Racing legends Fernando Alonso, Rubens Barrichello, and Tony Kanaan are returning to the track virtually this weekend – teaming up with Allinsports and WTF1 for an assault on the iRacing 24 Hours of Daytona.
Alonso and Barrichello originally joined forces for last year’s Le Mans 24 Hour Virtual and were joined by Kanaan for the iRacing Spa 24 Hour, where they took victory in their “split.”
The Alonso, Barrichello, Kanaan esports squad will enter two cars for Daytona this weekend – a race that all three have contested in real life, and Alonso and Kanaan have both won (in 2019 and 2015, respectively).
Like Le Mans and Spa last year, the F1 and IndyCar aces will be supported by esports stars in their driver line-up in a two-car squad for the race.
Alonso and Barrichello will be joined by Olli Pahkala and Isaac Gillissen in an LMP2 Dallara, while Kanaan will race a GT-spec Chevrolet Corvette with iRacing YouTuber David Sampson, plus Dan Suzuki, Bruno do Carmo, Luiz Tavares, and Augusto Costa.
The WTF1-backed squads have been pulled together by ex-Ferrari, McLaren, and Red Bull electronics guru Anton Stipinovich. Stipinovich is the man behind the high-end simulator brand Allinsports – the sim used by Alonso, Barrichello, and Kanaan plus other racing legends including Emerson Fittipaldi, Sebastian Vettel, Charles Leclerc, Kimi Raikkonen, and David Brabham.
So you thought gaming was for kids – Alonso (39), Barichello (48), and Kanaan (46) are all regulars on the esports scene and were part of The Race All-Star Series last year – Alonso going on a five-races-in-a-row winning spree and Barichello winning on the virtual version of the New Orleans NOLA circuit as well as the season final on the Circuit de la Sarthe.
The three racing legends joined WTF1 on their podcast this week as they prepared for the virtual Daytona enduro.
“Having all three of these guys on the podcast this week is amazing. Having all three of them racing this weekend on ‘Team WTF1’ is just incredible. We’re going to be following their progress on all of our channels this weekend and cheering them on,” WTF1’s Tom Bellingham said.
All three stars will continue their real-world racing careers in 2021 – Alonso returns to Formula 1 with the newly-rebranded Alpine F1 squad; Barrichello continues his race-winning ways in Brazilian Stock Car plus Súper TC 2000 and Top Race V6 with Toyota while Kanaan will contest the IndyCar series oval races for Chip Ganassi Racing.
“I really enjoyed working with the guys last year at Le Mans and Spa, and I’m looking forward to tackling the virtual version Daytona,” Alonso said.
“I know Anton from my time in Formula 1, and having the sim at home in the past year has been great, especially during COVID when we were all stuck in the house. It is such a great tool, and it’s pretty cool that all four of us in our LMP2 car can all race together even though we are sitting in our houses all over the world.”
Barichello (322) and Alonso (311) are currently second and third on the list of all-time Formula 1 starts (beaten to the top spot last year by fellow Allinsports user Kimi Räikkönen). They are now enjoying working together for the first time.
“We never got to race as teammates in Formula 1, so it’s pretty fun to now do it virtually,” Barrichello said.
“I really enjoy racing on the sim, although when my son Dudu is home, there is always a battle as to who gets to jump in it first. The iRacing events are really competitive, and you have to stay super sharp to be in the pace.
“It is funny racing against some of these guys when they realize they are actually racing against a guy who used to be in Formula 1.”
Kanaan holds the record for the most consecutive IndyCar starts (318) and the second most race starts of all time behind Mario Andretti (383). He won the real Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2015 with Chip Ganassi Racing and will return to the Indianapolis-based squad for the oval races in 2021.
Since having the sim rig installed in his house – originally located in his closet – the Brazilian has been a regular in iRacing.
“Between having the sim at home and doing miles on my Zwift cycling sim, that has pretty much kept me sane during COVID,” Kanaan said.
“We’ve got a great line-up for the GT car, and I’m just hoping to be on the pace with my teammates. David Sampson is a YouTuber who puts out iRacing tip videos – even in my 40s, I feel like the ‘new guy,’ and I’m learning from guys like him all the time.”
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48 NW 25th St
Miami FL 33127
Ph. (786) 589 2417