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Abstract

In the wake of global shutdown due to Covid-19, the world was put on hold. The initial effect of the cancellations halted what could have been a potentially fortuitus season; however, the 2020 motorsports season still persevered in the absence of physical contact via home-based sim racing. While there has been previous research into how the world of eSport and sim racing fit into sport, there has never existed a greater opportunity to look at how true motorsport fans would react to such a shift to the virtual racing world. This research seeks to answer the question of whether eSports is an accepted replacement for live motorsport as defined by fan consumption practices. To answer this question fully, a data analysis of how fans have responded to motorsport turning to virtual sim racing was conducted by recording the fan engagements on social media platforms and the total number of views for each virtual grand prix throughout the 2020 virtual racing season. The data collected will be used to track the rate of increase or decline in viewership over the course of the Formula 1 and IndyCar Virtual Grand Prix (VGP) season and will focus specifically on how well received the races were in terms of social platform interactions and how those interactions correlated to actual views.

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