Racing events left and right may have been cancelled or postponed all over the world amid the Covid-19 crisis, but people are still finding a way to race. Not on actual, physical racetracks though, but in the virtual realm. SRO E-Sport organized a virtual contest to raise money for the Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund, attracting the biggest names in racing from around the world to their simulated race event. Dubbed as the SRO ESPORT GT SERIES CHARITY CHALLENGE, the computer-generated competition saw more than 90 drivers vie for a spot at the Monza track in Italy using Assetto Corsa Competizione, the new official Blancpain GT Series videogame. Among the bevy of competitors was Bentley Motorsport, which fielded in four Continental GT3s in the virtual charity race, which took place last Sunday, March 29. “The race will see 50 GT3 cars battle it out, comprising 40 real racers and 10 sim racers, with four Continental GT3s fighting for race honors,” the British carmaker said after announcing its participation.
“Bentley works driver Al Buncombe (GBR), K-PAX Racing’s Andy Soucek (ESP), CMR’s Arjun Maini (IND) and JRM’s Martin Plowman (GBR) will each race a Bentley in the one-hour sim race.” The drivers for Bentley represent four of the brand’s customer racing teams. Prior to the virtual race event, Bentley’s drivers worked closely with Bentley Motorsport’s technical team to develop the car and the team is feeling confident ahead of its debut esport event.
The race was livestreamed at youtube.com/GTWorld for everyone to see. The race began with a re-cap of the simulated racing qualifying sessions followed by two semi-finals, which whittled 90 of the world’s best sim racers down to 20 finalists. When the dust settled, Arthur Kammerer took his Mercedes-AMG GT3 to victory and narrowly edged out the Lamborghini Huracan of Mike Nobel in a dramatic deciding race. Other competitors who participated in the challenge include Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Ferrari, and Honda. “We applaud the team at SRO, for not only for their handling of the COVID-19 situation, but for quickly putting on a charity event with such an impressive entry list,” said Paul Williams, Bentley’s Director of Motorsport.