NBC Sports has unveiled its second esports motorsport competition to help fill the void amid the sports shutdown caused by the global Covid-19 pandemic.
Earlier this week, NBC partnered with IndyCar for the IndyCar iRacing Challenge, which features a field of NTT Indycar Series drivers.
The network is now teaming up with with leading motorsport simulation platform iRacing to create the NBC eSports Short Track iRacing Challenge. It will take place from April 6-9, and be broadcast on cable network NBCSN.
Eighteen professional drivers – including Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin – will compete in timed races in Nascar Cup Series cars at virtual iconic short tracks. The top two finishers from each night will advance to the championship race at the virtual Martinsville Speedway.
NBC Sports’ Nascar commentators Rick Allen and Steve Letarte will call the action, including interviews with drivers during the races.
Another Nascar esports competition, the eNascar iRacing Pro Invitational Series, is currently being aired by Fox in the United States and a series of global broadcasters.
Fox has also added a new weekly World of Outlaws iRacing series. On April 1, cable network FS1 aired the inaugural race from the virtual Dirt Track at Charlotte. The one-hour program featured a 35-lap World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series race, followed by a 50-lap Morton Buildings Late Model battle.
Formula One has also successfully entered this space with the Bahrain Virtual Grand Prix, which replaced the postponed Bahrain Grand Prix.