Motorsport

RAF Rally Team Turns To E-Sports For New Season Preparation

The team are training virtually while they cannot get in their cars because of lockdown.

The RAF Rally team have been preparing for their new season during lockdown with eSports competitions.

The racers have seen their sport stopped due to coronavirus restrictions but have managed to work on their skills thanks to virtual simulation.

Their most recent tournament was a Winter Series but the team is now looking towards their next competition – the RAF eRally Series.

The action starts on 1 April and Corporal Phil Hall, who races for Team UK as well as the RAF, explained how the eSport is set up.

"We compete on an online rally simulation software. We've got members from all over the Royal Air Force who come together to compete socially but we also run competitive championships," he said.

"We run an overall RAF championship but we also run seasonal championships – the most recent one being the Winter Series."

Ken Pike was a commentator on the Winter Series which was streamed live on the RAF eSports Twitch channel.

He said the differences between real-life racing and the eSport are unique.

"It's strange circumstances because you usually don't get the hundreds of different camera angles. You are usually looking through the eyes of the driver as it were," he said.

"It gives you a unique position to understand what they are doing but also not have to be focused on doing it."

The eSport allows the team to practise skills that can be taken into real-life scenarios (Picture: RAF eSports).

He was also full of praise for the racers, saying: "I think it's really incredible seeing the skill level of these guys.

"It's tremendously difficult and I'd urge anyone to have a go because the challenge behind it is very extreme and to see these guys do it so flawlessly and cleanly every week is quite remarkable," he added.

During this time when the competitors cannot physically get in their cars, the chance to work on their skills through an eSport has been invaluable.

Cpl Hall added: "From my personal point of view as a co-driver, I've been able to train co-driving with my drivers via the internet where they have been driving in the game and I've been speaking to them over Discord or some other connectivity app.

"I can see their screen and read the page notes when they want it. It's allowed us to train to, sort of, an elite level without having to be sat next to each other which obviously we've not been able to do easily."

Corporal Nathan Yates has also been part of the action and said: "Although the simulation isn't completely accurate, it's [a] very good representation of the real world."

The RAF Rally team kicked off their action with the recent Winter Series but what exactly happens?

BFBS Sport explains all in the YouTube video below.