Renault DP World F1 Team will field an all Scandinavian driver line-up for the Virtual Dutch Grand Prix on Sunday 3 May with Renault Sport Academy Driver Christian Lundgaard partnered by 2003 World Rally Champion and Castrol ambassador Petter Solberg.
Christian, from Hedensted, Denmark, is looking to build on his impressive debut in the Formula 1 Virtual Grand Prix Series following a podium in the Vietnam race in April. The Formula 2 racer claimed a dominant pole position in the Grand Prix, which was held at Melbourne’s Albert Park, before an unfortunate grid penalty meant he had to work his way back up the order, eventually finishing in second place.
And, Christian has motorsport experience on the opposite side of the garage in rally legend Solberg, who claimed the 2003 World Rally Championship as well as the 2014 and 2015 FIA World Rallycross Championships.
Petter is a guest driver for the team for this race courtesy of his ambassadorial role for team sponsor, Castrol. He also has a personal link to the team as Renault DP World F1 Team’s Head of Performance Systems at Enstone, Pierre Genon, was Chief Rally Engineer to the Norwegian during his 2003 championship winning year.
This will prove a fresh challenge for Petter who is attempting Formula 1 Esports for the first time.
The 45-year-old will use his simulator set-up at his home in Sweden for the race, which is normally used to keep his rallying skills fresh alongside his son, Oliver. With the help of Renault Sport Team Vitality’s group of elite Esports drivers and coaches, Petter is being brought up to speed for the race, which will be held at Interlagos, Brazil on the F1 2019 Codemasters game, following the official Formula 1 fan vote.
This is not the first time a Lundgaard has raced with a Solberg. In fact, Christian’s father, Henrik, the 2000 European Rally Champion, used to race against Petter in various rally championships, including eight world rally events between 1999 and 2001.
The team is looking to maintain its successful start to the Virtual Grand Prix Series after Test Driver Guanyu Zhou backed-up his victory at the inaugural race in Bahrain with a third place in China in mid-April.
Before the Virtual Dutch Grand Prix starts at 18:00 BST on Sunday, there will once again be an exhibition race with the teams’ professional Esports drivers. After disappointment last time out at the Shanghai International Circuit, Renault Vitality will place Nicolas Longuet alongside Fabrizio Donoso, who are looking to return to the high points places.
I’m looking forward to another Formula 1 Esports event. It’s going to be cool partnering up with Petter especially as my dad used to race against him in rallying! It will be great to get back into the racing mentality. As a driver, we always want to win whether it’s in actual cars or virtual. I still have that fighting instinct as do all the drivers competing. I will be practicing many hours to learn a new track, so that’s a fun challenge. It’s going to be cool to race the Formula 1 drivers again and hopefully show what I can do all while putting a show on for the fans.
It’s a real honour for me to be invited to join Renault DP World F1 Team for the Virtual Dutch Grand Prix. Rallying has always been everything for me, but I did have the chance to drive a Formula 1 car earlier in my career! So, to make my debut in a Formula 1 race at this stage of my career is something really nice. Seriously, though, this is very cool. We are all changing the way we do things while the world is like it is and I’m really looking forward to driving with Christian [Lundgaard]. His father Henrik and I competed against each other when we were younger, so I’m happy my team-mate is coming from a good rallying family. Like everything I will give this 110% and do my best. When we do something, we do it with just one aim: to win. But I have one question: it’s definitely too late to get a handbrake fitted to my car?