eSportsRace of ChampionsSim Racing

eROC World Finalists set to vie for 2023 Race of Champions Nations Cup slots

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Credit: Race of Champions

Since 2018, the Race of Champions has allowed the best in sim racing to enter real-life vehicles and challenge the stars of the motorsport world in the Nations Cup. This will continue for 2023 as Lucas Blakeley, Jarno Opmeer, Martin Palm, and Michael Romanidis will head to Sweden for the eROC World Finals where the winner and runner-up will comprise the Team eROC All Stars.

Assuming the format remains the same as in 2022, the World Final will consist of sim races in addition to turning flying laps on the real-life snow circuit.

The final four were set after an invitational tournament in Assetto Corsa conducted on Monday. Sixteen drivers were invited.

Opmeer was automatically locked into the World Final as the 2022 eROC winner. Blakeley, who finished second in that event to be Opmeer’s Nations Cup team-mate, pulled off a major upset when he defeated Sebastian Vettel in their race. While it was not enough to seal the deal as Vettel and Mick Schumacher lifted Team Germany to the 3–1 win, it certainly created a lifelong memory for Blakeley, who won the 2022 F1 Esports championship for McLaren Shadow. Blakeley clinched his spot after beating Gran Turismo Nations titlist Coque López in the invitational’s final.

Touring car sim racer and photographer Palm previously qualified for the 2022 World Final and will be the Swedish representative.

Romanidis, a Williams Esports member, swept 2021 Ferrari Esports champion Kamil Pawlowski in the online bracket to punch his ticket to Sweden.

“Incredible to achieve this and attend an event which I’ve been watching since a little kid, thanks to @RaceOfChampions for this opportunity and well done to all simracers for putting up a great fight,” tweeted Romanidis after his victory.

The Sim Racing All Stars team made its début in 2018 with Enzo Bonito and Rudy van Buren. Bonito, who was one of the 2023 invitational participants, returned for 2019 alongside eventual Formula One Esports champion James Baldwin.

The 2023 Race of Champions will take place on 28/29 January.

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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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