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What to expect from Veloce and Motorsport Games' new Esports series

After two rounds of entertaining racing in Veloce Esports' #NotTheGP series, its new Pro Series in association with Motorsport Games will raise the level of simulation for its drivers

The #NotTheGP takes place on the officially-licensed F1 2019 game, while its new series - in partnership with Motorsport Games - will use simulation-focused platform iRacing and will take place on weekends in between #NotTheGP rounds.

F1 drivers Lando Norris and Nicholas Latifi lead the line-up and represent a contrast in experience of the real racers participating in the event.

Norris is an experienced sim racer and regularly participates in events on sim titles iRacing and rFactor 2, whereas Latifi only discovered sim racing when his F1 debut was delayed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Latifi made a successful Esports debut with fifth place in Veloce's #NotTheBahGP, but that was on F1 2019 - a far more accessible game than iRacing.

iRacing is a steep learning curve even for professional racing drivers so expect a more significant pace differential between those drivers new to the scene compared to the sim racing veterans.

Formula E championship leader Antonio Felix da Costa was the final name in the race to be revealed.

He's been racing in Team Redline's Real Racers Never Quit series on iRacing.

The Portuguese has been somewhat accident-prone, though not always of his own making, so Veloce's Pro Series will provide him with a clean slate.

Mercedes FE team-mates Nyck de Vries and Stoffel Vandoorne are another example of varying sim-racing experience levels.

Ex-McLaren F1 driver Vandoorne is a veteran of the virtual world and should be among the favourites for the win.

Reigning Formula 2 champion de Vries, on the other hand, is something of a novice in this world.

He will be joined by Haas F1 reserve drivers Pietro Fittipaldi and Louis Deletraz as well as Mercedes sim driver Esteban Gutierrez.

Other professional drivers taking part include reigning Super Formula champion Nick Cassidy, another handy sim racer, and Toyota World Endurance Championship driver Jose Maria Lopez.

Juan Manuel Correa is continuing his racing comeback following his horrific crash at the 2019 F2 round at Spa last year.

He will be joined by fellow F2 racers Luca Ghiotto, Arjun Maini, Ryan Tveter, Giuliano Alesi and Sean Gelael, as well as FIA F3 newcomer David Schumacher.

The sim racers will be led by Cem Bolukbasi, winner of the reverse-grid #NotTheBahGP race, and World's Fastest Gamer season two winner James Baldwin.

The duo should provide the benchmark for the real racers, but they will face genuine competition from the likes of Norris and Vandoorne.

There's also plenty of junior drivers that, with the postponement of their categories' seasons, will have to use races like these as their opportunity to impress potential future employees.

Popular content creators Jimmy Broadbent, Ben 'Tiametmarduk' Daly and Steve 'SuperGT' Brown may provide the entertainment but they're as serious racers as anybody else on the grid.

A mix of sim racers and both experienced and novice real-life racing drivers should provide a mouth-watering contest.

The first race of the Veloce Pro series will start at 6pm GMT and will be live on Autosport.com.

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