Norwegian rally champion Petter Solberg will make his Formula 1 Esports debut in this weekend’s F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix at Interlagos, which was selected by fan vote. Solberg, 45, will race a virtual Renault on the F1 2019 version of the Brazilian circuit, joining a handful of F1 regulars including Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc — the winner of the last two races — Antonio Giovinazzi, Alex Albon, George Russell and Nicholas Latifi. Other guest racers include AC Milan captain Alessio Romagnoli and England cricketers Stuart Broad and Ben Stokes.
Since it was launched in March the Virtual GP series has accumulated over 12.9 million views across F1’s digital platforms. When combined with television estimates, more than 16m people are reckoned to have tuned in for the three races that have taken place so far.
Julian Tan, F1’s Head of Digital Business Initiatives and Esports said: “We are delighted that so many fans are watching and engaging with the F1 Esports Virtual Grands Prix. The viewership continues to go from strength to strength, outlining the growing success of the races and the wider potential of Formula 1 in Esports.
“Furthermore, we are thrilled to welcome more personalities from outside the world of F1, to complement our strong F1 and motorsport driver grid, and use this opportunity to cross pollinate with other sports as we all stand together to give fans something to cheer about during these uncertain times.”
The Brazilian race is set for Sunday, May 3 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern, and will air live on ESPN as well as stream on the official Formula 1 YouTube, Twitch, Weibo and Facebook channels. The Virtual GP is expected to run for 90 minutes, with a qualifying period followed by a 28-lap race.