SRO Motorsports Group and Fanatec have outlined the format for their new esports series that will enable teams to score real-world championship points in virtual races.
The Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Esports Cup will stage sim races at each of this season’s five GTWC Europe Endurance Cup rounds.
SRO announced the initiative in January and later released some preliminary details including the points and prize money structures.
The GT World Challenge organizer has now revealed further elements of its new competition including the event format and clarifications on eligible entries.
Races will be 60 minutes in length – the same duration as a real-world Sprint Cup contest – and will be preceded by two hours of testing, a 30-minute optional warmup and a 20-minute qualifying session.
Testing is set to take place on the Friday of each Endurance Cup race weekend while the rest of the action will occur on the Saturday.
An exception will be the Total 24 Hours of Spa, where Esports Cup testing will be held on the Thursday ahead of a Friday warm-up, qualifying and race package.
As previously confirmed by SRO, each race will have a grid of 24 real-world racing driver competitors while all teams in the Pro and Silver Cup categories must nominate an Esports Cup representative.
Teams are limited to one Esports Cup entry for each Endurance Cup class that they are involved in, meaning that those with multiple entries in a single class can only have one esports entry but those running cars in both Pro and Silver Cup can have two.
Priority will be given to teams entered into the full GTWC Europe in the event of an oversubscribed Esports Cup grid. Qualifying will determine the remaining starters.
Race-by-race entries for teams in the Pro-Am and Am Cup classes of Endurance Cup will be permitted if fewer than 24 cars are present for an esports race.
These interloper entries will be eligible for Esports Cup prize money, but cannot claim the real-world championship points on offer.
The top-three overall and Silver class finishers in each Esports Cup race will receive three, two and one-point scores toward their team’s real-world GTWC Europe class tallies.
A maximum of 15 points can be won across the five Esports Cup races, while the total prize pot stands at €125,000 ($150,000).
Races will be held on Assetto Corsa Competizione and the championship will be co-managed by new GT World Challenge title sponsor Fanatec, AK Informatica and SRO.
“The merging of real and virtual competition is just around the corner,” said Fanatec’s Head of Esports, Robert Rossi.
“With all the details in place, the significance of this moment is really starting to sink in.
“Real points are at stake, and esports is being taken more seriously by the drivers and teams than ever before. The Fanatec Points Boost adds a new dimension to race weekends and we can’t wait to get started.”
The first round of the Fanatec GTWC Europe Esports Cup will take place in a central ‘Fanatec Arena’ on Saturday, April 17, on the eve of the 3 Hours of Monza Endurance Cup season-opener.