Driver of the #17 Shell V-Power Racing Ford Falcon, Scott McLaughlin has taken out the inaugural Harvey Norman Supercars Challenge. It’s the Wednesday night ahead of the Bathurst 1000 and the day after Forza Motorsport 7 was released to the world. That’s a brilliant piece of timing, given the latest Supercars are in the game and the famous Mount Panorama is not just in the game, but beautifully recreated.
Tonight’s race was great for a few reasons. First off all, it was streamed live on Facebook for all to consume. The second is that 8 of Australia’s best gamers were flown in for Bathurst as a result of their gaming skills. Esports in Australia is alive and well in this country and tonight, these guys got to meet their celebrity co-drivers.
The event also played host to Nick Percat, Lee Holdsworth, Simona De Silvestro, David Reynolds, Chaz Mostert and was commentated by Chad Neylon and Riana Crehan.
Lastly is the chance for us to watch professional racing drivers compete not in private, million dollar simulators, but on the same consumer products that you or I play on. The setup included Forza Motorsport 7 running on an Xbox One, connected to consumer-level wheel and pedals, bolted on the Next Level Racing GT Ultimate V2 racing sim.
The 20 lap race required a pit stop between lap 8 and 12 to switch drivers. The rules were these.. Drivers had to race with a stock tune, with stability management, traction control, friction assist, ABS all set to off. Shifting was set to manual and steering set to simulation.
The official advice around driver aggression was that ‘rubbing is racing’ but no forced offs were allowed. No deliberate cutting of the track and successful overtakes required you to have an overlap better than the B pillar.
During the race there were definitely plenty of incidents, particularly of interest was Shane Van Gisbergen’s Red Bull Racing Holden was leading until a mistake meant he was passed by McLaughlin and his gamer co-driver took the win.
You can watch the replay of the race below.