June 2020 was the first month since the sim-racing boom began, where many of the pros who had flocked to esports had their online endeavours interrupted by real-world racing resuming or at least preparing to.
Many of the stand-in series run by motorsport championships also came to a close in June, including Formula 1’s Virtual GPs, the Formula E Race At Home Challenge and the Supercars All Stars Eseries.
But there’s been no shortage of pro-drivers who raced virtually in June and plenty who continued to show off their speed in sims.
Both Blackcastle’s own, George Russell and Oliver Rowland, continued to impress, and made the-race.com’s top 10 for pro drivers swapping their real-life cars for the world of esports during lockdown, shrinking the gap between reality and gaming.
George was crowned the unofficial Formula 1 Virtual GP champion in June, capping off the series with wins in the final two races. The first was the Virtual Azerbaijan Grand Prix where he took pole position, led every lap and won by 6.8 seconds over runner-up Alex Albon. It was a similar story in the Virtual Canadian Grand Prix as he took pole position with a time 0.452s faster than Albon in second. At the end of the race he was six seconds ahead on the road but nine seconds worth of time penalties for Albon meant Russell’s winning margin was 15.3s. Russell didn’t even take any liberties with track limits as he received no time penalties, whereas everyone else in the top 14 did.
The Formula 1 season restarts on the first weekend of July in Austria, where Russell will hope to take his positive performances on the sim and convert them into quick lap times on track.
Lockdown has certainly been a success-laden time for Oliver as he won a championship as well as four races across two series. He won his debut race in the All-Star Series with the win made even more impressive by the fact that just minutes before it started he was competing in the Formula E Race At Home Challenge, bagging himself a third place finish in that championship overall. Since then it only got better for the Brit as he won at both the Le Mans rounds of the Triple Crown All-Star Series as well as the Pro Cup championship win.
Oliver will travel to Berlin at the beginning of August to complete the Formula E series, with all remaining six races taking place at the Tempelhof Airport circuit, across an action packed nine days.