Ni Racing team – qualifications winner in the phygital ice racing

Ni Racing team – qualifications winner in the phygital ice racing
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Phygital racing tournament kicked off at the Trudovye Rezervy stadium in Kazan. It will be conducted as a relay on the ice. During its digital part 8 teams will be contesting in the Assetto Corsa simulator, while the physical half of the competition will decide the fastest on the specially arranged track for winter karting.

On the first day the athletes examined the track during the qualification rounds, whose results determined the starting grid of the first segment and the seats number within the simulator. The scoring was made of the best lap time in the simulator and best time of the four consecutive laps on the kart.

Ni Racing came first in the qualifications with Mikhail Simonov and Maksim Soldatov on the team. Mikhail is debuting at the Phygital Games, while Maksim was the runner-up at the phygital racing in indoor karting, so the background of operating the simulator was definitely helpful for him.

Total result of the best Ni Racing’s laps was 7:09.682, which is two seconds faster than that of the SMP Racing featuring Dmitry Arsentyev and Aleksandr Smolyar (7:11.590). Celebrity drivers Anton Shibalov and Ayrat Mardeev from Kamaz Master finished third – 7:13.556.

“This is a new format for me. I’m super happy to get the invitation. Simracing is quite challenging to handle. I have little racing practice but can match my teammate. As for the ice, it’s pure art, thanks to which you learn to slide in a right way, find the right spot to go into the corner, handle the sideslip angle. We’ll have a smooth driving, focus on the stability and won’t risk. We’ll see what result will come up,” Mikhail Simonov said.

“I’m familiar with the format. Winter karting is complicated – it’s very slippery. Simulator is not new to me, I had a fast jump in. The race wasn’t really good but steady that was enough to go through the qualification. To my mind, phygital competitions have a chance to get into the Olympic program in future. First competitions have already raised the high bar in terms of organization and I think over time people will be looking forward to them like football,” Maksim Soldatov told.

The curious fact is that it is the Kamaz Master drivers that have shown the best time in karting but the missing seconds in the Assetto Corsa game didn’t let them climb higher than the third qualification place.

“The concept itself is unusual but fascinating. A mix of digital and real worlds is a cool idea and right trend. I’m keen on simracing, have a simulator at home, trying to participate in the championships now and again, but this is the first time I see such a blend of disciplines. The scale of the event is impressive. Everything is so cool! All organizers are doing good job.

Simracing is the main training for us. We met at home with Anton Shibalov, were driving the simulator, had practices on the track, trained the stagnation points. It’s not natural for us as the people who are used to drive the real fast cars, while here everything is different. Here you have to feel the car not with the body but your eyes and with the head to understand, balance the speed against the sharp curve. The most important thing for us is to enjoy, demonstrate good contest and do as much as possible to popularize the sport in Tatarstan and across our country. It doesn’t really matter who will win. Everybody wants to show the maximum result, but we are all friends,” Ayrat Mardeev shared with us.

Final race is scheduled for 10 March at 18:30 (subject to weather conditions) and will be held as a racing relay with five segments.

Qualification streams feed: VK Play Live, VK Video, YouTube, Twitch and Trovo.

Reference information:

“Games of Future” is a new-format international tournament merging the contests in 16 hybrid disciplines. Each is composed of a phygital (physical+digital) concept combining traditional sport and cybersport or VR/AR technology testing both athletes’ physical fitness and technical savvy. The Event will be held in Kazan in 2024.

Games of Future official channels:


Telegram channel


Phygital Games is a series of competitions in the phygital disciplines preceding the “Games of Future”. Kazan hosted the first Phygital Games on 21-23 September 2022 featuring four disciplines – phygital football (FIFA + futsal), phygital basketball (NBA + street ball), Beat Saber, and drone racing. The Phygital Games in racing (Assetto Corsa + karting races), wresting (Mortal Kombat 11 + MMA), and hockey (NHL 22 + 3-on-3 hockey) took place in November-December 2022. In February 2023 Kazan held the Games in cyber sport – Speerdun, Dota 2, MLBB, CS:GO, and Warface combined with laser tag.