“My time as a racing driver is helping me now,” he says. “This includes the rules that apply on the racetrack, for example: ‘Whoever is in front when turning into the corner, also owns it’. You can judge things like that better after an active motorsport career.”
There is a lot of Formula 1 experience behind this sim racing championship! We are talking about the “Racing Unleashed Championship – Beyond the Pinnalce”, which is coming to the virtual Nürburgring this weekend. The pilots of the Racer and Challenger League carry out the second championship run. The project was founded and managed by ex-Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn.
The Championship of Racing Unleashed (go to the homepage here) – this is the racing series in which the pilots chase a virtual 2022 Formula 1 model around the racetracks in high-performance simulators. 46-inch screens with a panoramic view and carbon fiber cockpits with an integrated sound system make the races in the racing lounges at various locations in Germany, Switzerland and Spain an almost real Formula 1 experience. In total, the prize money is almost 200,000 Swiss francs.
In addition to CEO Monisha Kaltenborn, the new race manager also has a Sauber past. Former Formula 1 driver Karl Wendlinger is now part of the fixed racing jury team. “I was already in charge of three races last season. This year I’m part of the regular team as sporting director,” says the Austrian, who drove 41 Formula 1 races from 1991 to 1995 and became world famous with his crash in Monaco in 1994.
As in Formula 1, every disputed accident is investigated in Racing Unleashed. In addition to Wendlinger, sim racing experts analyze the scenes. A decision will be made in a few minutes. The penalties are communicated live to the drivers over the radio. There are no discussions between teams and race management like at the 2021 Formula 1 season finale in Abu Dhabi. “Penalties are final,” Wendlinger clarifies.
The 53-year-old welcomes the fact that public radio traffic was abolished in Formula 1 for the 2022 season: “Michael Masi was under a lot of pressure as a result. Thanks to the new regulation, the race directors can make decisions independently and without influence.” However, without Masi, who was dismissed by the FIA. Instead, the German Niels Wittich (formerly DTM) and WEC race director Eduardo Freitas are now in charge of the premier class, which Wendlinger now has under control at Racing Unleashed.
Like Formula 1, the Racing Unleashed Championship has just started its season under the virtual wheels. Before the second race of the Racer League next Sunday, the Spaniard Javier Loro is in the lead. Seven points behind is German Angelo Michel, who achieved the best result of his Racing Unleashed career at the season opener in Spielberg.
The Nürburgring broadcast starts on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. The race will be streamed on Twitch with German commentary. The drivers of the Challenger League will have their turn at the same time on Saturday.
The anticipation is also great at Wendlinger. “I keep standing in front of the simulators with wide eyes and am amazed at the precision with which the drivers drive lap after lap.” A weighty compliment from someone who was on the road with Michael Schumacher in the Mercedes Junior team and fought against Senna, Prost and Co. drove in Formula 1.