Online racing is here to stay; that’s the message from two-time Supercars champion Marcos Ambrose after his BP Supercars All Stars Eseries debut.
Ambrose was part of a 29-car field in Round 4 of the Eseries, which saw the Supercars drivers and select wildcards race in a North American double-header at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and Watkins Glen International.
The fourth event attracted big-name drivers including NASCAR champion Joey Logano and Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi.
However, much of the focus in the lead up to the event was on Ambrose who won on both circuits during his nearly decade long tenure in the NASCAR Sprint Cup and feeder Nationwide series (now Xfinity Series).
His return to the Supercars scene, albeit virtually, saw Ambrose run a Ford Mustang in the iconic 2004 championship-winning Pirtek colour scheme.
Against a full field of current Virgin Australia Supercars Championship drivers, Ambrose recorded finishes of 14th and 17th at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve as well as 14th and sixth at Watkins Glen International.
However, the night wasn’t without technical troubles for Ambrose whose virtual reality headset had issues and prevented him from qualifying.
“We had some issues tonight,” said Ambrose.
“A couple of hardware issues. I had to have a friend run down the street to grab a new set of VR goggles so we missed a qualifying session.
“Then an overheating PC meant we started one race from the pit lane, but we got there in the end. You get (mechanical failures) in online racing as well.”
Ambrose was as high as third during the final race at Watkins Glen International in the reverse grid race, but fell to sixth in the closing laps as the faster drivers made their way forward.
“Look, we had some great fun,” said Ambrose.
“It was good to get the Pirtek Ford back out there on the track in their 40th year of operation.
“Pirtek has been with me for almost my whole career, so it was great to be racing for them again.
“It was just like the real thing, on the motion rig with the immersion of VR, and the level of competition out there it was intense. Online racing is here to stay.”
Round 5 of the BP Supercars All Stars Eseries continues on May 6 with races at Spa-Francorchamps and the Nurburgring.