September 17, 2022 By Wowie Go

First Ever Online to Offline ASEAN Sim Racing Event to be Held in SG

The Hyperdrive Cities Festival to be held in September brings the excitement of sim racing to the Philippines and other parts of the Southeast Asian region without actually having to be there!

If there’s anything the pandemic has taught us is that there is literally nothing you can do out there that you couldn’t possibly do in the comfort of your own home. And nowhere is that fact ringing truer by the second than in the rapidly-evolving world of sim racing. The sub-genre of motorsports that started out in the 80’s as an off-shoot of arcade-style racing has amassed a large following over the decades and it’s starting to catch on over here at our neck of the woods in Southeast Asia.

Now, if you’re thinking that sim racing is nothing close to actual racing you must be living under a rock the last decade. The quality of sim racing software and hardware has been and is continuing to improve at a rapid rate. These days you can find sim racing rigs that look and feel like actual racing machinery and the times that sim racers post on the computer have remarkable similarities to real lap times out on track. Coupled with this is the increase of internet speeds over the last few years and you can now practically go wheel-to-wheel with anybody in the world anytime you like–and that’s exactly what one organization in Singapore is setting out to do.

The Legion of Racers, a Singapore-based sim racing entertainment and lifestyle brand, with the support of the Singapore Tourism Board and McLaren, have announced the very first hybrid online-to-offline sim racing event called the HyperDrive Cities Festival. Held at *SCAPE in Orchard road on September 23 to 25 during the same week during Formula 1’s Singapore Grand Prix weekend, the event showcases real-life city streets reimagined as racetracks where sim racers will get to duke it out in a regional tournament featuring Southeast Asia best–including racers here in the Philippines. 

The beauty of this new online to offline format is that participants need not take the 4-hour flight to be a part of the festival. To participate in the Hyperdrive Cities Championship all racers need is to have a copy of Assetto Corsa on their PC, register on the official website, download the circuits to be used, and be sure to set a time prior to the Festival itself. The 25 fastest racers that do manage to proceed to the Finals would need to pay an entry fee of SGD50, but that’s hardly anything to be worked up about because the racer that does come on top is guaranteed at least SGD 3,500 from the event’s prize pool of SGD 10,000.

However, it may be a very tough ask for anybody to claim a stake in the aforementioned pool, since the tournament will be a true test of driving skill. The competition as announced by founder Melvin Moh will be a one-make race featuring a simulated version of McLaren’s 720S GT3. And as an added challenge to the racers, the cars will be stock with no additional modifications allowed during the competition. To coincide with this year’s new hybrid setup, the event’s organizers also decided to mix things up by extending the fictional Orchard Road SG circuit from 2021–not to be confused with the real Singapore Marina Bay F1 street circuit–from 3.2km to 4.9km, passing through more iconic and picturesque landmarks and locations like Dhoby Ghaut and Fort Canning. The organizers of the event also introduced the second-ever city-based track, the Jakarta Street Circuit. Set in the Indonesian capital’s Semanggi Interchange, the track is a 4.4km circuit featuring a variety of turns around the city’s central business district.  

Other happenings during the three-day event, for those that do make it on-site, include HDC Gameplay Stations for those in attendance, a motorsports-themed augmented reality game master challenge where participants complete to earn NFTs and rare prizes, an electric go-kart circuit open to families, and a concert by local acts RRILEY, Haneri, DJ NashD to cap off the proceedings. “We wanted to create a motorsport festival for everyone, ranging from electric karting for young families to youths and millennials who could watch an entertainment segment at the end of the day that features some of Singapore’s hottest music talents,” said Legion of Racers co-founder Lim Keong Wee.

This pioneering event opens up new doors for those interested in online sim racing, not only in the Philippines but for the entire ASEAN region as well. It eliminates the need for travel and makes racing even more accessible for those that don’t have the time. Who knows, if this goes well enough, maybe Manila might have its very own virtual city circuit in the coming years?

 

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