Driving sim enthusiasts can buckle down for a new free racing series to participate in, starting in September
Not long after the launch of Toyota’s Gazoo Racing GT Cup competition here, Porsche has announced the start of its own Asia Pacific Championship, based completely within the Sony PlayStation 4’s Gran Turismo Sport racing simulator game, heralded as one of the most accessible and yet realistic ways of getting into racing and driving simulations.
The eSports challenge pits driving gamers from across Asia in a series of races where the ultimate prize is an all-expenses paid weekend in Tokyo, which will include a Porsche Experience Centre Tokyo visit and what the brand claims will be many more ‘Porsche moments’.
The series will be held across five qualifying rounds where racers will log in remotely online from their own PlayStation 4 machines. The top two racers from each of the 11 countries involved: Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Brunei and the Philippines, will then move on to the next stage of competition.
There’s an extra level of challenge for Singaporean gamers. Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan are classed as their own individual regions and can have two winning qualifiers per country. Meanwhile, Singapore has to fight it out with competitors from Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, New Zealand and Indonesia for the two spots available to all these countries, grouped into the Asia Pacific region.
The online qualifying event will take place across five real-world tracks in virtual space: Japan’s Fuji Speedway, France’s Circuit de la Sarthe, Australia’s Mount Panorama, and England’s Goodwood Circuit.
Qualifying events will feature a wide range of Porsches with each model paired to a specific racetrack, and Porsches states that because the cars have widely differing handling characteristics, “those taking part will need a wide range of skills to progress through each step of the challenge.”
The first qualifying event is slated to be held on 5th September 2021, and you’ll need to log into the Gran Turismo Sport game on PlayStation 4, select [Sport Mode] and choose the Porsche Gran Turismo Cup Asia Pacific 2021 event to get underway. More information is available at the official website here.
The whole eSports and simulation motor racing scene is quickly becoming a hotly contested field where manufacturers are getting involved to show that they are on the leading edge of new technologies and winning a younger generation over to the brands.
Yet does ‘playing games’ translate to real-life driving skills? The Gran Turismo Academy was started in 2008, with winning simulator drivers moving up to real race driver training with the chance to actually become a career racing driver. The series has actually produced many successful racing drivers, including its first winner, Spanish driver Lucas Ordonez, who went on to race in the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours.