With four rounds of racing completed, the Formula Regional Americas iRacing Invitational Championship will amp up the stakes for the final three series events, starting today (April 21) at the virtual Canadian Tire Motorsports Park — the Esports series’ first international foray.
“Since the COVID-19 shutdown, the new FR Americas iRacing Invitational Championship has gotten a lot of attention among sponsors and drivers,” said Amy Greenway, SCCA pro racing communications director. “When we started, we wanted all the drivers to be on the same playing field, regardless of their iRacing license; so we turned off “damages”, maxed out the “quick-fix option”, disabled “incident points”, and hosted extended practices and qualifying sessions.
“For the first two rounds this strategy was ideal. But as the field started to grow and the skill gap became more apparent, we had to readjust our initial plan. First, we enabled damages, so if, for instance, a driver bends a front wing but not badly enough to warrant a pit stop, he or she can carry on.
“Next we reexamined incident points,” Greenway continued. “Each race, we decreased the amount of incident points that drivers could rack up before being disqualified from the game. This really helped with on-track decision making, forcing drivers to race as if it were real life.
“And the last major change that we made was the most difficult. For us, having a healthy grid size was extremely important, but we quickly realized that opening the rosters to all of our FR Americas competitors and development drivers along with guest drivers with all levels of sim skills, that we weren’t delivering the best finished product to the fans. This week, all the FR Americas regulars got entry priority, since the championship was developed for them to promote themselves and their sponsors. The guest drivers who remain had the best results throughout their races.
“We also left a few open spots on the roster to continue to invite top-level racers to compete with us.”
Officials also adjusted the schedule to fit within the streaming timeframe, with 10-minute practice and qualifying sessions and the feature race consolidated to 30m.
“So far our weekly changes have made for some exciting racing,” Greenway said. “It’s been a learning curve for all of us, but I can’t thank our competitors, sponsors, crew and fans for helping make this whole adventure possible.”
Live coverage by Apex Racing TV sponsored by Omologato Watches starts at 7:10pm EDT with a 10m qualifying session followed by a 30m race and featuring “podium” interviews with the top drivers.
Following the race, FR Americas iRacing Invitational Championship drivers will host a Q&A session with fans on the FR Americas Instagram page.
For all the Round 5 live action from virtual CTMP:
FR Americas YouTube
FR Americas Twitch