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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 6:21 am 
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Source: Screenshot from F1.com
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I realized there wasn't any place to discuss this currently, and what with the F1 eSports Pro Series being an official championship, I was given dispensation from the mods to start an official thread in the main forum.

I realize that the existence of eSports - and in particular the use of a game deemed by many to be 'non-simulation' for the F1 Pro Series - is somewhat controversial. Some people don't view eSports as real sports, or don't like that F1 is devoting more attention to it. That's fine, but this isn't the place to vent those feelings: you don't go into the Lewis Hamilton thread to criticize Hamilton (or if you do, you shouldn't), and you don't go into the eSports thread to say you think they're all just a bunch of gamer nerds who can't get a real job. That's not the point.

So, with that out of the way - the background so far:

The new 2018 season has several key differences to the inaugural championship, mostly designed to move the series closer to the professional ideal it strives for and raise the level of competition. There is a new and much higher prize fund - $200,000 - and, most prominently of all, nine of the ten F1 teams are actively participating this year.

Each of the nine teams will have three drivers representing them in the series: whether this means we will actually see 27 cars on track in-game (something that I do not believe is possible in the Codemasters games normally) remains to be seen, or perhaps one of the drivers for each time will be slotted into a reserve role. The process of selecting these drivers is a little convoluted, but it begins with the Pro Draft.

The Pro Draft for 2018 was held in early July, with each team being required to select at least one driver in order of a random drawing. Some teams selected all three of their drivers from the draft, while others took only the required one with the intention of signing their other drivers from outside the draft at their own discretion. Qualification for the draft was based on a series of competitions available online to anyone with a copy of the F1 2017 game and an internet connection; over 60,000 players competed for the thirty spots that were available in the draft.

THE 2018 TEAMS AND THEIR KNOWN ROSTERS

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Williams won the draft lottery and selected first. Their pick was relative unknown Tino Naukkarinen, who races in the Apex Online Racing PC league for F1 2017, currently sitting fourth in the championship with five podiums. Naukkarinen impressed during the driver evaluations, likely helping him to steal the number one pick from the bigger names in the draft.

As of now, Williams has not announced their other driver selections.

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Hype Energy eForce India won the second pick, and used it to select last year's championship runner-up Fabrizio Donoso Delgado, who took the inaugural 2017 eSports championship down to the wire against Brendon Leigh. Delgado also races in the AOR PC league for F1 2017, currently sitting 6th in the championship with one win and one other podium.

Force India has not made public their other driver selections.

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The Haas F1 Esports Team used their #3 pick to select Martin Stefanko, a rookie to the F1 eSports championship but an experienced sim racer in his own right. Stefanko does not race in AOR, unlike many of his fellow draftees, but is the 2017 Virtual GP Champion.

In the second round of the Pro Draft, Haas selected Michal Smidl. A fellow Czech and Virtual GP champion along with Stefanko, Smidl is also a one-time finalist of the GT Academy.

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The reigning champions in physical F1, Mercedes picked fourth in the draft, selecting Daniel Bereznay. Another returning driver from the 2017 season, Bereznay races in the PC section of Apex Online Racing, where he is currently second in the championship to Brendon Leigh, having taken 2 wins off the eSports champion among 8 podiums in total.

Mercedes took only one pick at the Pro Draft, leaving the fans in suspense as to their further signings.

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Renault partnered with the highly successful eSports effort Team Vitality for their F1 eSports venture, and they were one of the teams to select all three of their drivers from the draft. In the first round, they selected Sven Zurner, a returning finalist from the 2017 season. Zurner finished third last season, so expectations will be high that he can be quite competitive at the top again.

In the second round, Renualt selected Kimmy Larsson. Larsson races in the XBOX F1 league of Apex Online Racing, although he has not had a competitive season and currently sits only 15th in the standings. He is a rookie to the F1 eSports series.

In the third round for their final pick, Renault selected YouTuber and fan-favorite AOR racer James Doherty, better known as TRL_Limitless. Doherty is a veteran of AOR, racing in the XBOX league; he has recently switched from using the game controller to the racing wheel, and there will be some questions on how fully he has translated his pace to the new device.

