Formula 1 will host an eSports series in 2017 in a partnership with Codemasters, the developer of its official F1 game to find a virtual ‘World Champion’.
The inaugural F1 eSports Series will begin in September with an online qualification to decide the 40 quickest drivers with live semifinals hosted at the Gfinity Arena in West London on October 10 and 11. The top 20 semi-finalists will reach the finals.
Finals will be held at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November as a three-race gaming contest to decide the first-ever F1 eSports World Champion, on the same day as the actual F1 World Champion is crowned.
The winner will be given a wildcard entry into the 2018 semi-finals, officially named the ‘Formula 1 eSports champion expert’, given a ticket to a 2018 GP and also be depicted as a ‘character’ in the 2018 F1 game.
Registration opens soon on the F1 eSports website, with competitors on Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC (Steam) welcome to enter. Qualification takes place on virtual renditions of Monza and Suzuka on September 4.
“This launch presents an amazing opportunity for our business: strategically and in the way we engage fans,” said F1 Managing Director of Commercial Operations, Sean Bratches.
“First, it’s a growing category with tremendous fan engagement that we’re entering in a big way; and we are proud to have Codemasters and Gfinity joining us on this ride.
“Of course as we do in Formula 1, we’ll continue to evolve and innovate in the way we run this virtual counterpart to the F1 Championship to ensure we provide the most exciting and enjoyable experience we can for our fans.”
London-based company Gfinity hosts eSports events in various genres of gaming around the world and this F1 initiative coincides with Codemasters’ F1 2017 game launch on August 25.
“eSports is one of the fastest growing sectors of gaming already attracting audiences in the tens of millions,” added Codemasters CEO Frank Saigner.
“We are delighted to be announcing this incredible racing series with Formula 1 for our upcoming F1 2017 game.
“The highly competitive nature and high-speed spectacle of the sport combined with the authenticity of our game will provide a thrilling experience for players and viewers across the world.
“We look forward to engaging more deeply with our loyal and passionate community, and to bring new fans to both our game and the sport itself.”
“Formula 1 entering esports is a ringing endorsement for what spectacular entertainment esports provides and how vital it is to cutting-edge organisations that want to push the boundaries of entertainment and fan experience,” said Gfinity CEO Neville Upton.
“Like Formula 1, Gfinity has the experience, skill and infrastructure to put on world-class events and we look forward to delivering fans the Formula 1 esports Series with excellence.”
F1’s foray into eSports has gained serious momentum this year with McLaren also hosting its ‘World’s Fastest Gamer’ competition which involves various sim-racing platforms.
McLaren’s prize also involves a factory role in working with the current F1 drivers on its simulator rig.
The F1 eSports website: f1esports.com.
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