Strange times have befallen us.
Typically heading into the month of April, we’d be seeing several motorsport championships globally shifting up a gear and really getting into the thick of the action. Though the worldwide pandemic that is COVID-19 has sadly put the brakes on any form of sport.
Some might ponder it to be a bad dream; a time without Formula One, without the prospect of Lewis Hamilton chasing a seventh world title and without young guns Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc battling it out for supremacy over Hamilton’s dominance.
On our shores in the Supercars championship, it was all about what’d be the final year of the iconic Holden versus Ford rivalry and would this be Scott McLaughlin’s last season in Australia before answering the call of Penske and heading stateside to contest IndyCar.
They, along with the likes of MotoGP, Formula E, IndyCar and countless other racing series’ are all on pause as the world continues to fight the pandemic that has sadly halted much of what we have taken for granted and at the moment – no end appears to be in sight.
Staying positive is the best course of action and being kind to our fellow humans, as most now have been forced into isolation. For motorsport lovers, there is a silver lining to fulfilling the itch to see flying laps and wheel-to-wheel racing and hopefully, this will serve as a guide to finding content to keep us all sated.
Firstly, though, in keeping with government guidelines it is important to stay active, as isolation may be a trap to stay couch-ridden for long periods of time. If one enjoys a spot of sim-racing, as we see esports rise to entertain in the motorsport industry – that is indeed a way of keeping sharp, provided one has a sim-style setup.
Formula One has embraced esports as a substitute for the lack of real-world racing, following the cancellation and postponement of the first eight races of its 22-race season. There is the We Are The Race and Veloce esports that are currently hosting and streaming races, with a mix of professional drivers and sim-racers – while F1 itself has its own Virtual Grand Prix.
One can even take a crack at playing sim-racers themselves, with a wide array of titles available on multiple gaming platforms. The official F1 series would be highly recommended, as well as PC-only titles such as iRacing and Assetto Corsa for the hardcore racers. Forza Motorsport, Gran Turismo and GRID would be more suited for entry-level racers looking to have some casual fun.
The Supercars championship announced its own esports series which commences April 8 and will feature all of the 2020 grid, racing from home with their own individual setups. If you do follow the drivers on social media, you’ll see that some are akin to the sim-racing than others – apologies to Rick Kelly.
Other than the gaming, there is always classic content whether it is old races, highlights and season reviews. Fox Sports has been showing a mix of old Formula One and Supercars content, while Kayo will have the same content or more on-demand for viewing at your leisure.
If one were to take a subscription of F1 TV Access through the official Formula One website for only AU$4.49 per month, that’d open up a whole archive of over 650 races throughout the sport’s 70-year history that previously were unable to be accessed so freely. The only downside is that there is currently no Smart TV app for this, though on Apple and Android devices you can download and pore through hours of classic Formula One.
There is the ‘Drive to Survive’ series on Netflix for those yet to watch it or wish to revisit the two seasons available and countless other motorsport documentaries available on the streaming platform. Otherwise, films such as Ford v Ferrari, Rush, Senna and Le Mans are all highly recommended racing picks.
Just please don’t watch Driven, unless one develops masochism under isolation.
Other than what’s already listed above, there are countless other alternatives to the current lack of live motorsport or sports in general. The most important thing above all is keeping morale up, staying kind and staying connected with friends, loved ones and like-minded folk.
Because once we all get through this current pandemic together, motorsport is going to be back in one way or another and boy, there will be plenty of hungry competitors out there just waiting to hit the track and do what they do best.