The Porsche Coanda Esports Racing factory squad tackles the newly founded ESL R1 racing series. The innovative sim racing championship run by the Electronic Sports League is primarily aimed at works teams and large esports organisations. The series is based on the new simulation platform “Rennsport”, which offers particularly realistic virtual reality experiences. Porsche Coanda contests the debut season against such rivals as BMW M Team BS+Competition, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports, Williams Esports, Team Redline and Apex Racing. The plan is to run an ESL R1 in spring and autumn each year. The championship starts on 10-12 February with the opening round run as part of the Intel Extreme Masters in Katowice, Poland. The live doubleheader event is followed by six online races and the offline finale at the Spring Major in Munich from 26 to 28 May. The digitised racing vehicles must comply with the international GT3 regulations. The Porsche Coanda Esport Racing Team fields the new 911 GT3 R.
“The newly created ESL R1 Series offers our fledgling Porsche Coanda Esports Racing works team another interesting field of competition. This competition gives us the chance to pit ourselves against other manufacturers and leading sim racing teams at a highly professional level. This and the unconventional format have the potential to attract even more fans and spectators to digital racing,” explains Thomas Laudenbach, Vice President Porsche Motorsport. “Esports has long been hugely important to Porsche Motorsport. We use it to reach new target audiences and give them a better understanding of our brand’s values. We already established a virtual one-make cup with the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup back in 2019.”
With Porsche Coanda Esports Racing, this is the first time since 2022 that the sports car manufacturer sends an official works team to contest an esport championship. The current factory driver squad includes Mack Bakkum (Netherlands), Joshua Rogers, Dayne Warren (both Australia) and Mitchell deJong (USA). Joining forces with racing drivers from real motorsport, they secured second place at the virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans in mid-January and promptly clinched the virtual Le Mans Series title. With ESL R1, they now get the chance to take on another sim racing challenge.
ESL R1 title decision end of May at the live finale in Munich
Twelve teams will tackle the ESL R1: eight partner teams and four organisations with one wild card. Each team deploys four sim racers. From round three, individual races are generally contested on a Friday and Monday from late February to early May. This encompasses seven different 20-minute races each with twelve vehicles: four quarter-finals, two semi-finals and the finale. The associated qualifying sessions run over ten minutes with a hyperpole format before the finale. The 24 best-placed drivers after eight races will progress into the so-called Spring Major Finale held as part of the Rennsport Summit on 27 and 28 May in Munich. There, they fight for the ESL R1 championship crown and the team title. The prize money for the 2023 season totals 500,000 euros.
“Our goal with the Porsche Coanda Esports Racing team is to take part in the world’s largest esport racing events. The fact that ESL is working with the new Rennsport simulation platform is a fantastic development for the whole industry,” states Philip Stamm, team principal at Porsche Coanda Esports Racing. “At the Rennsport Summit last year, the potential of the platform was apparent. The fact that we’ve been involved in this racing series with the Porsche Esports factory team right from day one makes us very proud. We can now pit ourselves against the world’s best racers, the strongest teams from classic motor racing, sim racing teams and new players. I’m confident that we have prepared well over the past few months to underline our full potential in this championship, as well.”
ESL R1 2023 calendar (spring)
11. and 12. February – Intel Extreme Masters, Katowice (Poland), races 1 and 2
10. and 13. March – race 3
24 and 27. March – race 4
7. and 10. April – race 5
14. and 17. April – race 6
21. and 24. April – race 7
5. and 8. May – race 8
27. and 28. May – Spring Major Finale, Rennsport Summit Munich