- Interview with Formula 3 driver Sophia Flörsch, who makes her debut in the VCO ProSIM SERIES on Wednesday.
- Start with SiFaT Performance, alongside Esports racer Jan Wenninger.
- Press conference with Flörsch and Joshua Rogers (Coanda Simsport) at 17:30 in the VCO Esports Paddock.
Munich – Prominent addition to the real-world pros in the VCO ProSIM SERIES. Formula 3 driver Sophia Flörsch is set to make her debut at the third event of the race series run by Virtual Competition Organisation (VCO). The German driver will compete alongside SiFaT Performance driver Jan Wenninger on Wednesday (LIVE on YouTube from 20:00). In an interview, the 20-year-old discusses the differences and similarities between the virtual and real racing worlds, and explains why the fun continues away from the track in Esports racing.
From 17:30 (CET), Flörsch and Esports racer Josh Rogers (Coanda Simsport), who won the second ‘Championship Race’ of the season together with team-mate Ayhancan Güven, will face questions from international media representatives. If you want to take part in the Discord press conference, please send us an E-mail.
On your YouTube channel, just over a quarter of a million people have watched the video of you introducing your new home simulator. Did you expect this massive level of interest or did this video make it clear to you just how big Esports racing has now become?
Sophia Flörsch: I had expected there would be a lot of interest. Virtually everyone was at home during the lockdown in spring, watching Esports races. People who weren’t in their own simulators, were watching livestreams on YouTube. Even though you do see drivers who, unlike me, stream their races with Twitch, you don’t know what hardware they are using and how a simulator is constructed. So, because the demand for a video like that was so huge, we decided to provide specific details about my simulator. The number of clicks showed that most people were really interested.
Many real-world Pros use simulators to prepare for their races in real life. Is it true to say that Esports racing became more than ‘just’ preparation for many of you ‘real-world Pros’ in 2020?
The two things are still very different. Esports racing cannot prepare you properly for a real-life race. When I compete in Esports races, I am normally in cars that I don’t drive in real life. It’s a similar situation for most racing drivers. However, Esports racing does help you to recognise race situations and to get a feel for the first turn and the first lap of the race. You can also learn how to drive ‘a perfect qualifying lap’. You can internalise the rhythm of a racetrack. Outside Esports racing, high-performance simulators are of course used to prepare for real races, if the car and circuit are available on the platform.
It is difficult for real-world Pros to win against the real Esports racers. How important is it to have fun?
Very important. In most races, I am driving because I enjoy it. It is also funny for us real-world Pros sometimes. Coming up to some turns, you know there is no chance here – but I’m going to go for it anyway. If it all goes wrong, you just get out of the simulator and it’s all good. I think that is one of the reasons why so many real-world Pros are involved in Esports racing. It is just so much fun. But of course, the Esports racers are sometimes in a league of their own. It is crazy to see how many are almost always in the simulator and to see just how unbelievably fast they are. Sometimes, you have to ask yourself how they manage to squeeze that extra second as you feel like you are already driving right at the limit. Of course, that shows us how much we can still improve. And the reverse would be just as true.
If the real-life racing experience is measured at 100 percent – where do you feel Esports racing is right now, and what potential do you see for the future?
That depends on a lot of factors, including the platform we drive on. I think, as do many others as well, that iRacing is the best platform.
So let’s take iRacing as the benchmark platform.
The similarities in terms of racing are significant. Nonetheless, it is difficult to compare these two worlds. There are a host of real-world factors that cannot be simulated. For example, you have the evolution of the circuit between the first and second practice sessions in Formula 1, or different setups. If the setup is fixed in Esports racing, everyone is racing under the same conditions. However, the differences can be huge in real life. Overtaking is also a bit easier in the virtual world, but the fan factor is bigger.
You have your own motion simulator at home. How much of a difference is there to simulators that do not give you direct feedback from the track?
My simulator really is extremely good and we have invested many hours in making it as real as possible. My simulator is fantastic for preparing for a race weekend and a new circuit. However, during the spring lockdown I realised that you do not necessarily need a top-level simulator to compete at the front. Many Esports racers drive with a simple steering wheel console. The lighter the construction, the better it is. I also use my VR goggles when training for Formula 3. We made some changes to my simulator and I am also using a steering wheel that is easier to control, and which can be configured for various cars.
What is your objective for your first appearance in the VCO ProSIM SERIES?
With 44 drivers on the track, just getting into the race is the most important thing. What I like about the VCO ProSIM SERIES is that we share cars with the Esports racers, we have to complete a pit stop, and that we don’t know which circuit we are racing on in advance. Those are interesting factors. This will be my first Esports race since the last lockdown and my initial aim is just to survive the first lap and to get into the race. Then we’ll see what happens. I am really looking forward to it!
You are driving in the SiFaT car alongside Jan Wenninger. Are you preparing together?
We are in contact every day and we have already trained together on a few circuits. He is giving me some really good tips and I am happy that Jan is my team-mate. Communication and discussion are very important and we make a good team.
VCO ProSIM SERIES photo and video database (for editorial use)
VCO ProSIM SERIES results & documents
VCO ProSIM SERIES live timing
VCO Esports paddock – Discord server (incl. media centre)
Schedule VCO ProSIM SERIES, Round 3 (all times CET)
20:00 Start of broadcast
20:05-20:15 Fun Race – Qualifying
20:20-20:40 Fun Race
20:50-21:00 Championship Race – Qualifying
21:10-21:50 Championship Race
22:00 End of broadcast
Note to editors: If you would like to create your own photographic material and video footage for the VCO ProSIM SERIES as a spectator on iRacing, please contact us via email. A limited number of media accreditations are available for each event.
VCO ProSIM SERIES Race Calendar:
18 November, 25 November, 16 December, 2 January, 20 January, 10 February, 3 March, 31 March (changes possible)
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Virtual Competition Organisation (VCO) brings together different stakeholders in Esports, from simulation or gaming platforms and interested partners to active teams, drivers and the community. In a rapidly growing sector, VCO stands for professionalism, focus and a broad media presence. With its international network, VCO provides solutions for the best possible conception and implementation of Esports projects of all kinds.
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