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After the success of the Asian Touring Car Series, Adrenaline Impact and Vertex Esports are back with a new tournament, this time joining forces with SDeal Gaming, Simmatch and Torqu3 Lubricant Malaysia to launch the SDeal Saga Cup. Another Assetto Corsa event, this tournament pays homage to Malaysia and its most iconic vehicle, the Proton Saga. Yes, you heard that right. Competitors will be taking the 1985 car onto the racetrack.

With how involved the country is in motorsports and how many fans of the sport we have here, it only seems fitting to have Malaysia's very first car as the star of this event. Because it's not the most common choice when it comes to sim racing, it's going to make things even more interesting to watch. How often do you get to see Proton Sagas in high-speed races of this calibre? Exactly.

Qualifying races will be held at the Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia while the main races will take place at undisclosed locations (for now). Joining the racers will also be a cast of invited drivers and influencers - whose identities will be revealed at a later date.

To make it worth the competitors' time, the organizers have got some attractive prizes for the winners. A VNM Shifter, an aluminium racing rig, Torqu3 lubricants, and additional goodies for viewers who tune in. If you're keen on competing, just head over to the official form to sign up. As long as you can race in Assetto Corsa, you're eligible. To watch the tournament, follow Vertex Esports or Adrenaline Impact on Facebook for the livestreams. Galeri Kereta, the official media partner will also be hosting a Corolla KE30 giveaway to celebrate exceeding 1 million followers, find out more!

SDeal Gaming Saga Cup Dates

The E1 Championship has been going on for the past few weeks, and while it's been exciting to watch the races, we were thinking to ourselves - would it be more exciting if we were the ones behind the wheel? Since we weren't hardcore racing game fans, we decided to give it a shot to see what makes this genre so appealing to millions of people worldwide.

Firstly, a disclaimer from the writer of this piece - I am terrible at racing games, let alone racing simulators. In the past, I have been engrossed in arcade racers like Need For Speed: Underground, Initial D, and the ever-popular Daytona USA. The only game I ever considered myself good at was Mario Kart on the NDS, and it has been aeons since I picked up a racing game seriously. For me trying out RaceRoom Racing Experience, it was a whole new world.

First Impressions

On the surface, racing games seem simple enough. You choose your car, your track, and you start racing. In that regard, RaceRoom does the job magnificently. There are no frills or difficult menus to navigate - starting a race can be done in a matter of clicks, which I appreciated. After all, if racing is what you want, this is what you get. There are plenty of options for you to go through to customize your controls and racing experience (that is another story), but if you're happy with default settings - it's easy peasy.

Visually, the game isn't breathtaking - understandable since it came out in 2013, and graphics have improved a lot since then. However, what it makes up for the lack of style is performance. Running the game at full HD, highest settings, I was able to get a consistent 144 fps, which I appreciated. After all, in these games, speed is everything. Not to say that it is a bad looking game - there's just nothing mind-blowing about it. There weren't any graphical issues and I didn't encounter any visual bugs. And while I haven't visited these race tracks in person, they look similar enough to photos and videos I've seen before.

Sonically, the game performs great - from the roar of the engine to the tyres on different surfaces and your gears changing - you'll be able to tell everything that is going on from sound alone. I can only assume that's what it sounds like behind the wheel of a real car when you're on a track (just that the real thing probably sounds way louder), but for what it's worth, I was very impressed. Never thought I would say that about a racing game!

RaceRoom's controls were top notch. I expected this because it was a simulation, but I didn't think they would be that tight. My experience with racing games in the past has always been me sliding all over the place or constantly over and/or under-steering. In this game, pressing left or right turned the car enough just enough for me - and I didn't even have to tweak my steering settings. Shifting gears was responsive, and so was braking. This didn't mean I was any better at racing than in other games, but it did make me feel that all mistakes were my own and not because of my car or the game's physics. I didn't have a steering wheel setup (which probably would have been more enjoyable) but playing the game with a keyboard or gamepad was fulfilling.

Customizability - from the amount of controls available, to all the ways you can tweak your vehicle's performance, this game has everything (I think) an enthusiast would want in a racing sim. There's so many settings to adjust, I don't even know where to begin. I stuck with the defaults for everything during my first playthrough. But speaking as someone from a hobby that's all about customizing (mechanical keyboards), I can see the appeal of such features in a game.

Bumps and Run-offs

I'm terrible at driving games (not so bad in real life), but this game has made me realize how bad I truly am. Would it be fair to call it the Dark Souls of racing games? Maybe, if you're as bad as me. And if this is what real-life racers have to go through without the safety net of knowing that this is virtual, playing this game has made me appreciate their skills even more.

You see, this game is a simulation, so cars are supposed to handle like how their physical counterparts do. Sure, we don't experience the g-forces against our bodies, the rumble of the vehicle, and all the other sensory experiences behind a real vehicle. But simulations are supposed to be as close as you can get. Granted, I don't drive cars at this speed (or even close to) during my daily commute, but if I ever did, I know I've probably done something very wrong to be in such a situation.

