Earlier this year the WRC 5 video game was released along with the announcement there will be an official eSports WRC world title up for grabs.
The 2016 eSports WRC Championship will run alongside the official FIA World Rally Championship calendar, kicking off at the season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo (21 – 24 January) and continuing through until the champions are crowned at Wales Rally GB (27 – 30 October).
The season will feature two halves (with separate categories for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC players). The format of the two halves will see five qualifying rounds followed by a semi-final and then the top three from the final (on each platform) being invited to take part in a high-profile shootout at Wales Rally GB.
The qualifiers and semi-finals will be contested on special stages new to WRC 5 from the rally concerned, which are accessed via download. Once downloaded, practice is unrestricted ahead of the rally weekend.
Each eSports rally weekend will comprise four days of action-packed competition from Thursday to Sunday. Players will have one opportunity each day to record their best time and claim a semi-final place.
WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla explained how the eSports championship plays a part in the expansion of WRC, “We’re committed to making WRC available to fans whenever, wherever and however they want. The success of the WRC 5 game will be furthered by the anticipation and excitement of each round of the eSports WRC Championship.
“Gamers will feel the same adrenalin and pressure experienced by their counterparts on the WRC’s special stages, fighting for tenths of a second in challenging conditions and a pressure-cooker atmosphere with a world title at stake,” he said.
WRC 5 was launched in October and allows players to drive 78 different special stages, six each from all 13 2015 rounds of motorsport’s toughest championship for production-based cars.