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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Article was edited on 26 Nov 2020 to reflect point adjustments that were previously unaccounted for
Missed out on Round 1 of the E1 Championship? Here’s a handy summary and recap of the races that took place last week in Sepang, Malaysia. Fans will be up to speed in no time to enjoy Round 2 tomorrow!
In Round 1, the drivers had a field day at Sepang, where Team Safehouse’s Mikko Nassi finished in first place earning himself 25 points. Close behind were GT Radial Eurasia’s Inigo Anton and Resurgence’s Mika Hakimi, each bagging 20 and 16 points respectively.
In case you need a refresher on how points are tallied here’s a quick summary:
Drivers earn Race Points based on their placements (the higher the better), earning additional points for achieving the fastest lap time. In the final round of the championship, double points will be on offer for drivers. Fans can check out this handy article should you want to know more about the drivers, rules and format of the race.
In Race 2, Resurgence’s Ayman Aqeem pulled off an exceptional run, bagging not only a position 1 finish but being the fastest lap achiever too. He sat comfortably at the top with 27 points, while Stratos Motorsports’s Naquib Azlan and Team Safehouse’s Mikko Nassi finished 2nd and 3rd with 20 and 16 points respectively.
Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore have put themselves on the board comfortably after their bout in Sepang. Resurgence and Team Safehouse each managed to find a position 1 finish to sit comfortably at the top 3 table position alongside GT Radial Eurasia. Viewers should also keep an eye on Stratos Motorsports as they have been consistently finding top 5 finishes in both races.
But that’s just Round 1 ladies and gents! Round 2 will see teams compete in Shanghai, China next! Be sure to catch all the drivers in action tomorrow at 10PM (GMT+8) LIVE on eGG Network TV (CH800). Fans can opt for eGG Network’s Facebook for the live stream too if that's your jam.
Viewers can also check out the full VOD of Round 1 right here if you want to relive the action!
Troy Eimann and Raja Ariff Bin Raja Azmi may not have their own driving license yet, but as Scuderia Stratos’ representatives in the Asia Pacific premier sim racing tournament of the E1 Championship, the racing duo would most certainly pass the driving exam on their first try.
Those unfamiliar with the sim racing scene may think these teenagers are far too young to be racing virtually against other older drivers, but that couldn’t be further from the truth - it's a sport for people of all ages to enjoy. In fact, it's not surprising to meet other drivers as young as 11-years-old on the digital circuit! “It doesn't how old they are, what matters is their play style,” said Ariff, the younger of the pair.
Even though Troy and Ariff are sim racers for Scuderia Stratos (Stratos Esports’ second team to compete in E1), they weren’t always virtual drivers. The duo actually started out as kart racers, so they know a thing or two about real-life motorsports. Ariff dived headfirst into the professional side of driving in early 2018, while Troy slowly dipped his toes into the driving scene before going pro a year later. “I wanted to know what I’m capable of,” the 17-year-old said. “I felt the need to challenge and improve myself.”
The two developed a passion for motorsports at a young age, prompting them to join Stratos Motorsports - founded by team manager James Russell ten years ago - to pursue a career in professional driving, regardless of whether it was sim racing or real-life. As a car enthusiast and motorsports fan, Troy “wanted to get the feel of driving, which is why I started with karting to build my passion”, a stepping stone for aspiring racers. Ariff echoed his partner’s sentiments, having spent time with his father watching races on TV and even caught the Formula One (F1) World Championship at Sepang International Circuit twice. Plus, both the Kedah-born prodigy and Troy were playing sim racing games before they started karting.
“I wanted to try something new,” the half-German explained his intentions to transition into sim racing more frequently, saying that he gets more track time and better improve his driving skills. It’s also less physically demanding than karting, to which Ariff agreed as well. “It’s way more relaxed, and you can just turn on the air conditioner when it gets too hot,” he said with a hint of a smile.
Nevertheless, sim racing has its own challenges for the boys. The first obstacle they’ve already overcome was the improper driving rig they started out with, placing the racing wheel on a table and sitting on common household chairs; it didn’t make Troy’s adaptation to the digital experience any easier either. “It’s gotten a lot easier once I had a proper set-up, especially when I can adjust my seat positioning properly,” said Troy.
But, arguably the biggest issue both of them face, is the lack of sensation that comes with real-life driving. “You can’t feel the car as much in sim racing, whereas you can feel the drag and what not in motorsports,” Ariff revealed, saying that it’s harder to anticipate and gauge the car, especially when it’s raining in-game. Troy added, “There’s a feeling of rawness when it comes to karting, with the track and everything. But, you don’t get the same sensation in sim racing.”
