Which motorsports fan doesn’t dream of slipping behind the wheel of a race car and driving it to victory on a legendary racetrack like the Nürburgring or Hockenheimring? Of course, only very few people actually get the chance to take the controls of a powerful professional car and put it through its paces. But sim racing can turn these dreams into reality. It offers motorsports enthusiasts a realistic racing experience, where they can give their passion full rein with Project Cars, the eSports WRC Championship or Formula One eSports series. The races are based on the world’s leading sim racing platform, iRacing, combined with full-motion simulators for a more realistic driving feel than ever before.
One thing is clear: Virtual motor racing is booming. Sim racing is not just for gaming fans and racing enthusiasts looking to make a virtual pit stop in their living room. On the contrary: More and more professional teams from the real world of motorsports are now discovering this electronic sport and forming esports teams with professional drivers behind the wheel. BMW factory drivers such as Bruno Spengler (CAN) and Nick Catsburg (NED) regularly line up at the start. In summer 2019, as part of “BMW Team Green Hell”, both drivers faced off against professional gamers in a number of exciting races at the SimRacing EXPO at the Nürburgring.
“Sim racing is one of my big passions and I’m really happy that BMW Motorsport gives me the chance to compete against some of the best sim racers in the world at the Nürburgring, alongside Bruno,” said Catsburg.
As a premium automobile manufacturer with strong motorsports DNA, BMW aims to play a leading role in the world of sim racing in the future. For this reason, as an innovative and modern brand, BMW is already emerging as a credible key player in the world of virtual motor racing. For example, BMW Motorsport and BMW M unveiled the new BMW M2 CS Racing to the public for the first time at the BMW SIM LIVE 2019. The target groups at the event and in virtual competition with one another were BMW factory drivers, sim pro drivers and BMW fans, as well as journalists and influencers.
BMW M Customer Racing’s entry-level model also celebrated its virtual racing premiere at the same time.
These kinds of events enable BMW to emotionalise young target groups, such as Generations Y and Z, and win them over to the brand. In addition to BMW SIM LIVE, which will be held annually from now on, another series of events is planned. Future sim tournaments will be linked to real motorsports events. Winners will have the chance to take part in BMW SIM LIVE.
BMW also wants to underpin its virtual presence with corresponding hardware. Plans for this exciting sector include manufacturing and licensing of the brand's own products, such as steering wheels for sim sports. There's plenty to look forward to in the future!