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Mario Andretti making esports debut at virtual Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso continues esports challenge
Torque Esports' Memorial Day weekend esports battle features seven former Indy 500 winners in action live on ESPN
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Wednesday, May 20, 2020) – Racing legend Mario Andretti and two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso are the latest motorsport stars to join Torque Esports/Engine Media's' All-Star Legends Trophy event to be held Saturday on a virtual version of the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The Race All-Star Esports Series powered by ROKiT Phones features the leading stars of world motorsport from Formula 1, IndyCar, sports cars, and more.
The 80-year-old Andretti, a former Indy 500 winner, Daytona 500 victor, Formula 1 champion and four-time INDYCAR champion, will make his esports debut on the rFactor 2 simulated version of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Alonso, who made his esports debut in the series last weekend, will now return to the virtual version of the fabled 2.5 mile oval where the Spaniard made a spectacular Indy 500 debut in 2017.
Andretti is one of seven Indianapolis 500 winners in the field – joining Emerson Fittipaldi (1989 and 1993); 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). With the addition of Andretti, the group has combined to win 13 Indy 500 crowns.
Both Andretti and Alonso have Formula 1 World titles to their credit, Andretti winning in 1978 and Alonso in 2005 and 2006. They join Fittipaldi (1972 and 1974) and Jenson Button (2009) as Formula 1 champions in the field.
The combined record from the esports entry list features:
Six F1 World Championships. 1462 starts, 81 wins and 67 poles
13 Indy 500 wins. 13 IndyCar titles, 2906 starts, 204 wins, and 246 poles
21 wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, three World Touring Car Championship titles, two World Rallycross Championship, one World Rally Championship crown and an FIA World Endurance Championship title
"I have a pretty steep learning curve ahead of me. It's been a long time since I've been a rookie at Indianapolis," Andretti said.
"I'm trying to learn as quickly as possible and I hope I can deal with some of these young stars. I'll just commit and hope I'm competitive."
Alonso qualified fourth in his first esports event last week in the Legends Trophy on the virtual version of the Zandvoort road course in the Netherlands. He was scheduled to compete in the 2020 Indianapolis 500, which was originally planned for this Sunday.
"I was looking forward to heading back to the speedway and racing for real this weekend but the All-Stars esports event is a great way to keep sharp," Alonso said.
"These guys in the Legends Trophy are all great champions and everyone's racing instincts really transfer across into the virtual world. I'm also getting the chance to race against some absolute legends of Indy including Mario Andretti and Emerson Fittipaldi. That is an incredible opportunity."
A number of drivers on the entry list have real-world experience at the speedway, including Andretti, Fittipaldi, Montoya, Castroneves, de Ferran, Franchitti, Kanaan, Adrián Fernández, Bryan Herta, Mario Dominguez, Max Papis, Michel Jourdain Jr, and Oriol Servia.
Other entrants and Indianapolis rookies include Andy Priaulx (3 x World Touring Car champion); Darren Turner (3 x 24 Hours of Le Mans class winner); David Brabham (Formula 1 driver and 24 Hours of Le Mans winner); Emanuele Pirro (Formula 1 driver and five-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner); Jan Magnussen (Formula 1 driver and four-time 24 Hours of Le Mans class winner); Jason Plato (98-time British Touring Car Championship race winner); Mika Salo (Formula 1 driver and two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans class winner); Petter Solberg (Former World Rally Champion and two-time World Rallycross Champion); Tiago Monteiro (Formula 1 driver and World Touring Car Championship race winner); Tom Coronel (World Touring Car Championship race winner) and Vitantonio Liuzzi (Formula 1 driver).
Saturday's three-hour event will air live on ESPN in the US – graduating from its regular weekly spot on ESPN2. The esports races are also Eurosport in the UK, online throughout Eurosport on their digital platforms and on The-Race.com's YouTube page. A 90-minute highlight package is distributed globally via 71 international networks reaching more than 610 million homes.
The Race All-Star Series powered by ROKiT Phones Legends Trophy will be supported in Saturday's event by the Pro Cup, which features current-day racers and factory entries from Mercedes-AMG Petronas AMG Esports, Bentley, Aston Martin Racing, BMW, Hyundai, ROKiT Venturi Racing and Williams Esports.
The Sim Masters competition featuring the world's best professional sim racers will also be on the program.
"We started this series 10 weeks ago to provide motorsport fans with much-needed entertainment while real-world motorsport was on hold. But the championship quickly developed a life of its own in attracting some of the biggest names in world motorsport," Torque Esports President and CEO, Darren Cox said.
"To have the likes of Mario Andretti and Fernando Alonso join our event is just staggering. We have drivers in the race who are absolute legends at Indianapolis and plenty of other amazing stars who never had the opportunity to compete at this incredible venue.
"While it is a different experience to race here virtually, we have guys in this field who are just thrilled at the opportunity and blown away at the chance to race at Indianapolis against the likes of Mario Andretti and Emerson Fittipaldi."
The Legends Trophy aces will contest two races during Saturday's event including a reverse grid battle for the second event.
Torque Esports recently expanded with the acquisition of Frankly Inc. and WinView, Inc. The soon-to-be-renamed company – Engine Media Holdings, Inc – will be at the forefront of esports, news streaming, and sports gaming across multiple media platforms.
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