The recently launched Harvey Norman Supercars Forza Challenge marks the latest chapter in a Supercars gaming story that spans two decades.
A national competition will culminate with a showdown at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, where the eight fastest e-Sports racers will be paired with Supercars drivers in front of a live and online audience.
Qualify now for the Harvey Norman Supercars Forza Challenge
The new Forza Motorsport 7 will be the battleground, with the iconic Mount Panorama and cars from the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship having featured in recent versions of the franchise.
Bathurst has, unsurprisingly, been a common element when it comes to the championship’s gaming presence.
Touring Car Champions got the ball rolling on PC in 1997, with virtual cars superimposed over video footage of the 6.213km layout, as part of a partnership with the Holden Racing Team.
Around the turn of the millennium, Dick Johnson V8 Challenge was released on PC in 1999 and Glenn Seton’s Ford Tickford Racing AU Falcon from the 2000 season could be found on PlayStation’s genre-changing Gran Turismo.
Then the dominant force on- and off-track, HRT worked with leading developer Electronic Arts to make its 1999 Commodore an unlockable car in Need for Speed: High Stakes (on PlayStation and PC) and HSV Adventure Racing (on Nintendo 64).
EA Sports took another step in 2002 with V8 Challenge on PC, a game that featured four tracks and a handful of teams, sponsoring the Holden Young Lions – including Rick Kelly’s solo debut at Sandown in 2001 – as part of the deal.
The championship took centre stage in the early 2000s through Codemasters, with three officially-licenced games, based on what started as the popular TOCA series.
V8 Supercars: Race Driver led the way in 2002, with seven tracks and 21 cars from the corresponding season.
Subsequent versions were also released for Mac and the PlayStation Portable, culminating with V8 Supercars 3 in 2006 that included every track and the full field.
Supercars first appeared in Forza Motorsport with the third instalment released in late-2009, with four Falcons and four Commodores.
Bathurst joined the list of circuit in Forza Motorsport 5 in 2013, and the championship’s presence has continued to grow through to the launch of 7 next month.
Xbox One and Forza branding has even been seen on the physical grid, including with DJR Team Penske in 2014 and ’15 with Marcos Ambrose and Scott Pye, and Triple Eight’s ’13 Bathurst wildcard for international aces Mattias Ekstrom and Andy Priaulx.
An update to Real Racing 3 last September brought Supercars to the mobile game, while they have been a mainstay in iRacing, including with user-generated liveries