Formula One is finally stepping into the esports ring.
F1 is set to kick off its inaugural Formula One Esports Series following the Aug. 25 release of Codemasters’ “F1 2017” video game.
Online qualifiers for the championships will be held throughout September on Xbox One, PlayStation4 and PC, with the top 40 players making it to the live semifinal at the Gfinity Arena in London on Oct. 10-11, according to Autosport. The 20 fastest sim racers then will advance to the two-day final event, which will be held at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
“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,” F1’s head of commercial operations, Sean Bratches, said.
Earlier this year, McLaren launched its first sim racing competition, World’s Fastest Gamer, which is taking place on various platforms, such as iRacing. The grand prize of McLaren’s tournament is a one-year contract as a simulator driver.
In addition to a guaranteed spot in the semifinals in 2018, the first F1 Esports Series champion will win a truly unique prize. Codemasters will design a character based on their likeness in “F1 2018,” marking the first time a non-F1 driver will be included in one of the franchise’s installments.
The winner reportedly also will be dubbed an “F1 Esports expert,” and presumably will provide commentary in future broadcasts of the virtual championship.
Thumbnail photo via Formula One Esports Series