Renault Sport Team Vitality Announce First Two Drivers For 2019
May 2, 2019
Renault Sport Team Vitality are the first of the teams competing in the 2019 F1 New Balance Esport Series to show their hand for the upcoming season, revealing two new drivers, with a third to be selected at the Pro Draft, to round off a new-look roster of talent for the battles to come.
Jarno Opmeer of the Netherlands, and Cedric Thomé from Germany, will both compete for Renault in the Pro Series, which gets under way with the first of four live shows in September. It will be the first taste of the F1 Esports series for Opmeer, while Thomé is a returnee, having been a finalist in 2017, and a Pro Draft contender in 2018.
THE NEW BLOOD
The team endured a tricky season in 2018, ending up ninth and bottom of the pile come the end of the F1 Esports Pro Series in November 2018. The squad in black and yellow will be hoping that this shake-up yields a better return.
Opmeer is not your typical virtual racer. A former Renault Sport Academy driver, he has competed in several motorsport disciplines, including the 2017 SMP Formula 4 Championship (finishing runner-up with seven wins), as well as moonlighting in the Formula Renault Eurocup in 2017 and 2018, racking up a serious amount of on-track experience.
His inclusion in the Renault roster for 2019 marks the first time that an academy driver from an F1 team has gone on to be selected for an esports slot.
Thomé meanwhile is already an established name in the F1 Esports Series, having been present at 2017 finale. He earned seven points and an eventual placing of P17 in the drivers’ standings. He also qualified for last year’s F1 Esports Pro Draft, although was not selected by any of the nine teams.
The final member of the squad will be selected at the Pro Draft in July, completing the team’s 2019 lineup.
2018 Renault driver James ‘JD’ Doherty was part of the team in 2018, and transitions from a full-time driver to a coach, offering support, guidance and expert knowledge to help get the new recruits up to speed with what’s required to compete at the top level.
There are two sides to every story, and the appointment of the new driving duo means that two of their 2018 drivers – Sweden’s Kimmy Larsson, and 2017 bronze-medallist Sven Zuerner – are officially released from their contracts.
That means that they’ll be eligible to re-enter the competition later in the year via the pro draft, so if any of the teams were yellow with envy at this rapid duo in the 2018 season, they’ll be able add them to their pool of talent…
Fancy your chances of filling the third slot on the Renault team roster? If so, there’s never been a better time to qualify! The second qualifying event in Baku, is open now – so take on the challenge, and you could be lining up in yellow and black for the Pro Series later in the year…
Even if you’re not the fastest, by completing a qualification attempt, you’ll be entered into a prize draw to win 2 tickets to the Rolex British Grand Prix. All you need to enter is a copy of F1 2018 on Xbox One, PS4 or PC, and to make sure you’re registered on F1esports.com and linked your gaming account. Good luck!