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Sauber was the second team to make all three of its driver selections through the Pro Draft, selecting three drivers all from the Apex Online Racing XBOX series. For their first pick they selected Salih Saltunc, reigning three-time consecutive champion of the league. In addition to his unprecedented success in AOR, Salih was a finalist of last year's F1 eSports series, although technical issues and misfortune crippled his campaign from the start. He is considered by many to be the fastest XBOX driver of all, and will be expecting and hoping to show his true form this time.

In the second round, Renault selected Allert van der Wal. Van der Wal is a relatively inexperienced digital racer, having done only a single season at the top level of league racing prior to this year. He finished second to Salih in the 14th season of AOR XBOX F1, emerging as his closest challenger.

For their final pick, Renault selected Sonuc Saltunc, Salih's brother and a fellow competitor in the top level of AOR's XBOX F1 championship. Sonuc is not currently competing in AOR, but he was 6th in the championship last year. Along with his brother, he was also a 2017 F1 eSports finalist.

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Toro Rosso made two selection from the Pro Draft. For their first selection they took Cem Bolukbasi, considered by many analysts to be the best driver at the draft. A returning 2017 finalist, Cem was a race winner in the inaugural season. He competes in the iRacing World Championship Series, and is the lead driver of the G2 eSports racing team.

For their second round pick, Toro Rosso selected Patrick Holzmann. Another very highly rated driver, Holzmann was fourth in last year's F1 eSports season, and set the fastest time overall in the online qualifiers.

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The McLaren Shadow eSports team only made one selection from the draft, choosing the flamboyant Olli Pahkala as their driver. Pahkala was a semi-finalist in last year's F1 eSports competition.

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Red Bull had the mixed fortune of picking last in the first round of the draft, allowing them to take back-to-back picks by then selecting first in the second round. For their first pick they selected Joni Tormala. A 2017 finalist and member of the G2 eSports team, Tormala won every race in the Pro Draft assessments, and therefore has arguably the best competitive pedigree against his direct competition.

In the second round, Red Bull selected Graham Carroll. Carroll is a real-life racing driver in addition to being a dedicated sim racer - he is the 2008 British Formula Ford champion.

RACE SCHEDULE

Well, it hasn't been released yet, so far as I can tell... so no comment.

---

That's all for my starting post, since I'm starting to get tired! Feel free to discuss the drivers, speculate on who is yet to be signed outside the Pro Draft, complain about the way the Pro Draft was conducted - just about anything that relates to the series. Hopefully, once the series gets underway we can also discuss the actual races!

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USEFUL RESOURCES

https://f1esports.com/ -- F1 eSports site
https://f1esports.com/leaderboard/2018/drivers -- Driver bios
https://apexonlineracing.com/community/ ... ueResults/ -- Apex Online Racing standings

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PF1 TOP THREE TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (No Limit Excedrin Racing): 2017: 2nd| 2015: 1st
AUTOSPORT GP PREDICTOR: 2017 United States Champion! (world #2)


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 7:45 am 
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My main gripe with this is the use of the Codemasters F1 game. I get that it's probably a promotional and licensing thing, but I would expect an official series to offer a level of realism and simulation that is substantially higher than the game offers. There are a few high-profile sims that would probably be a better choice.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 7:47 pm 
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mds wrote:
My main gripe with this is the use of the Codemasters F1 game. I get that it's probably a promotional and licensing thing, but I would expect an official series to offer a level of realism and simulation that is substantially higher than the game offers. There are a few high-profile sims that would probably be a better choice.

I definitely get that gripe, and it's a very common one in the sim racing world. I do believe that because of Codemasters have the license of 'The Official F1 Game' it would be quite difficult for FOM to use any other game for an official eSports series, but one could easily argue that the Codemasters game should at the very least have its reliability ironed out before it is used for such a serious competition. Last year a few drivers (Salih Saltunc most prominently) had their season completely ruined by technical glitches, which should not happen at that level.

I for one would like to see the eSports series contested using the actual simulation software the teams use, perhaps a standardized one developed by a single team like the ECU is now. It would make it more relevant to the role of test driver (which is how the teams seem to be treating the picks), establish a level of credibility beyond doubt, and also give us fans a better look at what an F1 simulator really runs.

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PF1 TOP THREE TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (No Limit Excedrin Racing): 2017: 2nd| 2015: 1st
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 8:15 pm 
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Exediron wrote:
mds wrote:
My main gripe with this is the use of the Codemasters F1 game. I get that it's probably a promotional and licensing thing, but I would expect an official series to offer a level of realism and simulation that is substantially higher than the game offers. There are a few high-profile sims that would probably be a better choice.

