London, UK (Tuesday, July 12, 2016): The recent unveiling of the eSPORTS+CARS professional virtual race team was the first step in a program which aims to bridge the gap between the virtual and real world’s of motorsport.
eSPORTS+CARS driver Kieran Blacklock beat hundreds of fans at the FIA Formula E eRace competition at Battersea Park for the chance to race off against the professional Formula E drivers.
Blacklock set the fastest lap of the race against the professionals as fans got to take a close look at the potential for motorsport to play a major role in the rapidly expanding eSports industry.
Quickly establishing itself as a leader in the cross-promotion of real and virtual racing, FIA Formula E’s event attracted key industry leaders including Michael McClary, Director, Partner Development, Turn 10 Studios – the team behind the Forza Motorsport title.
“We see a lot of racing drivers now talk about how they play it on Xbox or on other consoles or on PCs or whatever it is to help learn a track or to help get that corner right or learn where the braking point is for that particular race,” McClary said.
“Then we’ve seen a lot of programs that have taken people from gaming and has helped to identify guys that are real good at that and taken them to real racecars.
“We get IndyCar drivers come up and have a look at our tracks, especially when we’re building a game up to get that piece right and I expect that to get further and further.”
The competitive nature of motorsports and the desire to beat your friends as rivals will continue to drive the growth of the eSports motorsport genre according to Andy Tudor, Creative Director, Slightly Mad Studios – creator of the Project Cars franchise.
“When it comes to the racing genre, there has always been a pretty competitive edge to it and everyone is clambering for those last hundredths and thousandths of a second,” Tudor said.
“We’ve seen that when we introduce our autolog system in our Need for Speed title that it was an extremely compelling part of the game.
“People would not just play the career mode, not just play online but to actually want to beat a friend. So we always knew this idea of friends wanting to beat each other and potentially friends joining together to form a team and trying to beat another team was something that was going to really influence Project Cars.
“At the same time we saw eSports taking off over the last few years, here we are it is 2016 and we’re at the Formula E event and eSports is directly built into their experience as a motorsport in real life.
“In Project Cars we knew we wanted to do the same thing as well, we saw this competitive angle, we saw eSports and the two things are just a marriage made in heaven.”
The eSPORTS+CARS race team will compete in major virtual championships across multiple platforms competing against major teams who actually feature some of the biggest starts of real world motor racing.
“When I first started you only had Grand Prix Legends that had multi-player online that you used through a 28.8k modem and cars were flickering all over the place but at that time that was awesome, I was racing against someone over my phone line,” Don Durham, Team Principal, Team Redline.
“Now, on platforms such as iRacing or rFactor 2 you can have up to 60 or 100 people online at some times, you can also have driver swaps and there is hardly any latency, it’s just a completely different thing – it’s much more collaborative, especially with GT Racing.
“Over the last five or so years we’ve started to have a lot of real drivers join us for practice or training suc as Max Verstappen, Richie Stanaway, Nick Catsburg – all big names in real motor racing and they use us as their platform for training.
“We’re seeing a real crossover between sim racing and real racing and that’s great. We had existing fans but certainly on the back of having Max and Richie driving with us use our fan base grows.”
eSPORTS+CARS has already attracted key partners including former 24 Hours of Le Mans winners and European Le Mans Series champions, Greaves Motorsport.
The British sportscar team already has first hand experience with gamers aboard their cars at Le Mans.
“We’ve worked with various gamers in endurance racing in our LMP2 Sportcar programs since 2012,” said Jacob Greaves, Team Principal, Greaves Motorsport.
“We’ve taken guys who have been very good at gaming and been a part of their training process to becoming good racers. We’ve had success at Le Mans, we’ve come third on the podium with two gamers in the car which is great feat.
“Initially the concept was wild and crazy and people thought it would never happen you must do karting and go through the usual steps but as we’ve proven and other gamers in other race teams have proven. that it is possible to learn the trade on the PC or Xbox or Playstation or whatever it may be and come through to perform well at the highest level.
“For us it is a natural progression, it’s great to be a part of the first professional team and it’s great to be working with Darren Cox and eSPORTS+CARS. It’s great fun, we’ve always enjoyed working with Darren and we look forward to seeing where it can take us.”