Will Power, the 2014 IndyCar champion and 2018 Indianapolis 500 winner, is among the extra entrants joining the field for The Race’s All-Star Esports Battle later on Sunday.
Power joins a packed entry of big names from the worlds of both real-life and virtual racing, including Red Bull Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen and fellow Indy 500 winners Simon Pagenaud and Juan Pablo Montoya.
The Race’s All-Star Esports Battle has been created by parent company Torque Esports in partnership with leading race simulation software rFactor 2 to provide fans with some racing action as the coronavirus cancellations hit the real-world motorsport calendar.
The huge interest in the event – which can be watched live on The Race’s YouTube channel at 1pm UK time – has led to the format being expanded, with three heats rather than two now scheduled.
That means there will be no last chance race, with the top eight from each heat going into a 24-car final.
The races will use rFactor’s Formula ISI 2012 single-seater.
Heat one will be fought out by the real-world racers.
Inaugural Formula E champion Nelson Piquet Jr, current FE championship leader Antonio Felix da Costa and rivals Maximilian Gunther and Neel Jani, and IndyCar’s new stars Colton Herta and Felix Rosenqvist are among Verstappen, Power, Montoya and Pagenaud’s opposition in this group, along with Pau Grand Prix winner Billy Monger.
Sportscar racers Dani Juncadella and Dries Vanthoor, and British Touring Car Championship race-winner turned presenter Paul O’Neill have also been added to the field for that heat.
The second group is headlined by top Esports stars including World’s Fastest Gamer winners James Baldwin and Rudy van Buren, and double F1 Esports champion Brendon Leigh.
Group two also features Formula E Vegas eRace Winner, five times Formula Sim Racing Champion Bono Huis as well as racing game YouTuber with over 400,000 subscribers, Jimmy Broadbent.
An open qualifying event was held on Saturday to allow gamers around the world the chance to take on the star names, and the 20 racers who topped that session will comprise the heat three field.
Among the drivers who qualified in group three is Erhan Jajovski who was a finalist in the World’s Fastest Gamer Competition. Fellow Triple A Esports driver Risto Kappet finished narrowly missed out on qualifying as he finished that same race in second.
Kevin Siggy won McLaren’s Shadow Project in 2019 and is a well-accomplished sim racer, not even exclusively on rFactor 2. Siggy’s biggest monetary win from an Esports competition was on rFactor 2 when he earned €3,200 from winning the fourth season of the A1 eSports League Austria.
Among these names are drivers who have raced in BMW’s M2 CS Racing Cup run on rFactor 2. Jernej Simoncic finished third in the first recent race in that series.
Jernej Simoncic finished third in the first recent race in that series.
In the second race, a tense battle for third involved three drivers including Nikodem Wisniewski and Peyo Peev. A crash between them at the Nurburgring saw Williams Esports driver Wisniewski take third whilst Peev hit the barrier and crossed the line in fifth.
The competitors will be fighting it out for a $10,000 prize fund package.