INDIANAPOLIS – Racing legend Mario Andretti and two-time Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso are the latest stars to join Torque Esports’ All-Star Legends Trophy event to be held Saturday on a virtual version of the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The Race All-Star Esports Series powered by ROKiT Phones features the leading stars of world motorsport from Formula 1, IndyCar, sports cars, and more.
The 80-year-old Andretti, a former Indy 500 winner, Daytona 500 victor, Formula 1 champion and four-time Indy car champion, will make his esports debut on the rFactor 2 simulated version of Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Alonso, who made his esports debut in the series last weekend, will return to the virtual version of the fabled 2.5-mile oval where the Spaniard made a spectacular Indy 500 debut in 2017.
Andretti is one of seven Indianapolis 500 winners in the field – joining Emerson Fittipaldi (1989 and 1993); Juan Pablo Montoya (2000 and 2015); Helio Castroneves (2001, 2002 and 2009); Gil de Ferran (2003); Dario Franchitti (2007, 2010 and 2012) and Tony Kanaan (2013).
With the addition of Andretti, the group has combined to win 13 Indy 500 crowns.
Both Andretti and Alonso have Formula 1 World titles to their credit, Andretti winning the honor in 1978 and Alonso in 2005 and 2006. They join Fittipaldi (1972 and 1974) and Jenson Button (2009) as Formula 1 champions in the field.
“I have a pretty steep learning curve ahead of me. It’s been a long time since I’ve been a rookie at Indianapolis,” Andretti said.
“I’m trying to learn as quickly as possible and I hope I can deal with some of these young stars. I’ll just commit and hope I’m competitive.”
Alonso qualified fourth in his first esports event last week in the Legends Trophy on the virtual version of the Zandvoort road course in the Netherlands. He was scheduled to compete in the 2020 Indianapolis 500, which was originally planned for this Sunday.
“I was looking forward to heading back to the speedway and racing for real this weekend but the All-Stars esports event is a great way to keep sharp,” Alonso said.
“These guys in the Legends Trophy are all great champions and everyone’s racing instincts really transfer across into the virtual world. I’m also getting the chance to race against some absolute legends of Indy including Mario Andretti and Emerson Fittipaldi. That is an incredible opportunity.”
A number of drivers on the entry list have real-world experience at the speedway, including Andretti, Fittipaldi, Montoya, Castroneves, de Ferran, Franchitti, Kanaan, Adrián Fernández, Bryan Herta, Mario Dominguez, Max Papis, Michel Jourdain Jr, and Oriol Servia.
Saturday’s three-hour event will air live on ESPN in the United States – graduating from its regular weekly spot on ESPN2.
“We started this series 10 weeks ago to provide motorsport fans with much-needed entertainment while real-world motorsport was on hold. But the championship quickly developed a life of its own in attracting some of the biggest names in world motorsport,” said Torque Esports President and CEO Darren Cox. “To have the likes of Mario Andretti and Fernando Alonso join our event is just staggering. We have drivers in the race who are absolute legends at Indianapolis and plenty of other amazing stars who never had the opportunity to compete at this incredible venue.
“While it is a different experience to race here virtually, we have guys in this field who are just thrilled at the opportunity and blown away at the chance to race at Indianapolis against the likes of Mario Andretti and Emerson Fittipaldi.”