Abdul Qadir fights to stay ahead in the final race of the ISRL
Abdul Qadir fights to stay ahead in the final race of the ISRL|Indian Sim Racing League
Motorsport

Volkswagen Motorsport, Rayomand Banajee give much-needed boost to e-sports scene

Volkswagen Motorsport India, along with Rayomand Banajee’s IR eSports, concluded season two of the Indian Sim Racing League (ISRL) with some spectacular action

Sudipto Chaudhury

That coronavirus has us stuck indoors is by now a foregone conclusion. But true sportsmanship means finding ways to seek out and build up the spirit of competition, come what may. And it is with exactly this thought that Volkswagen Motorsports and IR eSports, one of the leading players in simulator racing in India, founded by eight-time national karting and racing Champion Rayomand Banajee. The championship pits India’s best online racers against real world racers: held on the popular online iRacing platform, with each racer each piloting an FIA-homologated Dallara Formula 3 car, with identical setups, using his or her own simulator.

The story so far

The Indian motorsport scene is no slouch when it comes to esports. In fact, the qualifying rounds for the X1 Racing League, touted as the IPL of Indian motorsport, involved the X1 esports league, where the participants showed off their driving chops on the virtual arena. This selfsame racing league, as a response to the Covid-19 lockdown, also spawned the Ultimate E racing series which has, at last count, attracted quite a few well known faces. But what sets the ISRL apart is the support it has garnered from Volkswagen Racing, already a juggernaut in multiple racing formats.

The ISRL, hence, functions exactly like any other motorsport competition, following a proper rule book and overseen by experienced officials. Each round consists of two practice sessions totalling 90 minutes, a 10-minute qualifying and a 20-minute race. Points are awarded as per the Volkswagen India Championship with additional points for pole position and fastest lap.

Speaking on the ISRL, Sirish Vissa, Head, Volkswagen Motorsports, said: “We are proud to associate with IR eSports and the Indian Sim Racing League. This gives a different dimension to our motorsport program in India. With this association we look forward to expanding our footprint in terms of accessibility to the sport.”

Abdul Qadir takes the inside line  off Prathamesh Yedre
Abdul Qadir takes the inside line off Prathamesh Yedre Indian Sim Racing League

Concluding a season

Season two of the ISRL just concluded on May 1, witnessing some stiff competition between racers from 14 different Indian cities competing in five rounds on some of the world’s iconic circuits like Silverstone, Daytona and Laguna Seca.

Amith Kutti heads the grid
Amith Kutti heads the grid Indian Sim Racing League

Shedding some more light on the action, the final race on the Laguna Seca track saw Chennai’s Amith Kutti grabbing pole in qualifying, a mere eight-thousandth of a second ahead of Sai Prithvi, also from Chennai. As the lights went out, a determined Prithvi went breathing down the tail of the leader pressurising him into an error. Kutti and Prithvi exchanged fastest laps before the former hit a backmarker, the resulting suspension damage forcing him to retire. Thrissur’s Abdul Fattah, thus far the title challenger, crashed and had to pit, costing him valuable time and ending any hopes of the title.

Prithvi sneaks up on Kutti
Prithvi sneaks up on Kutti Indian Sim Racing League

Sai Prithvi’s four victories and 252 cumulative points earned him the much-deserved victory, as well as the chance of testing with a Volkswagen Motorsport racecar. Abdul Fattah eventually finished eleventh to secure 2nd in the standings with 191 points and earns himself kart training with Rayo Racing. Mumbai’s Raiden Samervel with 172 points was third and netting him a free race entry, courtesy IndiKarting.

What lies ahead

The next season of the ISRL, in association with Volkswagen Motorsport India, will commence on Friday, May 8, with upgrades and changes to the format, which will make it more exciting for viewers and increase the challenge for racers. The races will be viewable live on IR eSports’s social media platforms where the spectators root for their favourite driver while throwing some healthy wordplay.

So, if you’re intrigued by esports and want to give it a try, you can register on IR E-Sports' Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages. And, along with a chance to go up against the who’s who of the virtual Indian motorsport scene, you also stand to win Volkswagen Motorsport India merch.

So go get clicking right now!

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