Button leads SRO GT Esports series line-up

Josh Suttill

Last month Button made his debut in the virtual world following the postponement of all-real motorsport due to the coronavirus pandemic.

His appearances included an 11th place finish on his F1 Virtual GP debut at Albert Park on Codemasters' F1 2019 as well as a surprise late entry into a round of Team Redline's sim racing series on iRacing.

Button was originally supposed to enter his own team into the 2020 GT World Challenge series (previously Blancpain GT), with World's Fastest Gamer James Baldwin among the driver line-up.

Button will now race in the five-round Esports replacement series on Assetto Corsa Competizione in a virtual McLaren 720S GT3-spec car, alongside former McLaren junior Ben Barnicoat.

The first round of the series will take place at Silverstone on Sunday, with separate races for the three different classes. The top drivers from each class will race in a grand finale race.

The Pro Series class will be comprised of professional racing drivers including many of the 2020 GT World Challenge drivers such as factory Mercedes star Raffaele Marciello and reigning series champion Andrea Caldarelli.

Ex-F1 driver Vitantonio Liuzzi will pilot a Lamborghini Huracan alongside 2020 Daytona 24 Hours GTD-class winner Caldarelli.

Swiss outfit R-Motorsport will field three virtual Aston Martin Vantages for its drivers; Formula 2 racer Luca Ghiotto, 20-year-old James Pull and Ricky Collard – son of 15-time British Touring Car Championship race-winner Rob.

British racers Alex Buncombe and Seb Morris, who are among the drivers running half-marathons to raise money for NHS staff, will lead M-Sport Bentley's charge.

There will be six Porsche 991s in the class, with Haas F1 test driver Louis Deletraz and 2017 Endurance Cup champion Christian Engelhart among the drivers.

The Silver Series class will feature invited sim racers, while the Am-Series grid will feature the fastest drivers from an open qualification period.

Among the leading sim racers will be two of Ferrari's Esports drivers. 2019 F1 champion David Tonizza will race alongside 2018 eRace of Champions winner Enzo Bonito in a pair of Ferrari 488 GT3 cars.

There will also be sim drivers from Fernando Alonso's team, Williams, Redline, G2, Triple A, Jean Alesi's Esports Academy and Thrustmaster Esports.

Eleven manufacturers will be represented in the five-race series which will run for five consecutive weekends, starting with this Sunday.