• Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports Team excited for the 2020 Formula 1 Esports Series

Brendon Leigh and Bono Huis to compete for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports Team in the 2020 F1 Esports Series

The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports Team is looking forward to the upcoming 2020 F1 Esports Pro Series and has today announced its line-up for the upcoming competition. Earlier this year, virtual racing attracted a lot of attention when real-world racing events could not be held and online racing provided the only form of live motorsports. A number of different racing series, including Formula One, held special virtual events that featured real-world racing drivers and their counterparts from the virtual world.

Interest is thus expected to be high when the fourth season of the F1 Esports Pro Series begins on the 14th October. The 2020 F1 Esports Pro Series will be held at four two-day live events, each of which will feature three rounds with races at 35% race distance. The second and third event are scheduled for November with the last event taking place in December.

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Strong line-up for the new season

The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports Team is delighted to confirm a new, promising esports driver line-up ahead of the 2020 F1 Esports Series.

Two-time F1 Esports Series Champion Brendon Leigh will race for the team in his third season with the three-pointed star. After winning the inaugural F1 Esports Series Championship in 2017, Brendon defended his Drivers’ title in the following year and helped the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports Team secure the 2018 F1 Esports Pro Series Constructors’ Championship. The 21-year old Brit claimed two podium finishes in 2019 and ended last season in P5.

“I can’t wait for the new season to start and I’m looking forward to exciting races and strong fights on the virtual race track,” said Brendon. “I’ve shown in the past how quick I can be, but I didn’t meet my own expectations last year. I’ve enjoyed participating in a number of virtual races earlier this year and worked hard to over the course of the summer to prepare for the new season of the F1 Esports Pro Series. I can’t wait to compete again and see how we do against the very best of virtual racers.”

26-year old Dutchman Bono Huis will enter the competition for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports Team alongside Brendon. Bono has proven his speed in the past by claiming the Formula Sim Racing Championship five times. He took part in the 2018 and 2019 F1 Esports Pro Series, finishing in P6 and P7, respectively.

“I’m really looking forward to the new season. It’s been an eventful year so far, starting off by switching teams and joining Mercedes. In the short time I’ve been with the team, we’ve already enjoyed some success together. I hope we can build on that for the F1 Esports Series, but I know that this year’s competition will be stronger than ever before. We have put a lot of effort in our preparation and we’re excited to go racing again.”

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To further foster the development of its virtual racers, the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports Team has secured the support of Esteban Gutiérrez, who will advise the esports team in addition to his role as Simulator & Development driver for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team. The 29-year-old Mexican is highly experienced racing F1 cars both on the real and the virtual track and will work with the esports drivers to help them continue to raise the bar.

“The F1 Esports Series is an extremely competitive series with the best virtual racers in the world competing against each other on a very high level,” said Esteban. “I’m very happy to help our esports racers further develop their skills and use my experience from both the real world and the simulator to support them. We want to bring the same approach and the same mindset to the world of esports that has been the foundation of success for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team.”

The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports Team picked Bari Boroumand during the F1 Esports Pro Draft in August who won three races during the qualification stages of the draft. 

Building a Bespoke Esports Racing Environment

The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team launched its esports programme in 2018 when the team first participated in the F1 Esports Series. The newly founded team took the inaugural win in the Constructors’ Championship of the series but had a more challenging 2019 esports season. Earlier in 2020, Brendon and Bono competed in F1’s Pro Exhibition Series, where Brendon took his first win of the year.

Since then, the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports Team has significantly upgraded its esports training centre and partnered with leading brands to build a bespoke virtual racing environment. The team has introduced Overclockers PC hardware, Simucube direct-drive steering motors and Sim-Lab racing cockpits; the 2020 esports team kit is provided by New Era. These solutions have helped to create a highly consistent, low-latency virtual racing environment that closely replicates the real world motorsports.

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“The world of virtual racing is becoming more and more competitive year on year, boosted by the significant rise in interest from our fans and the wider public,” said James Vowles, Motorsport Strategy Director of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team. “We have partnered with some of the most exciting names in virtual racing and esports, which has provided the foundations from which to base our 2020 Championship challenge. We have significantly upgraded our esports training centre, creating a cutting-edge facility where our esports drivers train and compete. They are pushing each other to new heights and we have established closer integration with the F1 programme than ever before. The 2020 Championship will be the hardest fought since its inception, with a fiercely strong competitor line-up all wanting to take the crown.”