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Review of the DTM Esports Championship: A profile of ‘Team Sheldon van der Linde’.

Last week, Sheldon van der Linde (RSA) and his team enjoyed great success in the virtual version of the racing series, the DTM Esports Championship. ‘Team Sheldon van der Linde’ won the team competition, with team member Moritz Löhner (GER) crowned champion driver. “I was really lucky,” said van der Linde, referring to his team. We present a profile of Moritz Löhner, Tim Jarschel and Leonard Krippner (all GER).

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Munich. This weekend, Sheldon van der Linde (RSA) will complete his second DTM season at the wheel of the Shell BMW M4 DTM at Hockenheim (GER). Last week, he and his team enjoyed great success in the virtual version of the racing series, the DTM Esports Championship. ‘Team Sheldon van der Linde’ won the team competition, with team member Moritz Löhner (GER) crowned champion driver. “I was really lucky,” said van der Linde, referring to his team. We present a profile of Moritz Löhner, Tim Jarschel and Leonard Krippner (all GER).

 

Anyone wishing to be successful in the DTM Esports Championship had to be a real expert on the RaceRoom sim racing platform. At four racing events, the world’s best drivers went head to head in teams of four, each consisting of one professional racing driver and three sim racers, to decide who would be crowned champion. The title ultimately went to Moritz Löhner in the virtual BMW M4 DTM. He outperformed his rivals over the course of the season, and particularly on the final evening. Löhner’s reward includes a test in a professional race simulator and in a real GT4 car. His team-mate Jarschel was third in the Drivers’ Championship.

 

“I was very impressed by my team-mates,” said van der Linde. “When the draw was made for the teams, I had no idea that I had two of the best RaceRoom drivers in Germany, in the form of Moritz and Tim.”

 

Löhner has been driving for the Williams Esports team for just short of two years and, as well as in the DTM Esports Championship, also competed in the virtual equivalents of the ADAC GT Masters and WTCR on the RaceRoom platform this season. “So far, I have focussed fully on RaceRoom this year, due to the large number of championships,” said Löhner, who is also keen to stress his versatility on the sim racing scene. “At the end of the year, I will definitely be doing more driving on iRacing again, and I also regularly compete in big championships on rFactor 2 and Assetto Corsa.”

 

The 22-year-old is currently concentrating fully on sim racing, as that is how he earns his living. “Fortunately, it is working out really well at the moment,” said Löhner. “I am confident that it may be possible to earn even more money in sim racing in the future, because the amount of prize money on offer is increasing.” For that reason, he is fairly relaxed about his forthcoming test in a real GT4 car. “First and foremost, I want to have fun. If I am also able to establish contacts in the real motor racing scene, all the better.”

 

Löhner has not yet given up on his dream of becoming a professional racing driver, like his team captain van der Linde. However, he remains very realistic about his future. “For me, the question of whether a career in real motor racing is possible is clearly a question of money. Judging by experience, I would either have to pay or, at best, drive for free if I were to switch now. However, that would probably mean I would no longer have enough time for sim racing and I would only ever give that up if I were certain that I could make a living in real motor racing.”

 

Jarschel: “I hope there will be more series like this.”

Jarschel, who has enjoyed success with the EURONICS Gaming team, has a similarly relaxed attitude to real motorsport. “I don’t really think about it,” he said. “It would obviously be cool to test myself in a real car, but I am not setting myself any definite goal in that regard. I’ll just see what happens in the course of time.”

 

Instead, both Löhner and Jarschel would like to see another edition of the DTM Esports Championship. “I hope there will be more series like this – series that incorporate real motorsport as much as possible,” said Jarschel. Löhner added, “Having not had any DTM on RaceRoom for the past two years, I was delighted to have the opportunity again to drive DTM cars. It is great fun driving those cars, and the DRS and push-to-pass make for some really cool racing.”

 

Krippner: “Compared to Moritz and Tim, I am still a rookie.”

When it comes to racing, Leonard Krippner could still learn a lot from his team-mates. He only started competing on RaceRoom this season and is improving all the time as he looks to establish himself among the best drivers. “Compared to Moritz and Tim, I am still a rookie,” he said. Krippner is delighted with what he has learned within the team and in the fiercely-competitive DTM Esports Championship: “It was less about asking questions directly, and more about noticing the areas where the guys are better than me in our practice sessions. Above all, I still lack consistency when it comes to race pace.“

 

The DTM Esports Championship is the first major championship in which he has competed. With that in mind, his performances over the course of the season were impressive, including a third place on the grid for the penultimate race at the Red Bull Ring. “That was a big success,” said Krippner. “However, I then gradually dropped through the field in the race itself. That is partly down to a lack of concentration and consistency. It was valuable for me to see that I still have weaknesses, on which I need to work.”

 

Van der Linde: “The likelihood of anyone managing to take that step is definitely greater.”

As the professional driver and thus captain, Sheldon van der Linde was the face of the team. Although he was right up there with the best of his fellow professionals when it came to speed, he was unable to match the sim racers. He explained, “As so often in life, it is all about practice, practice, practice. The more laps you do in a simulator, the faster you are. With the series running at the same time as my real race outings, I simply did not have enough time to prepare with the same intensity as my team-mates.”

 

Conversely, a top sim racer cannot simply take his place in a real race car and go toe to toe with the professionals. Having said that, there are an increasing number of so-called hybrid racers, who are successful in both a real and a virtual race car.

 

Van der Linde likes this development. “It is nice to see that sim racers are increasingly being offered the opportunity to show what they are capable of in real motor racing. Obviously, you still have to be extraordinarily good when you are given that chance, and then you also have to get sponsors on board. However, the likelihood of anyone managing to take that step is definitely greater now.”

 

Will Moritz Löhner seize the opportunity presented by his test in the GT4 car? “I will definitely have my fingers crossed for him,” said van der Linde.

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