The Porsche Coanda Esports Racing factory team tackles the newly established ESL R1 racing series. The innovative sim racing championship organized by the Electronic Sports League is primarily aimed at factory teams and large esports organizations. The series is based on the new simulation platform “Rennsport”, which offers particularly realistic virtual reality experiences. Porsche Coanda is competing in its debut season against the likes of BMW M Team BS+Competition, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports, Williams Esports, Team Redline and Apex Racing. The plan is to run ESL R1 every spring and fall. The championship begins on February 10-12 with the opening round of the Intel Extreme Masters in Katowice, Poland. The live doubleheader is followed by six online races and an offline final at the Spring Major in Munich from May 26-28. Digitized racing vehicles must meet international GT3 regulations. The Porsche Coanda Esport Racing Team is fielding the new 911 GT3 R.
“The newly formed ESL R1 series offers our fledgling Porsche Coanda Esports Racing factory team another exciting field of competition. This competition gives us a chance to compete against other manufacturers and leading sim racing teams at a highly professional level. This and the unconventional format have the potential to attract even more fans and viewers to digital racing,” explains Thomas Laudenbach, Vice President Porsche Motorsport. “Esports has long been extremely important to Porsche Motorsport. We use it to reach new target groups and to better understand the values of our brand. Already in 2019, we created a one-brand virtual cup with the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup.”
With Porsche Coanda Esports Racing, it is the first time since 2022 that a sports car manufacturer is fielding an official racing team to compete in an esports championship. The current team of factory riders consists of Mack Bakkum (Netherlands), Joshua Rogers, Dayne Warren (both Australia) and Mitchell deJong (USA). Joining forces with racing drivers from real motorsport, they secured second place at the virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans in mid-January, immediately securing the virtual Le Mans series title. With ESL R1, they now get a chance to take on another sim racing challenge.
The ESL R1 title will be decided at the end of May at the live finals in Munich
Twelve teams will tackle ESL R1: eight partner teams and four organizations with one wild card. Each team deploys four sim racers. From the third round onwards, individual events are usually contested on Fridays and Mondays from late February to early May. This includes seven different 20-minute races, each with twelve cars: four quarter-finals, two semi-finals and a final. Related qualifying sessions last over ten minutes with a hyperpole format before the final. The 24 best-placed drivers after eight races advance to the so-called Spring Grand Final, which takes place as part of the Rennsport Summit on May 27 and 28 in Munich. There, they fight for the ESL R1 championship crown and the team title. The financial reward for the 2023 season is 500,000 euros.
“Our goal with the Porsche Coanda Esports Racing team is to participate in the world’s biggest esports events. The fact that ESL is working with the new Rennsport simulation platform is a fantastic development for the entire industry,” says Philip Stamm, Porsche Coanda Esports Racing Team Principal. “At the Rennsport Summit last year, the potential of the platform was obvious. We are very pleased to have been involved in this racing series with the Porsche Esports factory team since day one. Now we can compete against the world’s best racers, the strongest classic motor racing teams, sim racing teams and new players. I am sure that we have prepared well during the last months to underline our full potential in this championship as well.”
ESL R1 2023 Calendar (Spring)
February 11 and 12 – Intel Extreme Masters, Katowice (Poland), races 1 and 2
March 10 and 13 – Race 3
March 24 and 27 – Race 4
April 7 and 10 – Race 5
April 14 and 17 – Race 6
April 21 and 24 – race 7
May 5 and 8 – Race 8
May 27 and 28 – Spring grand finale, Rennsport Summit Munich