Fantasy auto racing takes the traditionally passive experience of fandom and turns it into something proactive and hands-on. In a fantasy league, you put your racing knowledge to use and compete against other people in contests that reward those who are well-versed in the world of racing. A few online leagues even offer real money payouts to the winners.
If you look around, you’ll find fantasy leagues for just about every form of organized racing in the world. Most leagues still take place in the real world but a few websites do host season-long leagues for the major racing organizations. In this guide, I’m going to provide an overview of how fantasy racing works and discuss some of your options for playing online.
Best Fantasy Site for Motor Sports:
How it Works
Fantasy racing is essentially a competition of spotting talent. Your goal as a team manager is to draft a team of drivers who are capable of placing well in major races. Once you have a team, you earn points based on your drivers’ performances on the track. Your opponents in the league also form their own teams and then on race day, each team is awarded points as their drivers complete races.
The specific rules always vary from league to league, but most leagues give you a virtual budget in order to pay drivers their salaries. Driver salaries are determined by the league organizer and are priced according to each driver’s perceived skill. The challenge for you is to form the most effective team without going over budget.
Fantasy leagues that don’t use a salary cap system instead impose restrictions on how many times you can choose any one driver in a single season. These leagues free you from budget concerns but you’re still required to pick and choose wisely because there’s a limit on how many times you can draft the top prospects in the sport.
Points are awarded for placing well in races, leading laps, achieving the fastest lap and so on. As the season progresses and races are completed, points are awarded to each team. The winners are determined at the conclusion of the final racing event of the season. Whoever has the most points wins the league.
Again, the rules won’t always look exactly like this. Some leagues make it as simple as having each person predict the top 5 or 10 finishers of each race. Other leagues have you draft a team of just drivers and yet other leagues have you pick drivers, engines, tires and other vehicle components.
Fantasy Racing Sites
Motor sports racing doesn’t lend itself well to the daily fantasy concept (such as what you see at DraftKings and FanDuel) due to the infrequency of races. Additionally, US law states that for a real money fantasy league to be legal, the results cannot be based on a single match or event. This puts the major sites in a difficult position in which they would like to cover racing but don’t have a clear path forward.
NASCAR Fantasy Sites
DraftKings.com: DraftKings expanded into fantasy NASCAR a while back and it is by far your best bet. DraftKings is stable, respected and has the largest fantasy racing contests by a long shot. They have contests with buyins ranging from $1 to more than $300 and guaranteed prize pool events that routinely top $100,000.
Try it yourself at: www.draftkings.com
Yahoo Fantasy, FOX Sports and NASCAR.com are the main sites for season-long NASCAR leagues. These leagues are mostly played for fun with the occasional small prize awarded at the end of the season. Your points total is carried over from race to race across the entire season, but you do get chances to switch up your team and draft new drivers between races.
Read more here: Fantasy NASCAR
Fantasy Formula 1
Formula 1 may be a massive spectator sport but it’s tough to find sites that have anything to do with F1. The only sites that I’ve been able to find host season long leagues. FantasyLeagueGP.com is the only one that I know of that actually awards real prizes to the winners. You can join at the beginning of the season for £10 and then compete against other people for a share of £20,000 to be awarded at the end of the season.
The rest of the F1 fantasy sites out there are hosted for fun only. Some of the most in-depth F1 leagues have you pick drivers as well as vehicle components. Points are awarded not just for placing well in races, but also for good performances in practice runs and qualifying events.
Read more here: Fantasy F1
Indy racing leagues are hosted primarily for fun and last for an entire season. Some of the major sites for IndyCar leagues include FantasyIndyCar.com, IndyCarFanzone.com and PrimeFantasySports.com. The first two are hosted only for fun and cost nothing to play.
IndyCarFanzone.com: IndyCarFanzone.com hosts free-to-play leagues that last for the whole season. For each race in the season, you get $1.6 million to spend on five drivers.
FantasyIndyCar.com: The season-long leagues hosted here are free to play and award no prizes. You can join leagues started by other people or use the website to host your own private IndyCar league.
PrimeFantasySports.com: This league is played for real money but I have some serious reservations about its legality because its rules page explains that total payouts are based on the number of people playing. The fantasy sports exemption written into the UIGEA clearly states that for a league to be legal, prizes paid cannot be dependent upon the number of contestants.
Battley Cycles MotoGP: Battley Cycles is a dealership based out of Maryland that hosts online fantasy games at motogp.fmfl.net. This game is free to play and awards replica cycles to the winners of its leagues. In these games, you pick six riders for each of the season’s 18 races and earn points if your riders finish in the top 16 in any one race.
FanXT.com: FanXT hosts fantasy leagues for a variety of sports including MotoGP. Leagues here are played for fun only. You can join public leagues at will or create your own private league for friends and family.
MCN.FantasyLeague.com: This is another free-to-play league that offers prizes to the winners. Last year’s winner won a free trip to the MotoGP round in Qatar complete with grandstand tickets, flights and accommodation.
FantasyRiders.com: FantasyRiders.com hosts both public and private leagues that are all free to play. Last year’s contest ended up attracting nearly 3400 entries.