(Editor’s note: This article has been updated as of August 19, 2021)
Who said we can no longer enjoy motorsport during the pandemic? While we understand the importance of social distancing and avoidance of mass gatherings from physical events, that doesn’t mean there are no other ways to hold an exciting race event. Lately, car manufacturers have started adopting the “new normal” in organizing events, and have turned to internet technology to host events digitally via a myriad of online conference platforms.
Now, even motorsport events have embraced the digital platform to hold virtual races or have made their state-of-the-art concept car available in virtual gaming consoles. Still sounds fun, right? But the best part is, these virtual motorsport events are the best initiatives to go green. Imagine racing to your heart’s content without expending a drop of fossil fuel nor emitting climate change-inducing greenhouse gases—all because these high-tech simulations already satisfy your need for speed.
In a news feature posted online on Dec. 30, 2020 at overtake.gg/news, which summed up the virtual racing scene that year, the conclusions were that, “overall, 2020 was a big boom for e-sports racing. With celebrities and real-world stars joining the tournaments, virtual racing events attracted millions of viewers worldwide and found their way into mainstream media. Overall, there is a higher awareness of e-sports racing among fans and drivers at the end of the year than when it started. The outlook for 2021 is positive, so the upcoming mission for the scene is to use the newly gained attention and participation and turn it into long-term progress” (https://www.overtake.gg/news/2903-2020-review-on-the-sim-racing-and-racing-games-boom).
Mazda RX-Vision GT3 Concept virtual experience
Mazda Motor Corp announced that the Mazda RX-Vision GT3 Concept is available in the extremely popular Gran Turismo Sport driving simulation game. Mazda’s state-of-the-art concept car has been available on the Sony Interactive Entertainment PlayStation console since May 22, 2020. Imagine the car, which was created by Mazda designers who based the virtual race car on the award-winning 2015 RX-Vision Concept Car. Moreover, cooperatively established with Polyphony Digital. the RX-Vision GT3 Concept is Mazda’s 8th race car in the online game’s myriad of events and competitions.
“Mazda has a long heritage of success in motorsports,” said Mazda Philippines president and CEO Steven Tan. “With the Mazda RX-Vision GT3 Concept, we pay homage to our triumph with the rotary engine, the symbol of Mazda’s ‘Never Stop Challenging’ spirit. We believe that digital motorsport is the most accessible way to attract the younger generation of Filipinos into the global racing arena. That is why we hope that Filipino online racers will compete using this new race car so that they will experience for themselves the passion for driving which our brand champions,” Tan added.
So, no matter how the pandemic has impacted our everyday lives, particularly our love of driving, car and gaming enthusiasts can now go online to enjoy the thrill and excitement of the virtual racing world. “As we miss the feel and excitement of actual local motorsports events such as the Miata Cup, and even the learnings from our highly successful Motorsport Development Program with the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP), we believe that we can still recreate the thrill of driving and further appreciate the virtues of competition through Mazda’s efforts in digital motorsport,” Tan concluded.
With the Mazda RX-Vision GT3 Concept now available, PlayStation Plus-registered Gran Turismo Sport players can now use the car to virtually compete in the game’s various racing events. One particular event allowed online players to take part in two Mazda special events commemorating the brand’s 100th anniversary. This was the Time Trail Challenge, which allowed racers globally to compete for the fastest time at the famed Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, using the Mazda RX-Vision GT3 Concept, of course.
The other virtual event was the Livery Design Contest that ran until June 19, 2020. Using the livery editor feature of Gran Turismo Sport, players created and submitted their interpretation of Mazda’s 100th anniversary on their Mazda RX-Vision GT3 Concept. The winning entries were picked by the same Mazda design team that created the virtual racecar.
Toyota E-Sports GR Supra GT Cup Asia
Next e-sport introduced was Toyota Motor Philippines’ version of the E-Sports program—the GR Supra GT Cup Asia (Philippines edition). Likewise, the initiative stemmed from the ongoing pandemic, where safety continues to be of the highest concern.
“The safety of our customers, employees, and fans are always at the top of our priorities. But we also recognize the value of waku-doki spirit in everyone. This is a great way to sustain the excitement of the motorsports program in the Philippines in a safe environment,” said TMP President Atsuhiro Okamoto.
As part of Toyota’s Gazoo Racing motorsports program, the e-racing event GR Supra GT Cup Asia-Philippines were held online and open to the public, ages 18 and above.
“Finally, Toyota fans can participate in our sports program at the comfort and safety of their own homes. We also expect this activity to reach a wider and younger audience, based on the profile of gamers,” Okamoto added. The online e-race, utilizing Toyota’s legendary sports car icon, the GR Supra, started in July 2020. Winners of the e-race had the chance to participate in the regional finals, the GR Supra GT Cup-Asia.
After hundreds of participants responded, and three rounds of virtually driving the Toyota GR Supra on the world’s most popular racing circuits, three players emerged to become the national champions of GR Supra GT Cup Asia Philippines: Terence Lallave, Johann Lance Padilla, and Jose Luis Altoveros.
The three valiantly raced during the GR Supra GT Cup 2020 Asia on October 25, 2020. Ultimately, the representatives of Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand bagged the top spots in the regional finals.
Considering that e-Sports in the Philippines has garnered popularity over the years, the addition of e-sports programs in various international competitions, producing Filipino medalists, have further legitimized the sport. The GR Supra GT Cup Asia-Philippines is Toyota’s fun, safe and feasible alternative to the country’s number one motorsport program, The Vios Racing Festival.
Watch the regional finals of the GR Supra GT Cup-Asia in this ONE Esports coverage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOY0mAroW6c
Source: Mazda Philippines and Toyota Motor Philippines