Season Three of the V10 R-League launched on Friday and just as the two seasons before it the unique league and 'team vs team' competition provided some exciting high-speed drama.
Newcomers and sim racing heavyweights Mercedes AMG Petronas Esports had the perfect start possible against Team Fordzilla, winning all of their match races and coming out with four points to kick off their campaign in Group B.
Led by two-time F1 Esports World Champion Jarno Opmeer, all three of the Mercedes drivers impressed with teammates Bono Huis and Cedric Thome proving they have got up to speed quickly in the incredibly fast GRS-1 V10 car.
The car, this year with an added 80bhp Push-Pass boost function, saw drivers across all teams registering lap times on the series' chosen circuits; Silverstone, Monza, Yas Marina Circuit, Mugello, and Spa-Francorchamps, that would rival those set by F1 drivers on the same tracks last season.
The boost also made for some brilliant overtakes too, most notably Opmeer taking the tight line to undertake Team Fordzilla at the newly designed Yas Marina Circuit.
In Group A the tie between Jean Alesi Team Suzuki and Williams Esports was postponed due to technical problems with the Italian team driver setups. In Group A's other tie Yas Heat proved their off-season driver recruitment will make them a tough opponent for any of the other competitors.
Heat's newest driver James Baldwin streaked off into the lead at every opportunity in the match, ensuring his team scored a commanding 3-0 win against Romain Grosjean's R8G Esports heading into the final team race. It looked like the Yas Heat team would follow Mercedes suit with a 4-0 whitewash but a controversial contact at the last corner meant that R8G earned enough points in the team race to mean that no one had the deciding total to take the final point of the day.
The final match of the round was Team Redline versus Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports. Season one winners Team Redline recruited BMW Sim Racing stalwart Kevin Siggy in the closed season and alongside Michal Smidl and Enzo Bonito the team looks balanced to challenge for honours again this year.
For a moment it seemed Red Bull though had the read on Redline, taking an early lead in the match with a relay race win at Silverstone. But with the three drivers from Redline working in unison across the remaining races to perfection, the Max Verstappen-backed sim team took away a 3-1 win over the Oracle RBR Esports team.
Heading into Match Day 2 next Friday the remaining two teams in the competition, last years' finalists Aston Martin (Group B) and Season 2 champions BMW Sim Racing team (Group A), will add some extra spice to the competition and are expected to be a strong match in each of their respective groups.