I definitely get that gripe, and it's a very common one in the sim racing world. I do believe that because of Codemasters have the license of 'The Official F1 Game' it would be quite difficult for FOM to use any other game for an official eSports series, but one could easily argue that the Codemasters game should at the very least have its reliability ironed out before it is used for such a serious competition. Last year a few drivers (Salih Saltunc most prominently) had their season completely ruined by technical glitches, which should not happen at that level.

I for one would like to see the eSports series contested using the actual simulation software the teams use, perhaps a standardized one developed by a single team like the ECU is now. It would make it more relevant to the role of test driver (which is how the teams seem to be treating the picks), establish a level of credibility beyond doubt, and also give us fans a better look at what an F1 simulator really runs.


I guess the counter argument to running their own sim software to do the championship is that it takes away the connection to the fans in so much that anyone can go out, buy, and play the same game as these guys and see exactly how they stack up. I gave up trying to compete with the serious racers long ago when a proper wheel setup became mandatory but the idea of being able to pace myself against a 'ghost car' of these guys on the same game is fairly appealing. Running it on proprietary software puts a barrier between the competitor and the fan on that front, and I don't think that really fits in with e-sports big selling point over the real thing.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 8:27 pm 
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Flash2k11 wrote:
I guess the counter argument to running their own sim software to do the championship is that it takes away the connection to the fans in so much that anyone can go out, buy, and play the same game as these guys and see exactly how they stack up. I gave up trying to compete with the serious racers long ago when a proper wheel setup became mandatory but the idea of being able to pace myself against a 'ghost car' of these guys on the same game is fairly appealing. Running it on proprietary software puts a barrier between the competitor and the fan on that front, and I don't think that really fits in with e-sports big selling point over the real thing.

Fair point. Right now I do in fact use a Fanatec wheel and a Playseat cockpit (with some home-built additions), so I have a pretty direct link to what these guys will be using. Which lets me know that, yes, I am in fact a second and a bit off the pace on the same equipment! :lol:

But mds is also right that the Codemasters games are not real simulations. If they want it to be the official F1 game and use the eSports tie-in for marketing, it seems like a great opportunity to work closely with those real F1 teams and top drivers to make the game as realistic as possible. It could still have different modes and difficulties to make it accessible to the mass market, but with all the assists turned off and the AI cranked up to realistic levels it should take an eSports-ready driver to master it.

On a somewhat side note, I'd also like to see them correct the often large gap between the pace of the real cars and the cars in the game. If you're able to match the actual pole times from the real races you should be extracting pretty close to the maximum from the car, but in reality at most tracks the top drivers can go 1-2 seconds faster than the real pole times.

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PF1 TOP THREE TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (No Limit Excedrin Racing): 2017: 2nd| 2015: 1st
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2018 11:51 pm 
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Interesting video on esports


Source https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CbTXDrQ1ncs

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 1:00 am 
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I think I heard that the 2018 Codemasters game is supposed to be a bit more hardcore in terms of the physics and handling.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:50 pm 
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I wonder what’s going on with the whole gram turismo deal regarding the more elite drivers a chance to qualify and officially test for a super license. It’s pretty absurd actually and you only need Nicolas Hamilton as a prime example as to what I mean. He happens to be one of the top drivers in world for racing games, yet his transition into trying his hand at the real thing has proved far more difficult. In video games you don’t get undulations and you don’t feel G-forces and you can’t FEEL the tires reaching the limits of adhesion the way you do the real thing. All these players do I’d hit their marks almost perfectly every time and press buttons and pedals but it’s nothing like the real thing.

I was one of the top guys in the world of Gran Turismo many moons ago yet it was completely different to the real thing. Granted, when I played graphics were nowhere near what they are today, but still, it’s so different in comparison to the real thing to the point Kimi doesn’t do much sim driving unless it’s to learn a new track, but he’s said it not like the real thing so what’s the use.

I wonder if in the e-Leage if they are planning to do anything similar, especially since actual teams are fielding players. Perhaps a reward or bonus for doing well they get to drive one of their cars in a test scenario? I’d love to see that happen because I’m pretty sure their lap times will not be anything close to what they can achieve digitally.

