The search is on to find the FIA World Touring Car Championship’s first batch of online champions following confirmation of the WTCC’s inaugural esports competition, eSports WTCC.
Organised in partnership with RaceRoom, eSports WTCC features a qualifying phase consisting of 10 online rounds and four optional events at WTCC race weekends ahead of a grand finale at a venue to be announced in December, when more than 200 racers will do battle for online gaming supremacy.
eSports WTCC 2017: online qualifying explained
- Drivers enter time attack competitions three weeks prior to the real WTCC race weekends
- Based on leaderboards one week prior to the real event, drivers are grouped into four divisions
- Top 24 of divisions 1 and 2 will be invited to take part in multiplayer races broadcast live online
- Top three in each race will receive time trial tickets for the grand finale
- At the end of the 10 rounds the top 24 drivers from four divisions for the entire season-long eSports WTCC time attack championship will also receive time trial tickets to enter the qualification round at the grand finale
eSports WTCC 2017: onsite qualifying explained
- All visitors to the WTCC races in Italy, Hungary, Germany and Portugal can enter time attack competitions held at those events
- Top 16 drivers at each race weekend will be invited to take part in a live multiplayer race onsite
- The top 3 in each onsite race can also get time trial tickets for the grand finale.
eSports WTCC 2017: the grand finale
- The 256 drivers qualifying either online or at the four WTCC race weekends will receive time trial tickets for the grand finale in December for the ultimate esports showdown
- All visitors to the final event will have the chance to enter the qualification round by purchasing time trial tickets
- All participants will enter a qualifying time attack to divide all drivers into four divisions not taking into account their previous performances
- The top 24 drivers in each division will then be grouped together to compete in four rounds of multiplayer racers on four different tracks and score points based on the real WTCC point-scoring system to find the four division champions
François Ribeiro, Head of Eurosport Events, the WTCC promoter, said: “eSports has the potential to become one of the top five sports in the world with experts indicating audiences of 600 million in less than five years from now, so we are happy WTCC is part of that scope to reach a new audience. We trust our long-term partner Klaus Wohlfarth and RaceRoom to provide a good platform for gamers. Eurosport Events will be behind eSports WTCC to support communications.”
RaceRoom Entertainment AG aims to provide authentic racing experiences using simulation software developed by Sector3 Studios with input from professional racing drivers. The company’s founder and CEO Klaus Wohlfarth, a long-time collaborator with the WTCC through his KW Racing Suspensions organisation, said: “Coming from the world of real motorsports myself I was never what you call ‘a gamer’, but when I sat in a simulator for the first time to compete on the virtual race track I experienced the same emotions I did behind the real wheel. That is when I realised the unique opportunity to make the fascination and emotion around motorsports to be directly experienced by fans as never before. For me it is clear that what we now call emotorsports, which is the competition on the virtual race track on the highest level of skill, endurance and with the right balance between sportive fairness and competitive spirit, is predestined to play a major role in the worldwide eSports boom. In Europe eSports is still in the baby shoes so to say and it is exciting to see how it will evolve. One thing is already certain: With the eSports WTCC with both online and onsite events and the grand finale at the end of the year, motorsports enthusiast around the world will get to experience thrilling races and spectators see fantastic entertainment.”
Participants in the eSports WTCC grand finale will be responsible for their own costs.