Today we’re with Rob King from Digital-Motorsports.com to talk about the Digital Motorsports World Cup (DMWC), an exciting new addition to their roster of amateur and professional sim racing competitions. We’re going to look at how sim racing as a Motorsport is becoming more and more recognized as a serious sport, and a career for young drivers.
Finally, we’re going to share details of a competition to win a Custom Cube Controls Formula Pro sim steering wheel.
Sometime in the very near future, I would very much expect to be able to tune into my favorite Motorsports channel on Cable (or “satellite” you live in the UK) to watch my favorite teams and drivers competing.
But not in “real world” Motorsport; in the virtual world. I fully expect to see a sim racing “support” race find its way into mainstream Motorsport TV coverage in the near future.
Sim racing is an FIA recognised Motorsport and it’s highly competitive
I’ve argued the case previously that sim racing is just as competitive as a sport as real-world motor racing; and, in the upper echelons of the sport – the realms where Aliens exist, the sim racers are so good that getting within two seconds of their pace ought to be considered a win by us mere 2k iRated mortals.
Sim racing attracts and grows huge personalities and very skilled individuals. It’s not an unusual event to come across Max Verstappen in a Discord chat; nor is it unusual to occasionally race or share a practice session the likes of Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button, and Tony Kanaan. But the sim racers themselves are the real stars of the show; having refined their abilities in pure sim racing over the years. Teams like Team Redline, Apex and VRS Coanda Simsport have massive followings on Twitch.tv and their various social profiles.
Growing commercial interest
The commercial opportunities presented by the emergence of sim racing into the gaming mainstream have attracted names such as Romain Grosjean, Jean Alesi, Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren and Williams to establish eSports teams that provide dedicated eSports driver development programs. Fanatec and SRO host virtual support races in the paddock at major international race meetings.
So, as a sponsor and from a commercial standpoint, it makes sense to test the waters. If you’re a brand looking for exposure, sim racing sponsorship is a very hot topic. iRacing alone has a growing follower base of 570,000 followers on Twitch.tv, with an audience watching around the clock.
Competitive online gaming experienced a significant boost in 2020 (triggered of course by the pandemic) with global eSports revenues reaching in the region of $1.1 billion, a year-on-year growth of +15.7%, up from $950.6 million in 2019. Globally, the total eSports audience is around half a billion people and growing (source). By comparison, Formula 1 maintained an average audience per Grand Prix in 2020 at 87.4m (source).
Sim racing is a serious business indeed and it is very much here to stay. The audience is already far bigger than televised national and international Motorsport championships, so it’s just a matter of time before we truly see the scale of what we’ve built together.
So what does all this mean for an aspiring driver?
It’s very good news. All of this means that you don’t have to have huge funding and pre-existing sponsorship to potentially earn a living from racing. Let’s not make this sound easier, than say, getting an F1 seat, as competition is really fierce; but the barriers to entry for a sim racer are far lower. Sim racing allows the driver’s abilities to determine the results, not just cash. And the opportunities to create income exist through advertising and sponsorship on Youtube, Twitch, creating content – much like the website you’re reading today.
There are more and more series offering significant prize money to the top finishers, in the V10 R-League the prize pool is a six-figure sum for the series’ second season in 2021.
I want to get more involved, where can I start?
I’m lucky to be joined by Rob King from Digital Motorsports to answer just that – Digital Motorsports (DM) are an organisation with a huge passion for the sim racing community and creating high-quality racing events. They have been progressively hosting bigger and bigger events for a growing list of sim racers.
Firstly with the Irish Digital Motorsports Championship (IDMC). This year they co-hosted the inaugural European Digital Motorsport Cup with several national motorsport organizations including the Danish Automobile Sports Federation, Deutscher Motor Sport Bund e.V., the Polish Automobile and Motorcycle Federation, Motorsport Ireland, and The Swedish Automobile Sports Federation.
On the 28th of November, DM will be hosting The Digital Motorsports World Cup, presented by G2A.COM and in partnership with Corsair, ESE Entertainment, Cube Controls, Fanatec, Sim Lab & Qubic System. This is their biggest event yet with registrations currently open and free to enter.
Let’s start with the prizes! The prize fund is pretty game-changing stuff the World Cup Champion will be competing for €10,000 and the World Cup Trophy – are you nervous about how competitive it could be at the front of the grid?