I think in order for something like this to be fair, it has to be a stand alone unit where everyone has the same exact hardware running the game and steering wheels and pedal setups can be unique to each team.

I’ve been playing video games my entire life and it’s something near and dear to my heart but I’ve switched from driving games to call of duty because I grew tired of buying games that are only popular for a few weeks and then no one plays. That happened with the last Gran Turismo and I spent a bunch of money on it. Doubt I’ll ever do it again, but it’s always ever so tempting! :lol:

I’ll be keeping tabs on this for sure.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 5:12 pm 
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Will be keeping an eye on it. I'm actually subscribed to TRL limitless's youtube channel and have been following him for a few years. He is insanely quick, of course, and so are all those guys participating in the series. I consider myself decent at this game and can hold my own in most public online lobbies but I can't come within 3 secs of TRL's times most of the time, and yes I am using a wheel. That is how fast these guys are.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:05 pm 
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In a relevant bit of news, Salih Saltunc (known as theflyingfinn08 in the league) clinched his fourth consecutive AOR XBOX championship at the highest level this past weekend, by taking a second place from a driver who went undrafted in the Pro Draft.

Given that Cedric Thomé (NLR_Evo in game) has been Salih's closest - and one might say only - competition this year, it came as quite a surprise to me when he was passed over completely in the draft. JD (Limitless) has switched hardware, admittedly, but he still has been no challenge to Salih and got picked over Cedric.

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PF1 TOP THREE TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (No Limit Excedrin Racing): 2017: 2nd| 2015: 1st
AUTOSPORT GP PREDICTOR: 2017 United States Champion! (world #2)


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:12 pm 
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F1 MERCENARY wrote:
I wonder what’s going on with the whole gram turismo deal regarding the more elite drivers a chance to qualify and officially test for a super license. It’s pretty absurd actually and you only need Nicolas Hamilton as a prime example as to what I mean. He happens to be one of the top drivers in world for racing games, yet his transition into trying his hand at the real thing has proved far more difficult. In video games you don’t get undulations and you don’t feel G-forces and you can’t FEEL the tires reaching the limits of adhesion the way you do the real thing. All these players do I’d hit their marks almost perfectly every time and press buttons and pedals but it’s nothing like the real thing.

They did a version of the real-world crossover thing at the Race of Champions as well, with eSports champion Brendon Leigh driving a car in competition against real racing drivers. He didn't win, but I don't remember how he did other than that (I didn't watch it).

I personally think this whole concept of trying to make virtual racing a path to real racing is the wrong way to go about it, and reduces its standing as a valid sport in its own right - hence the eSports moniker as opposed to gaming. Nobody thinks you're going to go from playing Counter-Strike to fighting in the real army, or Starcraft to commanding battles, or anything like that, so why is virtual racing supposed to be little more than a gateway to 'real' racing?

The two are indeed very different, as you say, and top drivers in each field have no chance against each other when they cross over. When they held the Virtual GP competition in Vegas (where Formula E drivers competed against sim racers on standardized sim rigs) only Felix Rosenqvist was remotely competitive, and that's because he is a sim enthusiast on his own time. The skills you mention of feeling the car, the tyres, the track etc. don't translate, and real race drivers are helpless against people who have raced their whole lives without those physical cues and instead rely on a perfect understanding of the simulated physics.

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PF1 PICK 10 COMPETITION (4 wins, 14 podiums): 2017: 19th| 2016: 3rd| 2015: 4th
PF1 TOP THREE TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (No Limit Excedrin Racing): 2017: 2nd| 2015: 1st
AUTOSPORT GP PREDICTOR: 2017 United States Champion! (world #2)


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 4:15 am 
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Sourced from https://f1esports.com/news/mercedes-ann ... orts-team/
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MERCEDES ANNOUNCES FULL LINE-UP

Finally, we have some an announcement in terms of out-of-draft signings for the Pro Series, and it's a big one - both in terms of the team involved and the names being signed:

The big headline is that the Mercedes-AMG Petronas eSports team has signed reigning F1 eSports Champion Brendon Leigh to their team, but that's not where it ends. In addition to the 2017 winner, another pair of very strong names in the sim racing world have been added to the roster: Harrison Jacks and Patryk Krutyi, both finalists from last year's eSports competition and very successful sim racers in their respective spheres.