I tried starting the game with all assists off and manual transmission to give myself a truly immersive experience (fun fact, the racers in the E1 Championship have to disable all assistance for the tournament) - the game was hell. I found myself forgetting to shift up or down, not braking enough, crashing into walls, running myself out of the track, and making countless other mistakes.

I'm not ashamed to say: I quickly gave up on hard mode, switched to easy, and with all the help enabled, I could finally have fun in the game. Don't get me wrong, it was still a difficult game, but these 'training wheels' enabled me to drive my car around like a normal person.

However, if you intend on becoming better at the game, you can't rely on this assistance. The braking and transmission assist tends to slow you down more than necessary, so you tend to lose a lot of speed when taking corners and sharp turns. You'll need to be able to do all that on your own in the future if you want to set any records. Maybe I'll eventually become good enough at the game to turn up the realism, but for what it's worth this is how I'm having fun for now.

Free To Play?

A lot of games have been stigmatized for being free to play, and for a good reason (no thanks to unscrupulous game developers that have flooded the marketplace), and I am pleased to report that RaceRoom doesn't fall into that category. For a game this polished, it's amazing that they didn't charge any money upfront to it. Besides the occasional screen advertising offers, there's nothing predatory at work here.

RaceRoom might be almost 7-years-old at this point but it has a healthy-enough player base which makes it easy to find multiplayer servers to race in. If you're content with racing against AI or yourself, that's not even going to be an issue!

The base game gives you a handful of cars and five tracks with multiple layouts each. Additional cars and tracks will cost you 4-5 Euros, though you can buy packs of them as DLC content at a discounted price. For first-timers who know nothing about racing, I would say that this would be a good starting point to get into racing sims. If you're experienced and know what you want, you can easily buy what you need without breaking the bank. However, if you're someone who wants every piece of content for the game, it's not going to be cheap.

Conclusion

What started as an hour long-trial turned into many hours more of racing because it was so enjoyable. I never expected to have this much fun from a game branded as a simulator. You can be sure I'll be spending many more hours on the virtual racetracks. Who knows, maybe you'll see me in the next season of E1 Championship (I kid, I don't stand a chance).

With RaceRoom being the first racing simulation that I have ever played, I can safely say that other racing simulations will have a lot to live up to! The fact that the game is free-to-play, makes it even better. If you've been thinking of getting into racing games and want a title to try out, you've got nothing to lose. RaceRoom is available on Steam now.

And to answer the question we were asking ourselves at the beginning of the article - yes, racing is more exciting when you're behind the wheel. However, if you don't have the driving skills to match the vehicle you're handling, it's best to leave it to the pros and watch the action from afar.

Be sure to catch all the action of the E1 Championship, live on eGG Network, 17 December, at 10pm (+8 GMT)!

The premier simulated (sim) racing tournament of the E1 Championship will be flagging off its third round tomorrow at the Dubai Autodrome, so there's simply no better time than the present to catch up on the latest standings from Round 2 in the Shanghai International Circuit. Fret not, we'll get you up to speed in a jiffy right below this wall of text.

Race 1

Resurgence's Ayman Aqeem continued his winning streak last week's Race 1, topping the charts once more at the Shanghai International Circuit. Unlike his victory at Sepang Race 2, even his fellow teammate, Mika Hakimi, shared the glory by placing right behind him in second; on top of that, Mika was the ultimate wingman, shielding his partner from Stratos Motorsports' Naquib Azlan, who was hot on their heels. In other related news, Blackwolf Racing’s Kalen Chin got the best lap time in Race 1 too.

Race 2

It was almost a heart-puncturing (you'll get the inside joke later) moment for Naquib, although the same couldn't be said for Kalen. GT Radial Eurasia's Inigo Anton initially had the lead with the reverse-grid format, up until Naquib overtook him in Lap 6. The Filipino ended up dropping to an unfavourable position after spinning out of control in Lap 9, and the same incident happened to his Malaysian competitor three laps before the end of the race. As if he wasn't in enough duress, one of Naquib's tyres punctured in the final 19th round - fortunately, the significant lead he had over the other top 3 drivers, Mika Hakimi and Team Safehouse's Mikko Nassi, was all he needed to still reach the finish line first - the Stratos Motorsports representative also had the fastest lap time in Race 2 of the Shanghai International Circuit.

Overall Round 2 standings.

Current overall standings

Due to his fiery performance on Round 2, Naquib Azlan made the jump from fourth to first place in one swift swoop, with previous top-seat holder Mikko Nassi dropping to second place. Ayman Aqeem remains comfortably in third place - thanks to his Race 1 victory - and his teammate, Mika Hakimi, climbed up from fifth to join his buddy. Inigo's lacklustre performance on Round 2 cost him plenty, but he's still in the top 5 keeping it together.

If you'd like a more detailed rundown of last week's race, we got it for you right here.

Catch the virtual drivers once again, as they continue the E1 Championship at the Dubai Autodrome tomorrow (3 December) at 10PM (GMT +8), LIVE on eGG Network TV (CH800) and Facebook.

Be sure to follow E1 Championship on FacebookInstagram and Twitter for weekly updates and exclusive race coverage.

