Virtual races have become the go-to events for racing fans amid the COVID-19 cancellations. It has perhaps become so popular, that it has drawn interest from legends of the sport.
Take 80-year-old Mario Andretti, for instance, who will be making his esports racing debut at the Torque Esports/Engine Media’s All-Star Legends Trophy event this weekend.
The octogenarian is all set to make a poignant return from retirement as he takes on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway anew — even if only via rFactor 2’s virtual simulation.
“I have a pretty steep learning curve ahead of me. It’s been a long time since I’ve been a rookie at Indianapolis. I’m trying to learn as quickly as possible and I hope I can deal with some of these young stars,” Andretti said.
Andretti’s accolades include the 1978 Formula One World Championship, four IndyCar titles, and titles from the Daytona 500 (1967) and Indianapolis 500 (1969) championships.
To this day, Andretti is the only race driver to win titles from the F1, Indy 500, and Daytona 500 championships. He is also one of only three drivers to have won titles on road courses, dirt tracks, and the paved oval in the same season. In fact, he did this four times in his storied career.
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Andretti will compete against fellow F1 champs Emerson Fittipaldi (1972 and 1974), Jenson Button (2009), and Fernando Alonso (2005 and 2006).
Also participating are Indianapolis 500 champions from the last two decades, including 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).
The Legends Trophy event happens on May 23 starting at 5:00 p.m. BST (May 24 at 12:00 a.m. GMT+8). Racers will compete for championship glory, as well as US$30,000 cash award that will be given to the charities of their choice.
The three-hour special will be streamed on The Race’s official YouTube Channel.