The championship, using Gran Turismo Sport, will get a new format this year.
The online championship will start on April 21, and the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) still supports it ever since its 2018 launch. Anyone over the age of 18 from a participating country can enter, given they have an active PlayStation Plus subscription, a copy of Gran Turismo Sport (and a PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5). Details can be found here. They can enter two different series: the Nations Cup is an individual competition with players competing on behalf of their countries; in the Manufacturer Series, players compete on behalf of their chosen manufacturer. The winners of both are honoured each year at the FIA Prize Giving Ceremony alongside the champions of real-world motorsport.
Last year’s Nations Cup champion was Takuma Miyazono from Japan, who also was the part of Manufacturer Series winner Team Subaru, along with Turkish Mikail Hizal and American Daniel Solis. Following an exciting World Tour event in Sydney, the remainder of the 2020 action took place online with more than two million race entries and over 159 thousand competitors, resulting in 120 million vires and the number of followers for the channels that posted the races grew by nearly half a million.
In 2021, Online Stage 1 will run from April 2 to June 26, where competitors will race over ten rounds of the Manufacturer Series (on Wednesdays) and the Nations Cup (on Saturdays). World Series 1 and 2 will happen on June 6 and July 11. The global top 16 Nations Cup and top 12 Manufacturer Series competitors (initially selected from the 2020 World Finals) will take part in these events. The World Series Showdown, the end of Online Stage 1, will have the 16 best Nations Cup competitors to challenge for a place in the World Series and World Finals against the 16 elite players who contested the first two World Series events (broadcast on August 22). The Manufacturer Series will have 12 teams of three racers to race for World Final points. At the same time, team duties will return for the Manufacturer Series with 12 teams of three racers contesting their ‘Showdown’ with World Finals points on August 21.
Online Stage 2 runs from July 7 to September 25 for ten more rounds to have a chance to reach the World Finals in December. On October 3 and November 14, a new-look elite group of players will contest two more race events. The World Finals will run from December 3 to 5. Friday features the support series, Toyota Gazoo Racing GT Cup. Saturday’s Manufacturer Series final will again see 12 manufacturer teams of three drivers contesting a series of races. Sunday’s finale will be the Nations Cup World Final with the 16 established World Series competitors challenged by 16 new racers who have won their place in Online Stage 2.
„Due to the effect of COVID-19, we are missing the atmosphere of our World Series Events and the opportunity to meet our wonderful competitors directly, but we’re lucky that we can still test new ideas
and continue to grow the FIA Certified Gran Turismo Championships even in this online environment. We’re excited by the new format for the series this year and, with new developments in our broadcast production integrating new technologies, we are certain that we can show everyone even more exciting racing action. While we are looking forward to getting back to meeting up with competitors and audiences in person, we feel it is right to keep the Championships purely online in 2021. I wish all of the fantastic competitors who will win their way through a competition involving several million people, both those that we already know in person and those that will be up and coming this year, the best of luck, and thanks for their continued support. I’m convinced that we will see some breath-taking, high-level racing again this year,” explains Gran Turismo creator Kazunori Yamauchi.
„We are entering the fourth year of a very strong relationship with Gran Turismo and it has been such a success. Digital Motor Sport has come to the fore during the pandemic, and it was great to see so many competitors taking part in the Championships last year and to watch such an exciting World Finals. With previous winners from Brazil and Germany joined by last year’s winner from Japan, this is proving to be a truly global series,” the FIA’s Deputy President for Sport, Graham Stoker, said.
„Aware of the need to bring the discipline’s stakeholders together in an ecosystem that benefits everyone, the FIA has worked on a strategic plan for Digital Motorsport, which aims to promote its inherent qualities, namely mass participation, diversity, its affordability and its potential to drive interest in motorsport and become a grassroots discipline in its own right. The FIA Certified Gran Turismo Championships are one of the key assets of this strategy and we strongly believe that the future is bright for this form of racing!”, Anna Nordkvist, FIA Digital Motor Sport Commission President, added.
Source: Red Lemon press release