E1 Championship Season Zero is organised by eGG Network, Axle Esports and Astro, in partnership with RaceRoom and eRacing GP.

Round 2 of the E1 Championship saw drivers competing at the Shanghai International Circuit. Missed out on the action? Not to worry, we’ll walk you through how the results transpired as well as some of the key moments that took place on the track. 

Qualifying Round (to determine driver starting positions)

The short 5-minute opener race ended with an intense neck and neck finish from P5 upwards. Just look at how close these lap times were!

P1 to P5 finishes: 

Race 1: The power of two

Here’s a handy map guide to get a feel of how some corners look dastardly hard

Lap 1 saw Sepang's Race 2 P1 finisher, Resurgence’s Ayman Aqeem making an early mistake at Turn 6, allowing Stratos Motorsports’ Naquib Azlan to get in front of the pack. At the same time,  Blackwolf Racing’s Kalen Chin was also off to a flying start, whizzing through drivers and up the leaderboard, only to fall off abruptly due to a broken front nose cone. The Australian had to retire to the pit stop this early to patch up his vehicle. At the same time, both Resurgence drivers, Ayman Aqeem and Mika Hakimi were breathing down Naquib’s neck. 

Nobody likes getting off track

Fast forward to Lap 4, GT Radial Eurasia’s Inigo Anton was sitting comfortably in P2, but lost control of his vehicle mid-way and spun off track. The Sepang Race 1 second-place finisher, unfortunately, fell off hard and did not manage to finish Top 5 this race. Towards the end of the lap, Ayman overtook Naquib at Turn 14 by the skin of his teeth. Naquib did not relent however and kept following Ayman ever so closely behind. On the final 10th lap, Ayman was already ahead in P1, with Mika following him closely in P2. Mika managed to keep Naquib at bay who was closely following behind in P3. 

Ayman (left) was just heading straight for the finish, while Mika (middle) was holding off Naquib (right) until the very end

It all came down to the wire at the final straight as Mika managed to effectively support Ayman who was ahead in P1, shielding against Naquib who was looking for any nook and cranny to zip past. It paid off as Ayman managed to secure a first-place finish for Resurgence at the end of Race 1. This marked a consecutive win for Ayman, as he managed a P1 finish back in Sepang’s Race 2 as well.

At the same time, Kalen managed to secure the Race 1 best lap time despite a nightmare start. During the post-race interview, the young lad mentioned that while he was in the pit stop, he recollected his thoughts and shifted focus towards getting the fastest lap as the next best course of action.

P1 to P3 Best Lap times: 

  1. Ayman Aqeem (Resurgence) - 1:33:921
  2. Mika Hakimi (Resurgence) - 1:33:698
  3. Naquib Azlan (Stratos Motorsports) - 1:34:349

Race 1 Best Lap time: 

Race 2: The long tyre-ing game

In the longer race format of Race 2, teams had to be wary of Shanghai as tire durability was actually on a 3x modifier value (wearing out tyres a lot more easily). Teams had to diligently plan ahead, going for softs for better traction but worst off durability? Or opt for the hards for better durability but trade-off cornering performance? Or perhaps a mix of both as pit stops were something that needed to be considered for a longer endurance race.

During Lap 1, Inigo managed to capitalize on the reverse-grid format and obtained a strong start, being ahead of the pack in P1. 

Naquib displayed heightened aggression to get ahead

Sometime during Lap 3, Naquib aggressively pushed to obtain P3 despite picking up some slight contact with other drivers. It was only at Lap 6, where Naquib managed to overtake Inigo. Ayman also managed to squeeze through a tight corner to overtake Inigo as well, causing him to drop to P3. 

Lightning can unfortunately strike twice in the same race

As bad luck would have it, at Lap 9, Inigo spun out again to lose a favourable position just like in Race 1. Fast-forwarding to Lap 16, Ayman himself also faced an unfortunate circumstance, spinning out of the track due to an incident with a backmarker (a driver that is last / way behind the pack in a race). 

Mika was trailing ever so closely behind a punctured tyred Naquib

In the final 19th lap, Naquib’s bold strategy of using softer tyres was paying off, until one of them got punctured. Holding on for dear life, Naquib barely managed to make it past the finish line thanks to the significant lead he built up against P2 and P3 drivers Mika and Kalen at the time. It was worth noting that Kalen dropped to P4 towards the very end as well due to a punctured tire on the final lap, with Mikko Nassi picking up the P3 finish. As the perfect cherry on top, Naquib also managed to obtain the fastest lap time for Race 2 as well. 

P1 to P3 Best Lap times: 

  1. Naquib Azlan (Stratos Motorsports) - 1:32:903
  2. Mika Hakimi (Resurgence) - 1:34:838
  3. Mikko Nassi (Team Safehouse) - 1:35:302

Race 2 Best lap time: 

Overall Round 2 Standings 

Top 3 Drivers of Round 2

Overall Championship standings

Top 3 performers (Drivers)

Top 3 performers (Teams)

The action may be over for now, but stay tuned for next week’s race that will take in Dubai Autodrome! Be sure to follow E1 Championship on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for weekly updates and exclusive race coverage.

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