language coverage while Mandarin commentary is available on China’s most popular online streaming platforms.
Real-world teams and drivers will be contacted by championship organisers while sim racers of all abilities can submit their initial interest at www.sro-esport.com/asia.
Elsewhere, SRO stages its E-Sport GT Series Grand Finale – the culmination of Europe’s sim racing season – this Sunday at 21:00 CET. Watch live coverage of Suzuka’s two-hour race – featuring 2020’s very best Pro, Silver and Am drivers – on www.youtube.com/gtworld from 20:45 CET
2020 GT WORLD CHALLENGE ASIA ESPORTS CHAMPIONSHIP CALENDAR
August 29 – Suzuka, JPN (non-championship Charity Cup)
September 15 – Monza, ITA
October 06 – Laguna Seca, USA
October 27 – Silverstone, UK
November 10 – Spa-Francorchamps, BEL
November 24 – Suzuka, JPN
Main image: Xynamic Automotive Photography Video production: Dizzy Media
Click below to watch the GT World Challenge Asia Esports Championship trailer.