| 9.4°C Belfast

Colin Turkington joins fellow Ulster drivers to make eSports racing debut

 

Close

Colin Turkington

Colin Turkington

Jon Armstrong

Jon Armstrong

Colin Turkington

If you can't go racing or rallying for real, what do you do? You get your adrenaline buzz virtually. Motorsport lends itself ideally to simulated - or sim - events and Northern Ireland drivers are joining in, a couple of them with notable success.

Jon Armstrong, a former eSports world champion, finished second in the virtual Azores Rally and Charlie Eastwood made the final of the All Stars eSports Battle.

This weekend Colin Turkington joins in, the four-time British Touring Car champion heading the line-up for a trio of charity sim races at Brands Hatch.

Armstrong, a driver who is equally at home behind the wheel of a real rally car or a games console, was scheduled to take part in this season's Junior World Championship but has been forced to revert to virtual rallying as the whole of motorsport comes to a standstill.

With his plans on hold, Armstrong went back to the sim world and took part in a virtual version of the Azores Rally which should have been the start of the European Championship. From an entry of over 1,400 competitors, including 2018 European champion Alexey Lukyanuk, he finished second, just 13 seconds behind winner Pedro Silva.

Eastwood, who is challenging for the GTE pro/am title in the World Endurance series, was one of three Aston Martin drivers to reach the final All Stars battle, coming through qualifying in fourth place and going on to finish 12th overall.

Turkington has signed up to be part of a virtual British Touring Car event at Brands Hatch on Sunday and although spending considerable time on his simulator ahead of each round of the real series, he admits he has never taken part in a virtual race.

"This will be my first eSports race but I'm happy to be part of it as it is raising funds for an amazing food bank charity, the Trussell Trust," said Turkington.

And Daniel Harper, who had to abandon his training with the BMW Junior team as Covid-19 chased them out of Italy and then Germany, was in action last night in the Digital Motorsports iRacing TCR Cup in the first of two virtual races around the Donington circuit.

The capacity entry list also included Eastwood and Hyundai WRC driver Craig Breen along with the likes of Robert Barrable and ex-BTCC champion Ash Sutton.

Belfast Telegraph