Maastricht to be stage for Netherlands’ first virtual Grand Prix

Maastricht, 12 January 2021 - On Sunday, 17 January, Maastricht will be the stage where Europe’s best simracers compete against each other. They will compete online to win the virtual Grand Prix of the Netherlands, playing from a studio at MECC Maastricht. With an amount that grows each year, the jackpot now totals € 13,500. Esports and simracing have been on the rise in recent years and are also very popular among several Formula 1 drivers. The corona crisis has contributed to simracing’s rise in popularity in recent months. Today’s technologies make it easy for players to imagine they are real drivers in a simulator, racing in a virtual world, complete with that authentic race feeling.

Europe’s best simracers will compete against each other in a historic Formula 1 car on Circuit Zandvoort’s new layout. The Netherlands’ Yuri Kasdorp is one of these top European racers. Yuri is currently driving for R8G esports, the team of none other than Romain Grosjean. The current situation means that these top athletes cannot be physically present at MECC Maastricht but will race from their homes instead. Live reporting on the event will be done from the studio, including broadcasts from local television station L1 and others, as well as in-depth interviews.

InterClassics Maastricht - Dutch Grand Prix Classics
Under normal circumstances, this virtual race would have been held during the InterClassics Maastricht event. The 28th edition of the classic-car exhibition was originally slated to be held from 14 through 17 January at MECC Maastricht, but has been rescheduled for 24 through 27 June 2021 because of Covid-19 restrictions. The exhibition will take a look back at the ‘Dutch Grand Prix Classics, the cars & the legends’ and in cooperation with various museums and private collectors, a unique collection of F1 cars from Circuit Zandvoort’s history will be on display.

Andy Maassen, owner of Sim Formula Europe: ‘We received a lot of positive messages from the esports community last year. This shows us that we are on the right track, and we are convinced that this esports event can become one of the biggest in its class and that in spite of the current situation, the MECC, city of Maastricht and Sim Formula Europe are still able to organise a major event. Maastricht and the venue, MECC, see that esports is connected to the region and also has a future. Let’s hope that we can get back to being able to hold a normal event soon and do what we’re good at: welcoming visitors in person to MECC Maastricht and offering the experience of the total esports concept. But for now, we’re really pleased with the online event we are being allowed to organise and are looking forward to exciting races.’

Erik Panis, InterClassics exhibition manager: ‘We would have liked to introduce InterClassics Maastricht visitors to this virtual world where Circuit Zandvoort will figure as the battleground, fully in line with the theme of our exhibition. Unfortunately, this isn’t possible. We are however happy that Sim Formula Europe, in cooperation with InterClassics Maastricht, will be able to host this event in a virtual world where the virus does not dictate our actions. Simracing has been on the rise in recent years and the explosive growth of virtual racing is one of the few positive things to come out of the Covid-19 crisis. It goes without saying that during the summer edition of InterClassics Maastricht in June, simracing will get all the attention it deserves. Sim Formula Europe will be organising a simrace expo, esports seminar and hold competitions visitors can participate in. Visitors will also have the opportunity to race on Circuit Zandvoort’s track in a full-motion racing simulator.’

Virtueel Grand Prix 2

Virtueel Grand Prix 1

Virtueel Grand Prix 3