Nervous? not at all! The stronger the competition the better, and we have some of the very best drivers in the world signed up. One of the great things about sim racing at the highest level is that you get drivers who can race door to door and provide an amazing spectacle that is just awe-inspiring to watch…exactly like you do in the real world…that I cant wait to see!
You’ve recently been acquired by ESE Sports Entertainment – can you talk a little about the opportunities this has opened up for Digital Motorsports to produce events like this? ESE’s production house, Frenzy are managing the production – can talk about what it has been like to work with them?
It’s been an incredible journey and the resources and talent pool that ESE have brought to the table is a dream come true. As one of the founders of Digital Motorsports I’ve helped to build the company from the ground up and time and resources are always your biggest enemy. As you mentioned, the level of production value that Frenzy and other partners within the ESE group bring just enables us to bring things to a level we’ve been striving towards for years but couldn’t achieve on our own so its super exciting, it’s like being a kid in a sweet shop!!
Where will the best place be to watch the event? Live broadcast via ESTV & Digital-Motorsports’ Twitch, Facebook and YouTube?
Right on the Digital Motorsports website here: https://digital-motorsports.com/pages/dmwc
Can you talk a little about the sponsors and their roles in the competition?
Yeah we have some awesome partners on board and we can’t thank them enough for being able to see and share the vision we have for the future of this industry. We have Sim Lab, Cube Controls, Fanatec, and Qubic System on board who have been partners for a long time and they all come from the sim racing space, they have all provided hardware for the live studio and fan prizes which will be given away throughout the live stream.
We have Corsair onboard, who needs no introduction and who we will be working together with closely in the future. And then we have some new partners on board in ESTV who are handling all of the broadcast side of things, they do an incredible job in the esports space. Then of course we have G2A.COM who are our title sponsors.
G2A are actually one of the biggest marketplaces in the world and are rubbing shoulders with the likes of eBay and Amazon. They cater to gamers and predominantly offer software but have expanded into electronics and hardware – we’re delighted to partner with them and are now the first company to bring professional sim racing equipment to a global audience through the G2A platform.
You’re also running a competition to win a really nice piece of kit: a Custom Cube Controls Formula Pro wheel. Can you tell us how to enter and how the winner will be picked?
Yes this is of course with thanks to Cube Controls who are one of our partners for the Digital Motorsports World Cup. Entering the competition is super simple, there’s a sign-up form on the World cup landing page, fill it in and job done. The winner will be picked out of a hat during the live stream…but there are more prizes as well, not just the wheel..we’ll be releasing more news on that in the coming days
The race will be hosted on the Silverstone GP circuit – What made you choose Silverstone?
Nothing in particular other than it’s a great track with a really nice flow…and our local circuit in iRacing!
Will this be a fixed setup race or can drivers benefit from their own setups?
Completely fixed setup, so it’s all down to driver talent!
Are you allowed to tell us who has entered so far? Are there any professional drivers on the entry list? Do you have any favourites for the top 10?
The list of entrants isn’t finalised yet but I can tell you we drivers from 18 different countries so far and nice have a mix of real-world and sim racers. There’s a few high-profile names you’ll all recognise!
You’ll be hosting the event on iRacing – can you talk to me about why iRacing is an ideal platform for the DMWC?
iRacing is the chosen platform because it’s the most accessible and realistic simulator for this year’s event. Digital Motorsports runs its IDMC championship on iRacing and the driver feedback has always been positive. Finally, the iRacing platform allows for a truly global event.
Will there be splits or will qualifying determine a fixed number of drivers on the grid?
Qualifying determines the top 30 who will compete in the event
What advice can you give to drivers entering for the first time? Equipment checks, software they’ll need?
Make sure to practice. Laps equal consistency and also be patient if you are not getting the times at the start. If you do make it through to the World Cup race then please take it easy into turn 1 🙂
If you’re a driver who wants to get involved but perhaps doesn’t feel he / she has the experience for the world championship, where would you advise they start?
Join the Digital Motorsports Discord Community, follow us on Facebook and start racing with us in our amateur series!
Thanks Rob; with inaugural events like the DMWC I think we’re entering a really exciting time for sim racing – if you’re new to teh sport but want to learn more take a look at our beginners guide to sim racing as a great starting point. And, if you have any questions about where to get started as a Pro sim racer, drop Rob a line at Digital-Motorsports.com