This weekend, more specifically on Sunday 12 March, the third edition of the Belgian Cup is scheduled. In one day, 112 pilots in different groups will fight for the title of Best Belgian in iRacing, and that with the GT3 cars available on the platform and on the Sebring virtual circuit. A busy day for Adrien Debois and Valkyrie, who have been taking care of the organization for three years.
In 2021, the cup of Belgium was held above the baptismal font. Then inspiration was drawn from the Coupe de France, according to Debois: “after the success of the first French editions, every year we heard more people pleading to do the same on the Belgian side. However, no one seemed to really push through this, while the French organizers even supported the foreign editions. We then contacted them to organize a cup of Belgium. It was important for us that they gave their blessing to avoid people seeing it as if we had ‘stolen’ their concept. For example, we organized the first two editions with 161 and 104 simracers respectively.”
In terms of attendance, Debois and co are certainly not allowed to complain this year either. Until March 1, it was possible to register and no less than 112 Belgian simracers have registered for this edition, whereby fans of the virtual Belcar will immediately recognize some of the participants. Although there are also specific rules associated with this. “In France, it is quite easy to distinguish the participants, given that they have their own region in iRacing. This is not the case for Belgium, because we are part of the Benelux. So we look at the place of residence they have filled in. Although Belgians living abroad are also allowed to participate, they must be able to prove their nationality with their identity card,” says Debois. The number of participants ensures that everything can be completed in half a day. “If 128 pilots had registered, we also had a preliminary round in the morning, but now it will all start in the afternoon and the final will be held in the evening.”
It will be a busy Sunday afternoon. Thus, the Cup starts with four quarterfinals. The first starts at 12:40 and the other three sessions follow one hour later. The semi-finals will start at 16:40, with the second at 17:40. Finally, everything comes together in the final, which starts at 18:40. In terms of format, the quarter and semi – finals are exactly the same, read: ten-minute qualifications, where each pilot is given two laps and a 30-minute race. For the final, the qualification remains unchanged, but the race itself is as much as 90 minutes long. The pilots will have to behave, because at thirteen incident points they get a drive-through, and at seventeen it is instant disqualification. In the final there is a wider margin with 23 and 30 incident points respectively with the same punishment. In addition, there will also be a race director who will watch the races.
All this on the Sebring virtual circuit. When registering, everyone was allowed to pass on their preference and the American circuit emerged as a favorite. The track is not unknown to both many sim and real racers. Especially the part around the start/finish with the concrete blocks that date back to when the circuit was still an airfield, the pilots will experience firsthand. A perfect circuit to crown a new champion. In terms of car type, the choice fell on the GT3s. Since there are eight cars at iRacing and a maximum of as many different cars can be used in a race, this is perfect. The simracers get free space in terms of the set-up, although the balance of performance that iRacing has set is maintained.
Of course, there is also a prize to be won. Debois: “just like last year, the overall winner will get a trophy and a pair of FFX gloves. In addition, we have a prize for the best promise. Those below 2,000 iRating points who hit the furthest will receive a free entry ticket to the virtual Skylimit Sprint Cup.”And finally, the whole Sunday afternoon will be broadcast live. “Our partner Exype will broadcast all matches in the afternoon live on their Twitch channel, albeit in French. During the first season we also had Dutch-language commentary, but since there was little interest at the time, we decided to continue it only in French for the time being. But who knows, maybe we can organize this next year to have a broadcast in both national languages.”