Joe Gibbs Racing launched a sim racing league in December and more than 250,000 viewers have tuned in for the first four races to watch professional drivers compete against Average Joe's. The eight-race series utilizes the iRacing simulator platform, and with one exception, each race is held Sunday evenings at 8 PM ET throughout the off-season and broadcast live on JGR's Facebook page (@JoeGibbsRacing) and other social outlets.
The first event took place in December at the virtual Rockingham Speedway with an all-star lineup that included drivers such as Denny Hamlin, Christopher Bell, and Ryan Preece competing in equally prepared Toyota Camry racecars. The first four races of the season are available on demand at www.joegibbsracing.com/simracing. All virtual racecars are prepared equally with a "fixed setup" and each race lasts about one hour or 100 miles.
The series continues tonight, January 14, from Bristol at 8 PM ET. The championship race will take place at Talladega and broadcast live during halftime of the Super Bowl on February 4.
"We think this is a perfect way to provide fans with exciting off-season content while having some fun at the same time,” said Dave Alpern, President of Joe Gibbs Racing. “Sim Racing is incredibly authentic, and is an affordable point-of entry into our sport while providing the opportunity to compete against some amazing talent. ESports is a fast growing segment of our sports and entertainment landscape and we hope this league engages our fans and builds excitement and anticipation for when the real cars hit the track in Daytona in February. It also provides an opportunity to integrate partners in fun and innovative ways. ARRIS modems, for example, are the lifeblood of a simulated racecar and the internet connection that powers it."
At the end of the season, a champion will be crowned and awarded a trophy, $500, and gifts from JGR select partners.
The full schedule is as follows (subject to change):
Dec. 10 Rockingham
Dec. 17 Indianapolis Raceway Park
Jan. 3 (Wednesday) Eldora
Jan. 7 COTA Austin road course
Jan. 14 Bristol
Jan. 21 Dover
Jan. 28 Homestead
Feb. 4 Talladega