INDIANAPOLIS – The Legends Trophy stars from The Race All-Star eSports Series powered by ROKiT Phones will compete on Memorial Day weekend at the virtual Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Indianapolis 500 winners Emerson Fittipaldi, Juan Pablo Montoya, Helio Castroneves, Gil de Ferran, Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan will lead the pack, accounting for a dozen victories in The Greatest Spectacle in Racing among them.
While the real venue will remain idle over the Memorial Day weekend, the action from the virtual rFactor 2 version will be fierce, with a number of major stars competing on the Indianapolis oval for the first time in the event created by Torque eSports.
Jenson Button, the 2009 Formula 1 world champion, plus fellow ex-Formula 1 racers Mika Salo, Jan Magnussen, David Brabham, Emanuele Pirro, and Vitantonio Liuzzi will race at Indy for the first time.
The field also includes more former IndyCar and Champ Car stars, including Max Papis (who also drove in Formula 1), Bryan Herta (a two-time Indy 500 winner as a team owner), Adrián Fernández, Mario Dominguez, Michel Jourdain Jr., Oriol Servia and Tiago Monteiro.
Monteiro’s touring car rivals Tom Coronel, Jason Plato, and three-time WTCC champion Andy Priaulx will compete, along with World Rally Championship title winner Petter Solberg and Le Mans ace Darren Turner.
“I’m excited about heading to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the Legends Trophy,” Franchitti said. “It’s a place that changed my life forever by virtue of my three Indy 500 victories. While the rewards are brilliant, the pressure and stress to perform and make no mistakes at the speedway can be intense.
“It is definitely the ultimate motor racing high-wire act without a safety net. This virtual return will be ultra-competitive going against my pals, but definitely less stressful if something goes awry. I’ve sipped the real milk but some virtual milk would taste pretty good winning against these legendary names from so many disciplines of the sport.”
The star-studded line-up includes 12 Indy 500 wins. nine Indy car titles, 2,320 Indy car starts, 148 Indy car wins, 169 Indy car poles, seven F-1 World Championships, 1,103 grand prix starts, 89 grand prix wins, 84 grand prix poles, 18 Le Mans wins, three World Touring Car Championship titles, two World Rallycross championships and a World Rally Championship crown.
Button raced in Formula 1 on seven occasions in Indianapolis, but the May 23 Indianapolis race will be his first chance to race – albeit virtually – on the Indianapolis oval.
“I always said I wouldn’t race on ovals, but here I am competing against some of the best in the business at Indianapolis,” Button said. “The Legends Trophy has been a lot of fun to race against great friends and rivals and guys I wished I had had the chance to compete against. Now racing on the oval will be another great challenge, and I’m really looking forward to it.”
The Indianapolis event will be the fourth round of season two of The Race All-Star Series, which also includes separate events for modern-day racers – the Pro Cup – and the world’s top esports racers – the Sim Masters.
The race will be seen live on ESPN2 in the United States; in the UK on Eurosport; across Europe on Eurosport’s social and digital platforms and online on The-Race.com/YouTube.
Highlights will also be distributed to 71 international networks with a global reach of more than 610 million homes.
“The original event for The Race All-Star Esports Series went from concept to reality in only 72 hours, and we quickly started attracting these incredible legends who were looking for the opportunity to race virtually,” series founder Darren Cox said. “After we launched our first exclusive Legends Trophy event, we’ve been astounded by the number of racing superstars who were keen to compete. Not only has the racing been fantastic, but the camaraderie between these drivers has been just brilliant.
“With so many Indianapolis 500 legends in the field, it made perfect sense for us to compete on the Memorial Day weekend. Everyone is disappointed that this amazing venue is quiet during the month of May this year, but the chance for fans to watch Fittipaldi, Montoya, Castroneves, de Ferran, Franchitti, Kanaan and more compete on ESPN2, Eurosport, YouTube and more is just too good to be true.”