Since its premiere last year, the VCO Cup of Nations on the simracing platform iRacing has provided exciting races on virtual tracks. After the competitive event kicked off in 2020 with professional Esports racers on the list of participants, this year eleven national teams consisting of professionals from the real world of racing competed against each other.
After the six races on different race tracks and in different vehicle classes, Team Australia with professional racers Matt Campbell, Nick Foster and Bart Horsten claimed the victory.
Versatility was required
The VCO Cup of Nations, organized by Williams Esports, RaceSpot TV and VCO, was once again a multi-faceted test of the drivers' skills. Be it at the wheel of a GT car, V8 supercar, rallycross car, IndyCar or F1 cars, those who wanted the title had to repeatedly adapt to the new conditions in the shortest possible time and more than once operate outside their comfort zone of the vehicles known from real racing. In the final part of the competition, in which points were fought for in a total of three races, Team Australia was virtually unbeatable.
The event kicked off with a 40-minute race in the Audi R8 LMS GT3 on the time-honored Le Mans race track. There, the Australians Horsten and Foster took first and second place. As only the top two drivers per country are included in the overall standings, the drivers were able to score the maximum number of points thanks to their placings. Third place went to Dani Juncadella of Team Spain. The second race of the finale was an adrenaline-pumping affair, with many Dallara IR18 IndyCar drivers falling victim to accidents and spins. However, after 25 laps of racing, victory once again went to an Australian driver. This time it was Campbell who crossed the finish line first, ahead of Juncadella and Horsten, whose third place brought further valuable points for Team Australia.
Decision at Monza
The all-important final race took place at the wheel of the Williams FW31 Formula 1 car on Italy's high-speed Monza circuit. Fifth and 13th places for Horsten and Foster were enough for the Australians to claim overall victory of the competition with 502 points. Second place in the overall standings went to the team from the Netherlands, 35 points behind. Third place went to the team from Spain with a total of 452 points. Victory in the Monza race went to Phil Denes of Team USA ahead of Richard Verschoor of the Netherlands and Alex Palou of Spain.
The places for the final had previously been determined in a qualifying group phase. This started with a 15-minute race in the Audi R8 LMS GT3 at Spa-Francorchamps. The second race, in Australian V8 Supercars on the street circuit at Long Beach, was equally action-packed and characterized by many crashes. The top three teams in each group then competed in a third race to determine the grid positions for the final. Denes secured pole position for Team USA in a Subaru WRX on the rallycross circuit in Lankebanen near Hell.