A field of racing drivers including six Formula 1 stars have raised over $33,000 for COVID-19 relief efforts in the first round of a new Esports series.
The six-round 'Race for the World' series solely organised by drivers. aimed to entertain fans during the mass postponement of motorsport as well as attempting to raise $100,000 for the World Health Organisation's COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
The series is spread over three nights this week, with one-shot qualifying and 25% distance races at a randomised track. The rules and driving standards are relaxed.
- More from the world of Esports
- Check out Motorsport Games and all of its exciting Esports products
- McLaughlin and Le Broq share wins in Supercars Eseries opener
- Rossi and Marquez to reignite rivalry in second MotoGP Esports
- Wallace loses sponsor after quitting NASCAR race
- Motorsport UK launches new Karting Esports series with Motorsport Games
- Ferrari F1 star Leclerc dominates Virtual GP on Esports debut
Many of the drivers, including Virtual Grand Prix winner Charles Leclerc, streamed their perspective on Twitch with an open communication link between all 20 drivers.
Abu Dhabi played host to the opener, but it quickly descended into chaos and required a restart when the lobby settings accidentally had the cars ghosting permanently.
Alexander Albon beat Renault junior Christian Lundgaard to pole position. The pair raced into an early lead while the rest of the field was involved in multiple incidents.
Formula 2 driver Lundgaard was able to jump Albon in the pitstops and would have won the race had the drivers - at the request of their fans watching the Twitch live-streams - not decided to make their own safety car.
Predictably, this resulted in a chaotic self-adjudicated restart halfway down the back straight. Lundgaard was fired off the road while Albon survived to take the race one win.
Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was able to take second place with Leclerc's younger brother Arthur completing the podium.
Albon's younger brother Luca took fourth place ahead of Charles and motorcycle racer Luca Salvadori. McLaren F1's Lando Norris, Haas F1 test driver Louis Deletraz, ex-F2 star Antonio Fuoco and Williams' Nicholas Latifi completed the top 10.
The driving standards for the second race at Silverstone were much improved.
Lundgaard took pole but it was Arthur who was able to take the lead into Turn 1 on the opening lap. A forceful defence of his position on the exit of Luffield allowed Charles to sneak past for Lundgaard for P2.
Lundgaard eventually recovered to take second behind Arthur. Luca took third place ahead of Norris and Leclerc, who accidentally put on the hard tyres at his pitstop instead of the medium tyres.
Latifi beat his team-mate, George Russell, to sixth place, with Deletraz, Courtois and Salvadori rounding out the top 10.
The drivers promised for a better organised and cleaner second round which will take place at 6pm BST on Tuesday 14 April.
For more on the exciting world of Esports, check out Motorsport Games.
Autosport has produced a standalone special magazine to celebrate our 70th birthday. All current print subscribers will receive a copy for free. To order your copy of the 196-page Autosport 70th Anniversary issue, please go to: autosport.com/autosport70th