A thrilling virtual racing experience

James Kon

The first ever Porsche Asia Pacific Forza Cup recently brought together some of the best virtual drivers in the Asia Pacific, including Brunei Darussalam.

Porsche Asia Pacific and Porsche Cars Australia teamed up with Forza Motorsport 7 for the first time to present the simulation racing tournament, which saw participants from the region racing virtually on the thrilling and challenging Forza Motorsport 7 tracks.

Some 400 participants raced in the highly competitive month-long online competition, which was open to players from the Asia Pacific region who hold an Xbox game pass and have either access to a PC, Xbox One, Xbox One S or Xbox One X.

The participants first competed and accumulated points in three rival qualifying races, each taking place over a week from September 29 to October 18.

For the first rivals qualifier week, races began in a Porsche 918 Spyder and took place on the Forza Motorsport 7 Bathurst track, while the second rivals qualifier week saw racers take to Nürburgring track in the Porsche 911 GT3 RS, followed by the third rivals qualifier week which took competitors to Le Mans in a Porsche 919 Hybrid.

At the end of the third rival qualifying race, the top 16 racers with the most points went on to the finals, with a maximum of three from the same country. These finalists then competed in a fierce bid to become the first champion of the Porsche Asia Pacific Forza Cup – Grand Finals on October 31, racing in the Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport on Silverstone and Hockenheimring tracks.

The 16 top racers faced off in a fiercely contended Grand Finals which saw just one point between the champion and runner-up. PHOTO: PORSCHE

Overall, three Bruneians took part in the event, with Md Masdi Mardini excelling by racing his way into the top 16, finishing 15th spot in the Grand Finals. Emerging as the eventual winner was Taylor Smith from Australia, who was crowned the overall champion of the first ever e-sport race of the Porsche Asia Pacific Forza Cup last Saturday by finishing first with a total of 84 points.

His compatriot Geoff Newton came in second place just one point behind, while third place went to fellow Australian Chris Farkas with 70 points.

As the overall winner of the Grand Finals, Taylor Smith will travel to Porsche Experience Centre Hockenheimring in Germany on an all-expense-paid trip for a track experience, which includes 120 minutes of ‘Accelerate Run’ race track training by certified Porsche instructors.

The Porsche Track Experience is a unique programme catered for drivers who want to take their skills to the next level, step-by-step. Drivers get to learn how to control the dynamics of the car in different driving situations and with varying involvement of the vehicle’s electronic aid systems.

In addition, the 23-year-old will also get a Porsche Asia Pacific Forza cup winners trophy, while each podium finisher will get a Porsche 911 collection sport chrono watch, A Porsche design 911 Bluetooth speakers and SGD500 Boss store credit.

During an interview following his first ever win of an e-sports event, Smith said, “It feels weird at the moment. It is definitely a position that I haven’t been in before. It also feels good. This is the first time that I won an e-sports competition.”

Recalling the races in the Grand Finals, he said, “Leading to the second round of the race, I was a bit nervous. But once we were in the race, it was fun.”

It will be Smith’s first time traveling outside of Australia when he travels to Germany and, as it will also be his first time driving a Porsche, he added that it will therefore be a very exciting experience for him.

Porsche shared that this was their first foray into e-sports in the region and that they were excited to see how fans would react. “We decided to create our own tournament to establish our presence in the e-sports stage, and are humbled by the astounding response.

“Through e-sports, many players can experience the thrill of driving a Porsche and we hope more fans can join in the excitement next year,” it said.

“Following the success of the first Porsche Asia Pacific Forza Cup, we are already planning for the next one, and are exploring a potential collaboration with more Porsche subsidiaries in Asia.”

In addition, Janine Dietzel, responsible for experiential marketing at Porsche Asia Pacific said, “Every Porsche is a sports car, and as such, racing is ingrained in our DNA. We have always been driven by sharing this passion with our fans from all over the world. The way Porsche is committed to motorsport has evolved together with the discipline.

“It’s exciting to bring players of different nationalities together online, and see fans enthusiastically embracing this e-sports tournament with us. We look forward to taking the possibilities even further in the future, and welcoming new enthusiasts to the Porsche community,”.