The popularity of sim racing and esports has grown massively across the world, who are the favourites in the pro series this year?
The growth and popularity across the eSports world has seen an upward trend that continues to thrive, like 2021 and this year, sim racing and the pro series is amongst the masses.
Seeing drivers from Formula 1 and GT circuits in sim racing lobbies is getting more and more common, and has massively helped the popularity of racing as an eSport explode.
While iRacing and the F1 eSports Series are not as popular to bet on as many other more conventional eSports like DotA, you can certainly find betting lines pop up here and there to let you get a little skin in the virtual game. According to Bookies Bonuses US, many of the top betting sites listed Jarno Opmeer as the favourite to win his series in 2021, so it wasn’t entirely unexpected that he managed to take the crown for the second year in a row, this time racing as part of the Mercedes F1 eSports team. But what does the online racing scene look like this coming year?
Big names to watch
There is a lot of overlap in esports racing, but there always are a few big names to keep your eyes peeled for when they compete.
F1 eSports Series and rFactor 2 Formula Pro
- Jarno Opmeer
- Frederik Rasmussen
- Bono Huis
- Ferris Stanley
- Kevin Siggy
Given the popularity of the Codemasters F1 game and open nature of the eSports qualification for the F1 series, there are always bound to be new names that make a splash. And, if you’ve followed sim racing there’s a decent chance you may have heard of former esports driver Cem Bölükbaşı. After finishing 5th in his inaugural season, Cem’s eSport racing career continued for a few more years without any major successes, but has now transitioned to racing in F2 with Charouz Racing System. So if you decide sim racing odds and esports betting isn’t for you, it’s obviously not much of a jump to betting on real racing!
If you want to check out the Formula Pro action this season and maybe try and place a bet, Twitch is still the best place to watch so you can get a feel for the action.
Rd 1: Spa-Francorchamps – 9 May
Rd 2: Monza – 23 May
Rd 3: Daytona Road Course – 6 June
Rd 4: Donington Park – 4 July
Rd 5: Côte d’Azur – 18 July
Rd 6: Laguna Seca – 1 August
iRacing is probably the better choice if you’re looking to bet on virtual racing, and is actually an esport you can find former and current pros like Lando Norris, 2021 F1 World Champion Max Verstappen and Rubens Barichello frequenting the servers. Here are some of the top earners from professional events who will generally have strong odds when you can find the events listed on betting sites.
- Joshua K Rogers
- Keegan Leahy
- Sebastian Job
- Bobby Zalenski
- Mitchel DeJong
Events like the eNASCAR iRacing Series is one of the most lucrative out there, with a prize pool of $300,000. The season is already well underway, but the championship race is scheduled for October 25th, and is a popular event for fans and bettors alike.
For a single event a little bit sooner, check out the iRacing Spa 24 from July 22-24. Anything can happen in these virtual endurance races, so this might be the best opportunity to find some favorable odds and get esports racing onto your betslip.
What does the future of eSports racing look like?
With the past few years being plagued by Covid-19, many people have turned to online gaming both as players and fans, with motor racing being just another outlet. As Netflix continues to pump out seasons of Drive to Survive and the fanbase of motorsports keeps growing around the world, expect to see more and more racing in global eSports events. Betting on gaming has massively grown, with millions on the line for LoL and DotA tournaments, so it’s really only a matter of time before we see sim racing become just as popular to watch and enjoy.