McLaren has had its sights set on the Esports industry for quite some time now. Last year, the car manufacturer hosted the World’s Fastest Gamer, an Esports racing competition which was won by Ruby van Buren. Following the success of that particular event, McLaren has recently revealed its plans for the Esports industry and the company indeed intends to seal its place in the world of Esports with the launch of a new Esports series called ‘Shadow Project’.
The ‘Shadow Project’ Esports series is an extension of 2017’s World’s Fastest Gamer (WFG) tournament. However, unlike the WFG that was purely dependent and focused on the traditional driving simulator titles, Shadow Project will branch out and include more casual racing titles. These will even include smartphone titles like Real Racing 3 which will be played alongside established competitive gaming titles like rFactor 2, iRacing and Forza Motorsport.
The winner of this Esports series will earn a spot on the company’s newly formed Esports racing team which will further create an opportunity for them to join McLaren’s Formula 1 team as a simulation driver.
“Last year’s competition proved that the skills learned as a racing gamer are transferable to the real world. This is unique to the racing genre. We believe that Esports and real-world racing have much to learn and give to each other and last year’s competition was just the start,” Ben Payne, Mclaren Director of Esports said. “McLaren Shadow Project will be the most open and inclusive racing Esports competition on the planet. We are looking for the most talented virtual racers from all countries and backgrounds. To make this possible we have partnered with the biggest racing game brands in the world – Real Racing 3 on mobile, Forza Motorsport on Xbox, PC racing sims iRacing and rFactor 2”
While Shadow Project is entirely owned by McLaren but the company has welcomed various partners including Dell’s Alienware, VR brand HTC Vive, Logitech G, Sparco Gaming, Electronic Arts (EA) and Microsoft. HTC Vive’s involvement is perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of this development as it creates the potential for VR-enabled racing titles to be part of the line-up of the racing games the players will have to triumph at in order to claim the position of champion.
“Season one proved that Esports are a new talent frontier for motorsport and after pioneering the program in 2017, McLaren plans to develop the concept to generate greater global reach and engagement in season two. A strong, diverse Esports program has a direct benefit to McLaren’s innovative ambitions, bringing in new audiences, partners, and talent to motorsport,” says McLaren CEO Zak Brown. “By ramping up over multiple platforms across the online world, it will establish McLaren as an important brand in the motorsport Esports community.”