Australia reacts to ‘crazy’ virtual racing
Rejoice Australia, for professional sport has finally returned! Sort of.
In the absence of motorsport, the inaugural Supercars All Stars Eseries kicked off on Wednesday evening, and Australia's curious viewers loved it.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, non-virtual motorsport is unlikely to return for several months. However, several professional Supercars drivers took part in the computer-generated event from the comfort of their loungerooms, and it undoubtedly provided a few memorable moments.
There were two pile-ups during the opening lap, much the amusement of those watching from home. Rick Kelly went flying on the front straight after clashing with David Reynolds, while Mark Winterbottom also had an accident in the opening seconds of the first race.
Two-time Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin won two of Wednesday's three races, but not without a touch of controversy. With less than a litre of fuel remaining in McLaughlin's tank, the final race was called off a lap early, gifting the 26-year-old a lucky victory.
Australian Jack Le Brocq won the other race on the Philip Island 16-lap reverse circuit.
"It was pretty tight there, because we just didn't know how many laps until the end," McLaughlin said after the event.
"We had to take the pit stop, and we were able to get away with it.
"I had so much fun today, and I think that's the main thing. I hope everyone at home enjoyed it, because I think it's going to be cool."
Despite the bizarre conditions, McLaughlin celebrated in style, spraying champagne from the balcony of his home.
McLaughlin spoke to The Herald Sun about the advantages of promoting motorsports while other sports are in lockdown.
"We've got an opportunity now while footy is out and all the other sporting codes are out, soccer and rugby league," McLaughlin said.
"We have got an opportunity where we can still broadcast our sport, and that's why I think the eRacing has got so big, so quickly.
"It's because we can actually do something and show the world and show a product and that's something we're taking pretty seriously.
"I'm very proud of motorsport, not only Supercars, but everyone else that has got behind it, to put on a good show and send our sport to the world."
The racing visuals were genuinely stunning, while the commentary and broadcast analysis also kept viewers entertained. AAP sports reporter Ed Jackson summed it up perfectly on Twitter: "It's not really sport, but it'll do."
For those eager to catch a glimpse, there are still nine rounds remaining in the season.
Esports is awesome. We are so lucky to have a virtual version of our sport that represents the IRL version of our sport so authentically. A great and fun way to keep racing and entertaining our fans during these tough times. @supercars @FollowWAU— Ryan (@RyanWalkinshaw) April 8, 2020
Originally published as Australia reacts to 'crazy' virtual racing
Big props to @supercars for nailing the E-Series concept. Pulled out all stops to make this as close to the real thing as possible and done a pretty good job.— Matthew Taylor (@MattyA_Taylor) April 8, 2020
Props to @FOXSportsAUS & @supercars for this e-series. This is pretty cool. Maybe I’m starved for live sport but the whole coverage has been slick. Also, if I came into a large sum of money, I would have a sim rig in the games room.— Ben Cameron (@BenCameron23) April 8, 2020