Leclerc and Norris top ‘Race for the World’ line-up
Six current Formula 1 drivers including Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and McLaren’s Lando Norris will be in virtual action again this weekend, this time in a brand new Esports competition aiming to raise money for the World Health Organisation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Relief Fund.
Leclerc himself is one of the people helping set up the charity effort. The organisers are hoping that the new ‘Race for the World’ series will raise up to $100,000 to combat the spread and effects of the coronavirus pandemic around the world.
“So happy to make this happen,” Leclerc posted on social media on Friday. “We all need to be united in this and to see all of this group coming together for one cause feels great.”
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The event will take place over three nights during the next week. The first will take place on Saturday April 11 starting at 6pm BST/7pm CET with further races to follow on Tuesday and Friday.
Each round features two quarter-length races on a track selected at random 15 minutes before the start of the race and last a total of around two hours.
Leclerc is coming fresh from his maiden victory in the official Formula 1 Virtual Grand Prix Series, while Norris has been a winner in both the Veloce Pro Series and the 1v1 shoot-out.
As well as Leclerc and Norris, other F1 drivers who have agreed to take part are Red Bull’s Alexander Albon, Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi, and Williams team mates George Russell and Nicholas Latifi.
They will be joined in the series by a number of famous names from other motorsports series such as Giuliano Alesi, Louis Deletraz, Sean Gelael, Antonio Fuoco, Callum Ilott and Christian Lundgaard from the Formula 2 support series.
Formula E is represented by Antonio Felix da Costa, while Haas F1 reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi flies the flag for Asian Formula 3. Super Formula champion Nick Cassidy will also be a force to be reckoned with.
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There’s a brave contender swapping two wheels for four in the form of motorbike star Luca Salvadori, while the complete wildcard on the 19-driver grid will be Chelsea footballer Thibaut Courtois.
The series will also be a family affair, with Arthur Leclerc once again set to compete with his older brother Charles. And the Albon family have a similar sibling rivalry in store this week, with young Luca set to go toe-to-toe with Alex.
The new series will be streamed online. A donations page is aiming to gather a significant donation to contribute to the WHO COVID-19 Solidarity Relief Fund.
“The initiative is a response to the current global pandemic lockdown,” the promoters said in a statement.
“[It] gives the drivers another opportunity to race online, to entertain fans across the world, and to raise some money for the WHO fund that has been established to help fight coronavirus across the world.”
While the new series will not clash with any rounds of the official F1 Esports series, today’s race will overlap with IndyCar’s official iRacing series which starts at 7:30pm BST.
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