Even so, the Scuderia Stratos racers believe that it’s possible for sim racers to become motorsports drivers. “The same concept applies to both, it’s mostly about being fit to race in real-life,” said Troy. Plus, sim racing is much more affordable and accessible than real-life motorsports, where an overwhelming number of factors have to be taken into account just to get a team going, including car repairs and engineering, manpower, safety and so on. Fortunately, they don’t have to think about such worries at the moment, not when they have their own teenage daily schedules to adhere to.
“We don’t really have a fixed routine. It’s mainly just balancing online schooling and practising when we have free time,” Troy disclosed. Ariff added that they’re “prioritising school over racing” for now, and when it comes to karting, it wasn’t a problem for them to juggle that and their education since they kart on weekends. Though their training is done individually, they actually work out at the gym together. “Exercise contributes to developing the fitness components needed for driving, it’s what makes us fitter physically to better prepare ourselves,” Troy said. “We also have a group chat with the rest of Stratos Motorsports where we discuss strategies, recommendations and so on from time to time,” which they also do with the Stratos Motorsports team, their supposed opponents in E1. “At the end of the day, we’re all still in the same team.”
To anyone who aspires to be a professional racer, the racing pair advised to have your own personal goals, stick to it like super glue, and work hard towards it. “If someone disagrees with your dreams, don’t listen to them and don’t give up,” Troy said. We wish them nothing but to be successful enough to drive their dream cars in the near future: the Porsche 911 GT3 RS for Troy, and the Aston Martin DB11 for Ariff.
Be sure to catch Scuderia Stratos in action this and every other Thursday (19 November) at the E1 Championship!
The E1 Championship is just around the corner, with Season Zero commencing this 19 November. Before its official flag-off, we managed to spend time with some of the prolific drivers that will be participating in the inaugural e-racing championship.
Introducing Daniel Rein Ooi and Kalen Chin from BlackWolf Racing!
The two drivers hail from Singapore and Australia and are aged 42 and 14 respectively. The dynamic duo make up a potent yin-yang composition: a seasoned IRL on-track driver complementing a prospective up and coming talent.
Daniel has seen his fair share of motorsports IRL since 2012, prior to encountering e-racing in 2016. “I only used it for practising tracks initially,” said Daniel. “Only recently due to the COVID pandemic that my eyes were opened to this growing phenomenon that is sim racing.” It was only during these past few months that Daniel really deep dived into the world of e-racing.
Kalen on the other hand has been behind a wheel prior to getting his actual drivers license! The young driver gave us some backstory of how motorsports came into his life, “I started driving for the very first time when I was 3 or 4, messing around on a wheel and rig setup my dad had at home.” This led to Kalen entering the world of go-karting, with him eventually starting sim racing at the age of 12. “My dad was the one that got me into sim racing. I honestly can’t recall how it all came to be, but he must’ve done something to get me into it haha.”
Both Daniel and Kalen met each other when they were in the karting scene. Fun fact: Kalen’s father used to be a fan of Daniel during his motorsports days when Kalen was much younger. The two would have friendly exchanges from time to time. "Over the last couple of months, I've actually been keeping a close eye on Kalen's progress in his e-racing activities, and realized that he has much promise and potential as a driver," said Daniel. BlackWolf Racing also conveniently has an academy to groom racers like Kalen to transition to IRL racing on the big tracks.
Kalen on the other hand, did do some research on BlackWolf Racing and found that the organization has focused efforts to transition drivers from karts to cars. "Seeing as my dad knew Daniel for a long time, and we've watched him in other races too, it just sounded like a great opportunity to race alongside together," said Kalen.
“Kalen was racing really well too at the time during the eRacing Grand Pix,” said Daniel. “When the E1 Championship popped up, the first thing that came to mind was Kalen.” Upon displaying an interest in participating, he got in contact with Kalen and his father and the rest was history. It was as if everything just seamlessly clicked into place
To be competing at such a young age, Kalen shared that leading a double-life as a student required finesse manoeuvring both on and off the track. “That’s a tough question. Between the two, I did focus a little bit more on my studies due to the lack of go-karting events this year. But normally I wouldn’t be that focused on studies I’d say haha.”
