Digital Motor Sport making its mark among the range of ASN activities | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

Digital Motor Sport making its mark among the range of ASN activities

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After enjoying a surge in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic and the worldwide lockdown, Digital Motor Sport is going from strength to strength throughout the world thanks to the steps taken by the National Motor Sport Federations, who are determined to ensure lasting interest in the discipline.

The FIA’s #RaceAtHome programme, mainly intended to support the national federations in launching their own Digital Motor Sport series, has had the desired effect. A host of national initiatives have emerged and have continued to develop after lockdown ended, suggesting that Digital Motor Sport is establishing itself as a discipline in its own right in the various countries in question. Interest and enthusiasm in the sport show no signs of letting up! In Trinidad & Tobago, no fewer than sixty applicants registered in just three days for the inaugural 2020 TTASA eSports: GT SPORT DIGITAL CUP. Meanwhile, the virtual NACAM Rally Championship – initiated by the Mexican national federation but covering a much larger area – has attracted more than five hundred participants from twelve countries in the region.

It has to be said that the national motor sport federations, keen to avoid spoiling a sport that is popular with young people and with clear potential for mass participation given the very limited initial outlay required to take part, have set ridiculously low entry fees, when they have set any at all. This was true in Trinidad & Tobago and for the virtual NACAM Rally Championship, but was also the case in the Czech Republic for the national “Czech Simracing Series” championship organised on Assetto Corsa and in Georgia, for the Digital Motor Sport series launched in late summer 2020, using the Assetto Corsa platform.

One of the reasons for the success of the discipline stems from the efforts made to ensure promotion of the events, with the each of the four initiatives mentioned above setting up live-streaming on YouTube and social media. It has equally involved holding real prize-giving ceremonies such as the one planned at the Georgian ASN’s headquarters at the end of their championship. However, the efforts of the National Motor Sport Federations have not stopped there. Some ASNs are gradually establishing development ladders to promote the best racers towards the upper echelons of the discipline. In the Czech Republic, for example, the “Czech Simracing Series” champion will compete on behalf of his/her country at the 2021 FIA Motorsport Games whilst in Trinidad & Tobago, the winner represented the country in the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Sprint Trophy Latin America championship. The virtual NACAM Rally Championship is equally encouraging competitors to keep up their interest in Digital Motor Sport, with a Gaming monitor and a Logitech G920/G29 H-pattern shifter up for grabs.

In some cases, Digital Motor Sport even provides a springboard to real-life motor sport. This is true in the Czech Republic, where the champion – in addition to taking part in the 2021 FIA Motorsport Games – will win a start in a Renault Twingo Cup car at one race in the 2021 VET ESET Cup, whilst the top Mexican in the virtual NACAM Rally Championship will win the chance to take part in a rally in 2021. All of which suggests that Digital Motor Sport is very much establishing a niche for itself among the disciplines provided by the ASNs.

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