Max Verstappen will take on one of his toughest virtual racing challenges to date as he accepts a wildcard entry for the second round of the Aussie Supercars All-Stars E series on Wednesday.
He will get behind the wheel of a virtual 5.0-litre, V8-powered Red Bull Holden sporting his RB16 F1 car livery to go wheel-to-wheel with all regular teams and drivers in the 3 hugely popular Australian touring car series.
Verstappen has been extremely active in iRacing competitions against professional drivers during the coronavirus-induced stoppage of real-life racing and although Supercars is not his go-to virtual series, he is looking forward to his debut.
"I'm looking forward to the race. It's going to be a challenge as it's not a car I've driven a lot on the sim, but they are pretty cool to watch in real life. We always race with Supercars in Melbourne so it's going to be interesting to see how I get on against all the regular drivers.
"I've tried the Supercar now a few times on iRacing and it's a very tricky car to get right. I'm looking forward to racing alongside my mate Shane, or Pastor, as I call him — he's a top shunter on the sim. We race online a lot together so hopefully we can do well for Red Bull and it should be a bit of fun racing against the other V8 drivers as well."
While Verstappen will be in a largely uncharted territory behind the wheel of the Red Bull Supercar, he'll have track advantage over his rivals as Round 2 of the All-Stars series takes place on circuits be knows well, with two races at Silverstone one and two at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya where he scored the first of his eight F1 wins to date in 2016.
Red Bull Holden Racing Team driver Shane van Gisbergen reckons Verstappen stands a good chance. "It's awesome that a driver of Max]s calibre will be on the grid to take us on in a Red Bull Supercar," said the Red Bull Holden driver.
"He's fast and he knows these tracks well, so I expect to see him at the front. Just like be races in an F1, he"s aggressive and won't back down against anyone, so it will be great to have him on the grid this week."