ETRA, Goodyear kick off the virtual 2020 truck racing season
Truck racing is the latest motorsport code to start a simulated season, as Coronavirus lockdowns continue to preclude live racing. The FIA European Truck Racing Championship, supported by Goodyear, welcomed drivers and fans to the ETRC Digital Racing Challenge on 24 May. Live racing in the championship has been suspended until 29-30 August, when the opening event will be held at Most, Czech Republic.
Full-season FIA ETRC entrants and ETRC drivers granted a special entry competed in the first race of the ETRC Digital Racing Challenge, consisting of a series of eight virtual events. This first encounter took place on the virtual Hungaroring circuit. This is where the 2020 season would have kicked off during the last weekend of April.
Local hero Norbert Kiss won both races in the opening round. Téo Calvet, the youngest full-season ETRC entrant for Buggyra Racing, ended fourth in the first race and led the second race until Kiss took his second victory of the day. Their rivalry will be continued during the upcoming second round of the ETRC Digital Racing Challenge on 7 June, at a simulated Misano circuit (Italy).
Calvet comments: “After obtaining the 2019 Junior title in the French Truck Championship, I’m really looking forward to starting my first ETRC season as part of one of the world’s best teams, Buggyra Racing. The ETRC Digital Racing Challenge is a great way to keep the competition spirit up and it is super fun to race already with my competitors. We will hopefully meet each other soon on the real grid! My target for the 2020 season is to end in the Top 10 and compete for the victory in the Grammer Cup.”
Goodyear supports digital series
Competitors handle their cyber trucks from the seat of their simulator of choice. The Assetto Corsa gaming platform also allows them to make personal modifications to their trucks, featuring their actual 2020 team livery and Goodyear branded tyres.
“At Goodyear, as exclusive tyre partner of the FIA European Truck Racing Championship and a company dedicated to innovation, we are looking forward to the new dimension that comes with launching the series in the digital space. It brings the thrills from the grid into the safe environment of the living rooms of drivers, teams and fans around the world,” said Maciej Szymanski, director marketing commercial tyres Europe at Goodyear.
“We are fully prepared for the start of the FIA European Truck Racing Championship 2020 season in August at Most in Czech Republic. New this year are the iconic Goodyear decals on the tyre sidewall, similar to those we historically used to win an all-time record of 368 Formula One Grand Prix. Today, they mark the high performance rubber with which we support the famous NASCAR, FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) and Pure ETRC.”
Calvet concludes: “I obtained by my first victory on Goodyear tyres when I was just 16 years old and they have followed me since my first day in truck racing! Competing on these high-quality products is a dream for a race driver, as their durability is suited to handle extreme racing conditions, such as cornering and handling at high speed. Their experts are always available to support, just as they are in the daily transport business.”
Awaiting the start of the official truck races, the ETRC Digital Racing Challenge will be broadcast globally via two-hour live stream broadcasts on the ETRC social channels. The virtual races are monitored and supervised by an official Clerk of the Course and include expert commentary.