Esports: Franchitti virtual Indycar winner, Fittipaldi still has it at 73

Triple Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti won a virtual ‘Legends Trophy’ on Saturday while two-times Formula 1 world champion Emerson Fittipaldi showed at 73 that esports is not just for the youngsters.

The Brazilian, who won his F1 titles in 1972 and 1974, joined a stellar field of drivers from the Americas and Europe in an over-40s race organised by Torque Esports and www.the-race.com.

Franchitti, 46 and a four times IndyCar champion, came out on top after 11 laps of Silverstone’s National Circuit in simulated 1975 Brabham BT44 cars with all competitors joining remotely.

British endurance racer Darren Turner was second with Mexican Adrian Fernandez third and Australian 2009 Le Mans winner David Brabham, son of the late triple F1 world champion Jack, fourth.

“It was a lot of fun and all the guys are already on the chat group making arrangements for next week,” said Franchitti of a fun event put together after all real-life motorsport was stalled by the coronavirus pandemic.

Fittipaldi came 13th, ahead of compatriot and three-times Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves who failed to finish.

The race was a prelude to the third in a series of All-Star Esports battles, with the latest won by Dutch professional gamer Bono Huis.

“I wish, in my time, we had simulators. My life would be much easier,” Fittipaldi, whose Italian son-in-law Max Papis was also competing, said before the event.

Italian Emanuele Pirro, a five-times Le Mans winner and regular Formula 1 steward, was in a first corner collision with Colombian pole-sitter Juan Pablo Montoya at the start.

Pirro blamed the Latin American and said Montoya, a two times Indy 500 winner, had been ‘very optimistic’.

“Apart from this it was great… I really enjoyed it very much. Especially with Emmo Fittipaldi. So much respect for him joining the race with us,” he added.

“I really hope there will not be many occasions (to race online) because of course the reason why we are all free is because of this world situation.”

Fittipaldi has plenty of family competition to keep him on his toes, with young children from a third marriage and two grandchildren making their way as professional racers.

Pietro Fittipaldi, 23, is a test and reserve driver for the Haas F1 team while 18-year-old Enzo Fittipaldi is a member of the Ferrari driver academy.

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