With the Union Internationale Motonautique F1 H2O World Championship forced to postpone the first two rounds of competition in Saudi Arabia (March 17-21) and Portugal (May 8-10) because of the COVID-19 pandemic, two-time defending F1 H2O world champion and Florida native Shaun Torrente of Team Abu Dhabi has been going a little stir crazy. He’s been busy moving into his new shop for the marine parts company, STR Components, as well as spending time with his wife and daughter, but he’s itching to get back in the boat to try to earn a third F1 H2O for his team.
On Sunday morning at 9 a.m. EST, Shaun Torrente and many of his fellow F1 H2O drivers are going to do a virtual race—the F1 British Grand Prix—which you can watch live on the F1 H2O YouTube channel. Click image to enlarge for full details.
I’ve talked to Torrente a few times since the pandemic reached the U.S., and the talented driver who has been racing overseas for nine years has been rocked by the pandemic considering the international friendships he holds with past and present teammates, many of whom live in Italy, a country that was hit hard by COVID-19.
Torrente was in as good of spirits as possible on Saturday morning when he called to tell me about an upcoming “project” as well as the “race” he was taking part in on Sunday morning.
“A bunch of F1 H2O drivers are going to be participating in a virtual race tomorrow morning so you can watch is live if you can get up early enough,” Torrente said with a laugh, knowing this California-based journalist usually works late as we’ve connected several times when the early bird from Florida was on his way to work. “It’s pretty fun, we’ve done a few of them. We’re going to have a live announcer this time, too.
“I miss racing so much it’s not even funny,” he said. “This isn’t a substitute, let’s be real, but it helps and it’s still competitive and relatively entertaining.”
If you’re interested in watching Torrente—or your favorite F1 H2O drivers—compete in tomorrow’s virtual race, which starts at 1 p.m. GMT (9 a.m. EST), head over to the F1 H2O YouTube channel.
You can watch previous virtual races as well as various highlights from past seasons on the F1 H2O YouTube channel. If you have a spare minute and a half, I’d recommend watching the F1 H2O-produced video of Torrente explaining how he started racing.