As we suspected, the winner of McLaren-Honda’s mysterious esports competition will get something much better than a cash prize.
McLaren will become the first Formula One team to step into the world of esports this summer when it launches its World’s Fastest Gamer (WFG) contest, the company announced Thursday. Unlike Formula E’s Vegas eRace, in which the winner was given a share of a $1 million prize pot, McLaren will offer its “champion of champions” a one-year contract as an F1 simulator driver.
Most sim racing events require competitors to race on one specific platform, but McLaren’s won’t. Because the winning racer will play a vital role in developing the team’s future F1 cars, it wants to have a large pool of competitors.
“World’s Fastest Gamer really aims to democratize the process of finding the best virtual racer out there,” McLaren CEO Zak Brown said in a statement. “The contest isn’t limited to one platform or one game; we’re very keen not to restrict access or entry for people, but rather welcome the worldwide gaming community, whether that’s on mobile or on high-end simulator platforms.”
McLaren posted two tweets Tuesday that teased the competition, but gave almost no details thereof. However, one tweet included “the ultimate job,” which led us to believe sim racers would be competing for a contract with the Woking, U.K.-based outfit.
Esports has massively grown in popularity recently, as is evident from traditional sports organizations, such as the NBA, launching their own leagues. In fact, McLaren says that, globally, gaming currently is a $100-billion industry with year-over-year growth of 10 percent and an audience of 300 million.
WFG’s final round will be a 10-person race that will take place in the McLaren Technology Centre. Six of those spots will be given to sim racers who will be selected by F1 and esports experts, while the remaining four seats will be filled by winners of online qualifying events that will take place this summer.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter@McLarenF1