McLaren announces new esports competition

Formula One team launches ‘Shadow Project’ to select esports player.

McLaren announces new esports competition

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McLaren have announced a new esports initiative, with the winner to earn a place in the Formula One motor racing team’s esports division in 2019.

The McLaren Shadow Project, which serves as a follow-up to McLaren’s 2018 contest, World’s Fastest Gamer, will see the winner get the opportunity to 'shadow' the Formula One team.

Global online qualification heats for the Shadow Project will run in July across a number of games and platforms. McLaren believes that the inclusion of "more casual games" such as Real Racing 3 will allow them to reach a much bigger audience.

The semi-finals will take place at McLaren’s Woking base, with the final held in January to decide the McLaren esports team member.

"In World's Fastest Gamer the simulator was the star," McLaren director of esports Ban Payne told Autosport. "The Shadow Project has broadened the entire programme out, so there are more ways to get involved. The end output of it is we'll have additional talent for our esports team, and more people to bring into our eSports development programme across McLaren as a group.”

Zak Brown, chief executive of McLaren, added: "A strong, diverse esports programme has a direct benefit to McLaren's innovative ambitions, bringing in new audiences, partners and talent to motorsport.

"By ramping up over multiple platforms across the online world, it will establish McLaren as an important brand in the motorsport esports community."

Last year’s World’s Fastest Gamer contest was won by 26-year-old online gamer Rudy van Buren from the Netherlands, who successfully fought off competition from 30,000 other applicants across 78 countries.

Van Buren went on to beat Lando Norris, Joel Eriksson and Timo Bernhard in the heats of the Race of Champions esports event in Saudi Arabia.