McLaren Racing is back competing for wins in Formula 1 this year, and that’s not the only hot item for the race team.
McLaren, based out of Britain, is launching its fourth season of the Logitech McLaren G Challenge, the world’s largest esports racing tournament. The competition took the green on July 1, and it goes through Jan. 15, 2022, with the finale in Las Vegas.
Thanks to this unique competition, McLaren is boosting its brand, all while finding new partners to work with.
“McLaren Racing embraced Logitech McLaren G Challenge as a way to keep racing fans entertained, but we quickly realized it was an opportunity to collaborate with Logitech G in an industry that continues to explode,” Lindsey Eckhouse, director of licensing, ecommerce and esports with McLaren Racing, said.
“G Challenge is in a class of its own, delivering an opportunity for amateur drivers and motorsports enthusiasts to compete and race like professionals. We look forward to another year of excitement and fun, building McLaren’s presence in this space.”
This year, however, in order to elevate McLaren’s brand awareness globally, the team will launch the Pro-Am celebrity grid on Wednesday, July 7. Not only will McLaren racer Lando Norris be taking part in the Pro-Am, but so will Nascar’s William Byron and Parker Kligerman, both well known in the eRacing community. Rapper A$AP Ferg will join the trio as well.
Two teams of six drivers will compete on iRacing, and they will compete in both a stock car and open wheel race. Byron and Norris will draft their teams before the competition as they show celebrities what their actual racing life is like.
“I’ve attended a couple of Formula 1 races and met the McLaren team,” A$AP Ferg said. “They are a great team and iconic in their racing heritage. I’ve always enjoyed cars and McLaren make some of the best from a Formula 1 and supercar perspective; they make it all.
“It’s great to be working with McLaren and Logitech as part of the Logitech McLaren G Challenge Pro-Am Series, and to race against pros such as Lando Norris. It’s going to be fun.”
And A$AP Ferg thinks he has a chance to beat Norris, who has an average finish of 4.8 with McLaren this year.
“I would say Lando but just because he is a pro,” he said when asked who his biggest challenge is. “Although it’s all to play for on the day so I reckon I have a good chance at taking it.”
The virtual Pro-Am will also include drivers from the Arrow McLaren SP effort from the NTT IndyCar Series. Felix Rosenqvist will be in the events, and so will former racer Robert Wickens, who was paralyzed in a 2018 incident at Pocono Raceway.
Wickens has been recovering ever since, and McLaren has been quite supportive. This won’t be his first virtual competition, either. He also competed in the IndyCar iRacing Challenge last year and in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The grand prize of the overall competition is a four-day paid trip to London, with a visit to the McLaren Technology Centre, coaching with Norris and a VIP experience at the 2022 Formula 1 British Grand Prix.
Led by CEO Zak Brown, McLaren’s Formula 1 team is slowly improving with Norris and Daniel Ricciardo piloting the team’s two cars. Norris already has two podium finishes through eight races this year, and his counterpart is adjusting after making the switch from Renault.
On the IndyCar Series side, Patricio O’Ward sits second in the championship standings with victories at Texas Motor Speedway and Belle Isle.
This is not the only Formula 1 esports competition, but it is certainly one of the largest. Formula One Esports Series takes place each year, with a prize fund of $750,000.
Last year, Formula 1 held virtual events with its drivers during the Covid-19 pandemic, as did Nascar and IndyCar.
Original posted at www.forbes.com