For me, personally, the big news is the return of Harry Jacks. Those of us who have been following Apex Online Racing for a while will know him as the 5-time champion who currently holds all the records (although Salih Saltunc is coming closer and closer to several of them) - we may also remember him as one part of the YouTubers Championship, if we followed that sort of thing. He also competed in McLaren's 'World's Fastest Gamer' competition, finishing as a finalist in that as well.

Last year he qualified for and raced in the F1 eSports series, but he was very out of practice at F1 games and wasn't (I feel) able to show his best. With the full backing of Mercedes and an intense program of practice, I am confident he'll be able to show what he's truly made of and will absolutely be a contender this year.

Unfortunately, that puts me in the position of saying that, at this point, I believe Mercedes has the strongest driver lineup by a fair margin, followed by maybe Sauber. With two of the drivers I believe are the very best at the Codemasters F1 game, the Silver Arrows will likely once more be the team to beat.

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PF1 TOP THREE TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (No Limit Excedrin Racing): 2017: 2nd| 2015: 1st
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 4:13 pm 
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I have recently got into sim racing, and as a track day regular and somebody who competes in hill climbs and sprints, it has helped me, particularly VR.

The level of (cheapish) equipment now is good enough that skills between Virtual and Real are transferable. Put Lewis Hamilton in my set up, and I think he would quickly be matching my best times, and then exceeding them. Sim set ups are good enough now that I don't think somebody who is good in real life, would be anything other than good on a sim (maybe not elite as gaming is different). I think handy sim drivers, would become at least decent in real life with practice, and by decent I mean competant club level racers, not world champions.

I also wear a fitbit, and Sims will never emulate the thrill. When using a sim, my heart rate is usually 80-100bpm - when on track 130-140bpm. On a sim having a moment in a corner, doesn't make you fairy cakes yourself and take about 10 laps to regain total confidence. Tbh, I think the mental aspect is one of the biggest differentiators between somebody being a good sim racer and being able to take that talent into the real world. Nobody has suffered a life changing physical injury, or worse, on a sim and well, merely having an off over a sausage kerb, its not £2k on a new suspension/broken alloy/etc.

I think sims have a future. Motorsport is ridiculously expensive - its possible that talent can be identified and developed at a young age through much, much cheaper sim kit. Obviously talent on a sim is only an indicator, as the two are different.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2018 3:02 am 
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Sorces: Enzo Bonito official twitter & Formula E website article (Bono Huis wins Vegas eRace)
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McLAREN ANNOUNCES FULL LINE-UP

McLaren Shadow eSports has become the second team to announce its out-of-draft signings, and following in the footsteps of Mercedes they have also revealed some names with impressive pedigree, albeit in their case outside the Codemasters games.

Enzo Bonito and Bono Huis are both veteran eRacers, both members of Team Redline, and coincidentally both competed in the Las Vegas eRace that Formula E put on a few years ago. Huis won, although only after the on-track winner was stripped of his victory for a technical infringement. Interestingly enough, that on-track winner was none other than Huis' new teammate at McLaren, Oli Pakhala.

Both drivers have been highly successful in their chosen virtual racing disciplines (Bono Huis is a five-time Formula Sim Racing champion), but intriguingly enough neither have very much experience at the official F1 games. With both coming from a background in what would traditionally be considered more 'serious' sim racing, how will they stack up against the likes of Brendon Leigh and Salih Saltunc who have made their own fame in the family of games that the competition is actually being run on?

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PF1 TOP THREE TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (No Limit Excedrin Racing): 2017: 2nd| 2015: 1st
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 10:35 pm 
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On right now, tv series named “worlds fastest gamer” on espn highlighting esports and the making of a simulator driver. Show takes place at the McLaren HQ and how they develope the drivers they chose for this years esports

More info on the show itself

https://www.mclaren.com/formula1/2017/worlds-fastest-gamer/espn-exclusively-premiere-season-1-worlds-fastest-gamer/

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Awards: Sergio perez trophy & Podium specialist
PF1 pick 3 2015: constructors 2nd, singles 5th
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 4:45 am 
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Source: F1 eSports official news page
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Williams has now confirmed their full lineup for the eSports championship, announcing Alvaro Carreton and and Alex Hanses to partner #1 pick Tino Naukkarinen in the upcoming championship.

Neither of these drivers are people I'm familiar with, unfortunately. But I know they've been competitive in other series, so hopefully the lineup will be competitive here!

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