With the ever-growing popularity of racing in the realm of eSports in the Southeast Asian region, Alex Yoong's Axle Motorsport launched the ERacing GP SEA with the ultimate goal of finding the next virtual to real professional racer. At their launch early last year, the group was confident to bring their platform to the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, and Thailand.
ERacing GP SEA succeeded in running their event in Malaysia in 2019 having fielded the winner Mior Hafiz to the FIA Motorsport Games for the Digital Cup in November of the same year.
With the COVID-19 global pandemic changing the landscape of global motorsports, even eSports events have been affected as well. With governments strictly enforcing social distancing and banning large public gatherings, ERacing GP SEA has turned to a "race at home" format in the meantime for 2020.
Their first Race Room Asia-powered Global Edition event on March 21 pitted top virtual drivers like Filipino Luis Moreno, Malaysian Mior Hafiz, and Indonesian Andika Rama against real professional drivers like Edoardo "Mr. Macau" Mortara, Nelson Piquet Jr., Arjun Maini, and Yann Ehrlacher to compete at the Shanghai Circuit. Events are streamed live on the ERacing GP SEA Facebook page, Twitch, and YouTube channel.
With overwhelming support from regional players, organizers have since expanded to add territory events to its calendar including the Philippines, which held its first virtual race last April 24.
"With the coronavirus forcing everyone to work from home or simply stay home, we've got a lot of time on our hands. We thought it was a good idea to make ourselves really busy. We announced the leaderboard a few days head and a whole bunch of people signed up. We also wanted to expose as many people to different types of racing and maybe bring up the level of professionalism, as well," said Alex Yoong, ERacing GP SEA Executive Director.
Each event allows up to 24 drivers per class Pro/Amateur. An Amateur class was added to encourage new players to join and develop their skills to compete with more experienced drivers in the future.
In the first event, 15 Amateur and 16 Pro virtual racers took part, as the global edition, was streamed live on the ERacing GP SEA Facebook page, Twitch, and YouTube channel. All competitors drove the Aquila CR1 Sports GT prototype cars on the Sepang Circuit.
Entry for the Philippines Edition is completely free to join and utilizes free cars and tracks on Race Room and will consist of 4 rounds with 2 races each:
Round 1 - Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia
Round 2 - RaceRoom Raceway
Round 3 - Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, Portimao, Portugal
Round 4 - Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia
Race Room is giving virtual race points (vRP) for race winners in each of the classes. A Razer Phone 2 awaits the champion of the Pro Class at the end of the series.
The next round for the Philippines Series will be held on May 1, 14:00 to 16:00 Manila Time.
If you've been practicing, you can sign up to join them by qualifying in the Race Room Leaderboard for a spot. Otherwise, you can watch the likes of Luis Moreno, Inigo Anton, Alexis Clapano, Daryl Brady, and Oliver Aquino battle it out on the virtual race track.