The first ever IRL all-women sim racing event 'Screen to Speed' crowned Saoirse Fitzpatrick, who received a $15,000 prize, a Next Level Racing rig and will get the chance to test a real race car with Kelly Moss.
The first edition of the women-only esport competition 'Screen to Speed', promoted by female-led esports organization Init Esports in collaboration with Kelly Moss, was a spectacular success and awarded victory to Saoirse Fitzpatrick, from Ireland.
The event, which was broadcasted via Init Esports' Twitch and Youtube channels, saw 20 women – selected via a iRacing Time Attack selection all around the world – competing for a $15,000 and a Next Level Racing rig and a test in a real Kelly Moss race car.
Held at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in conjunction with last weekend's NASCAR Pennzoil 400 race, 'Screen to Speed' aims to become a bridge between sim racing and real life motor racing, providing a cost-effective pathway for women to get involved in motorsport and potentially transition to real-world racing.
The participants arrived on Friday and had the chance to get accustomed with the Next Level Racing - Fanatec - Recaro setup before the actual competition.
The event – which featured guests and celebrities – was opened by images of NASCAR star Hailie Deegan, who had raced the day before in the NASCAR Truck series Victoria's Voice Foundation 200 sporting a 'Screen to Speed' livery on her Ford F-150 truck. Deegan was in commentary booth herself during the event.
Two heats of 10 and 9 sim racers each saw five participants qualifying for the final in each group, after a 12 lap battle around the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Road Course. Callie Baigent (UK), Esmeralda van der Naald (Netherlands), Garnet Collins (USA), Olivia Hayward (UK) and Rocie Gibson (UK) qualified from the first heat.
In the second heat, it would be Aloo Gobi (Canada), Saoirse Fitzpatrick (Ireland), Emily Howe (USA), Athena Leclerc (Canada) and Kristina Ryan (USA) to qualify for the final.
In the 20-lap main race, competition was tight and all eventually came down to an exciting battle between Emily Howe and Saoirse Fitzpatrick; the latter took the chequered flag first, claiming victory in the prestigious event by 0.559 of a second.
Fitzpatrick therefore received the $15,000 prize money, Next Level Racing rig, and will get behind the wheel of a real race car in a few months, mentored by Kelly Moss racing driver Sabré Cook.
Pennzoil, Ford Performance, Init Esports, Kelly Moss, Yahoo, Next Level Racing,
Fanatec, Recaro Automotive, EK Fluid gaming, iRacing, Privé products, WIMNA, TheGameHers, and Femme Gaming all contributed to making this event happen.
P1 Saoirse Fitzpatrick 20 laps
P2 Emily Howe +0.559
P3 Athena Leclerc +8.483
P4 Kristina Ryan +16.122
P5 Esmeralda Van Der Naald +16.342
P6 Oliva Hayward +23.557
P7 Callie Baigent +34.565
P8 Roxie Gibson +1 lap
P9 Garnet Collins +1 lap
P10 Aloo Gobi DNF