At the end of the inaugural season for the Forza Racing Championship presented by Ford Performance, TX3 Laige, racing for the Virtual Drivers by TX3 team, won the title after a tie in the points. Behind him the eSPORTS+CARS drivers picked up second, third and fourth.
In an enticing championship battle that went down to the wire ‘Laige’ (real name, Aurélien Mallet) took the title after a tie in the points with Lightning forcing them into a shootout. The champion subsequently announced that he’d be joining eSPORTS+CARS for season two.
Laige scoped up prizes worth $42,000 (£31,500) including a 2016 Ford Focus RS. His new eSPORTS+CARS team-mates took home $34,000 (£25,500) in prizes – a new record for online racing.
There’s big money in online racing and large brands have started to back these series. Ford Performance, Michelin, Microsoft, Xbox and Logitech G, have all shown interest in the Forza series.
eSPORTS+CARS Team Principal Darren Cox commented on the branding of the series saying; “We have competed and won in championships with major brand involvement, in addition to the Ford Microsoft series there has been support for online racing from Visa, Audi, Red Bull, Porsche, Tag Heuer and many others,”
“A recent Newzoo report provides data around this trend that we are seeing in our branch of the sport.”
The Newzoo report predicted that the revenue from eSports will be higher than expected. With $493million (£369million) in revenue predicted for 2016 and a year-on-year growth of 51.7%, the industry is look bright heading towards the end of the decade.
Brand revenue itself will likely make up 71% of eSports economy at a value of $350million (£262million) proving the importance of companies such as Ford in supporting the series.
AJ Smith the eSPORTS+CARS team manager has been pleased with the teams progress this season, saying “Results from our first major competition have exceeded our expectations. We put some pressure upon ourselves given the caliber of drivers we have brought together, but they worked magnificently as a team was not fazed by anything.”