The Porsche Coanda Esports Racing factory team tackles the new ESL R1 racing series. The innovative simulation racing championship organized by the Electronic Sports League is aimed primarily at corporate teams and large esports organizations. The series is based on the new “Rennsport” simulation platform, which offers particularly realistic virtual reality experiences. Porsche Coanda contests the first season against rivals such as BMW M Team BS+Competition, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports, Williams Esports, Team Redline and Apex Racing. The plan is to hold an ESL R1 in the spring and fall each year. The championship begins February 10-12 with the opening round at the Intel Extreme Masters in Katowice, Poland. The live doubles event is followed by six online races and the offline final at the Spring Major in Munich from May 26-28. Digitized racing vehicles must comply with international GT3 regulations. The Porsche Coanda Esport Racing Team enters the new 911 GT3 R.
“The new ESL R1 series offers our young works team Porsche Coanda Esports Racing another interesting area of competition. This competition gives us the chance to compete against other manufacturers and top sim racing teams at a highly professional level. This format and the unconventional format have the potential to attract even more fans and spectators to digital racing,” says Thomas Laudenbach, Vice President Porsche Motorsport. “Esports has long been extremely important to Porsche Motorsport. We use it to reach new target audiences and give them a better understanding of our brand values. We have already established a one-brand virtual cup with the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup in 2019.”
With Porsche Coanda Esports Racing, it is the first time since 2022 that the sports car manufacturer has sent an official factory team to compete in an esports championship. The current factory rider squad includes Mack Bakkum (Netherlands), Joshua Rogers, Dayne Warren (both Australian) and Mitchell deJong (USA). Teaming up with racing drivers from real motorsport backgrounds, they secured second place in the virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans in mid-January and quickly clinched the virtual Le Mans Series title. With ESL R1, they now have the chance to take on another simulation racing challenge.
ESL R1 title decision at the end of May during the live final in Munich
Twelve teams will tackle the ESL R1: eight partner teams and four organizations with a wild card. Each team deploys four racing simulators. From round three onwards, individual races are usually contested on a Friday and Monday from late February to early May. This includes seven different races of 20 minutes each with twelve vehicles: four quarter-finals, two semi-finals and the final. The associated qualifying sessions take place over ten minutes with a hyperpole format before the final. The 24 top-ranked drivers after eight races will qualify for the Spring Major Finale to be held as part of the Rennsport Summit on May 27-28 in Munich. There they fight for the ESL R1 Championship crown and the team title. The prize money for the 2023 season amounts to 500,000 euros.
“Our goal with the Porsche Coanda Esports Racing team is to compete in the biggest esports racing events in the world. Having ESL working with the new Rennsport simulation platform is a fantastic development for the whole industry,” says Philip Stamm, Team Principal at Porsche Coanda Esports Racing. “At the Rennsport Summit last year, the potential of the platform was evident. The fact that we were involved in this racing series with the factory Porsche Esports team from day one makes us very proud, now we can compete against the best racers in the world, the strongest teams in classic car racing, sim racing teams and new players. I am convinced that we have prepared well over the last few months to also highlight our full potential in this championship.
ESL R1 2023 Calendar (Spring)
11. and 12. February – Intel Extreme Masters, Katowice (Poland), races 1 and 2
10. and 13. March – race 3
March 24 and 27 – race 4
7. and 10. April – race 5
14. and 17. April – race 6
21. and 24. April – stroke 7
5. and 8. May – stroke 8
27. and 28. May – Spring Major Finale, Rennsport Summit Munich