All four drivers from Honda Racing’s 2020 WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup line-up are ready to do their bit to entertain the fans as they prepare for the opening race of the pre-season Esports WTCR series.
Esteban Guerrieri, Nestor Girolami, Tiago Monteiro and Attila Tassi have all taken up the invite to compete in the four-round miniseries, which will also feature professional sim racing drivers and has been created to help fill the gap before the start of the delayed 2020 season.
The four will all be competing in virtual versions of their cars and liveries from the 2019 WTCR season.
While the quartet amassed eight WTCR victories collectively in their Honda Civic Type R TCRs in 2019, all four drivers are aware they may not be challenging the sim racing elite taking part in the series – but are nevertheless ready to get into the gaming spirit against some of their real-life WTCR competitors.
The gaming initiative, which has been set up by Eurosport Events and its Esports partner RaceRoom, has been welcomed by Honda as a way of rewarding and engaging with WTCR fans during an unprecedented wait for on-track action, as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The opening race will take place at 7.30pm CEST on Monday evening (6th April) at a virtual version of the Hungaroring, which was due to host the real-life WTCR season opener next month prior to the event’s cancellation. Races will be shown on WTCR’s Facebook and YouTube channels.
Nestor regularly uses his home simulator to prepare for WTCR events and, though he is currently in his native Argentina, took delivery of a sim last month, and has been practising since.
His 2019 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport teammate and compatriot Esteban, last year’s WTCR runner-up, is determined to learn the “tricks” of the RaceRoom platform to maximise his performance.
Participation in the series marks a leap in at the deep end for Tiago, as the Portuguese driver only contested an Esports race for the first time last month.
While 20-year-old Attila is a regular sim racer, like Tiago he will face something of an unknown as he gets to grips for the first time properly with the RaceRoom platform used in the Esports WTCR series.
Esteban Guerrieri said: “When I compete, I don’t really care who it’s against, I just care about doing my best. As long as I can do a good job for myself, in the standards which I think are good, then I will be happy and try to devote as much focus on that as possible. I always believe that the seriousness and the focus that you put on practice is also transferable to what you really compete for – for points, for a championship – so I think a simulator is a really good way to put this into practice. It needs plenty and plenty of hours to get the skills out of the motor; it’s similar, but it’s never the same – there are tricks which probably doesn’t transfer completely to real life that I have to try to learn.”
Nestor Girolami said: “I think it’s a very good initiative from RaceRoom and from WTCR to create this, especially for the fans. They deserve to have us racing – for them, and for the sponsors, and for Honda. I think it’s a very good way to start the season, even if we couldn’t start in real life – it means there is something to watch. This creates some fun for them, so I’m happy to give something back to the fans. For me, it’s a very good practice before I start the season, even if we don’t yet know when we will start. There are still at least two, three months ahead in which we can keep practising and not go too long without driving. Having the opportunity to practice like this is the perfect way to keep training and to keep sharp.”
Tiago Monteiro said: “This is a great a way of entertaining the fans at the moment, that’s why I wanted to play that game. For the fans, for the public, even for the sponsors, it’s going to be important to have this. I want to be fair and entertain everybody and I believe that’s part of my job. I have never raced on RaceRoom, and I’ve been told that it’s completely different to other platforms. I’m not expecting any crazy things, but I’m going to give it a go to be part of it and to enjoy the community! The idea is not to be there and win whatever it takes, it’s just to participate. I might be last or whatever, but it doesn’t matter – it’s just to be there and show your commitment.”
Attila Tassi said: “Although the RaceRoom system and physics are very different to what I’m used to in sim racing, putting that aside I think this a great idea to keep us racing, and it’s nice both to be able to give something back to the fans and keep them entertained during this strange time, and be part of a full team of Honda drivers. It’s also nice that this series starts at my home circuit, the Hungaroring – even if we can’t be there for the real event this year – and to be driving my 2019 Honda. I don’t know exactly what to expect, but the main thing will not be the result but to enjoy these races and have fun while driving.”