Daniel also has many obligations to juggle between to maintain this lifestyle. As the BlackWolf Racing team owner, he oversees day-to-day running and operations of its training academy and racing teams. Most of Daniel’s day would have already been taken up at this point, with barely any spare time to train on the simulator. He added that “I would maybe only be able to practise 1 to 2 hours a day on the sim tracks.” Daniel jokingly mentioned that his wife would give him an earful should he spend any time longer behind the wheel. Kalen cheekily added “I’m the complete opposite of Daniel haha. When school’s over, I’d come home, eat lunch and just get on the sim (racing rig) and just drive for the rest of the day.”
Just like any other craft, e-racing is something that requires continual routine practice. As such, there are times where drivers would want to step away from the track to rest and recharge. Daniel shared that he would disconnect from the driving wheel and spend time accompanying his wife shopping. Spending family time was a much-welcomed avenue to relax, not worrying about the next intricate corner to manoeuvre around.
Kalen, on the other hand, just can’t seem to step away from the track. He expressed that “I don’t really do anything else besides driving to be honest. Maybe I do watch some Netflix shows or YouTube videos from time to time, but other than that, I pretty much still spend my free time on the sim.”
“I am really inspired by Daniel Ricciardo,” said Kalen. “He’s Australian, I’m Australian, that feeling to be able to represent your country in motorsports is really something I want to do in the future. He’s a really good driver and an overall great guy. He’s always cheerful and never lets himself get down by setbacks.”
“For me, I used to follow the MotoGP scene a lot more back in the day,” said Daniel. It was only much later when he encountered the world of Formula 1. Upon watching various documentaries, Daniel encountered the legendary Brazillian driver, Ayrton Senna. “I unfortunately only came to know of Senna after his passing. I went on to watch his races and have actually watched his documentaries several times over. It still inspires me till today. I was really moved by his racing philosophies.”
In lieu of the upcoming E1 Championship, the two also shared their thoughts on the inaugural competition. Daniel expressed, “I look forward to keeping up with the young and fast racers as I’m not young myself haha. I’ll try to improve myself in terms of e-racing and try to have fun at the same time.” Kalen expressed his aim of finishing top 3 in the championship. “I also look forward to the E1 Championship growing bigger, to become a big part and staple competition in Asia sim racing.”
Like any other race, there are several worries and challenges that participants face during their journey to the finish line. “I feel that one of the most challenging parts of the E1 Championship would be learning more about e-racing in general,” said Daniel. “It really boils down to getting accustomed to the car, setup and so on.” As for Kalen, he felt that the biggest challenge would be his very own self. “I would sometimes not practise for something that I dislike, like a non-preferred map such as the Shanghai circuit for example,” said Kalen. “I am aware that I have to get in the right shape and mentality to practise for this.”
The dynamic duo had interesting rivals in their sights for this championship. “I look most forward to facing Daniel actually haha,” said Kalen. “It’s cool to be able to race against Daniel and have him as a teammate too. There’s also Yevan David from Stratos Motorsports, one of my closest friends, whose really quick in karting and sim racing. His teammate Naquib Azlan is also really quick and having them both in this championship is going to be exciting.” Daniel had reciprocated feelings, stating that “right now it would only be Kalen haha. I look up to him as my role model and the ideal person to challenge. Am actually really looking forward to both of us learning from each other in this championship.”
Like Daniel and Kalen, there are probably many others out there who wish to get behind the wheel one day themselves. The world of e-racing may require potent cornering but fret not as here are some words of advice they’d like to share.
“If you are new and starting out, focus on just getting used to the car and taking things slow at first,” said Kalen. “Once you’re confident with how that car handles, you can slowly push yourself to gradually improve from there.”
“As someone who is quite new to the scene as well, I’d say it would be best to start off with a slower car haha,” explained Daniel. “I personally made a mistake sticking to only driving cars I’ve touched in real life. When e-racing started taking off, I wasn’t used to the cars used then as I was much more accustomed to a slower speed. I would definitely suggest newcomers to explore everything and be versatile in whatever race and car thrown at them.”
Daniel expressed his heartfelt appreciation for his wife’s support throughout this entire motorsports journey. “She wasn’t very supportive initially due to the dangers that came with motorsports. But knowing that it was my passion, she still continued to support me. Am also thankful for my staff that helped me a lot when I wasn’t around during work tending to other urgent matters. Not too sure how many fans I have out there haha, but thank you for supporting us and the local motorsports scene.”
Kalen also expressed his immense gratitude towards his parents. “I would like to thank my father and mother for everything. They’ve sacrificed a lot of me, and I wouldn’t be here right now without their support. They have truly been my number one supporters. I would also like to thank those who tune in to watch my races when I stream them online!”
Be sure to catch BlackWolf Racing in action this 19 November onwards during the E1 Championship!