With the rise of eSports, especially in the motorsports world, the eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Series will see the debuts of actual NASCAR teams alongside other professional eSport organisations for its ten-year anniversary.
Joining the 2019 iRacing Series roster include household names in the gaming world like G2 Esports, FlipSid3 Tactics, and Team Renegades. In a first for the series, real-life motorsport teams will be involved in it with NASCAR’s JR Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, and Wood Brothers Racing; dirt track team Clint Bowyer Racing; Formula One‘s Williams Esports; and Richmond Raceway Esports. While JGR and WBR are among the Monster Energy Cup Series‘ most prominent teams, JRM is among the most successful of the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Richmond currently hosts two race weekends on the NASCAR calendar.
“The 2019 season is a watershed moment for the series with the addition of these new teams as well as the significant increase in the prize pool to $100,000,” iRacing head Tony Gardner stated in a press release. “To have teams made up of both motorsport and eSports team competing in the eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Series has been a longtime goal of ours.
“Simracing has a unique place in the eSports world. It is the only eSport that has a direct correlation to the skills needed in the motor racing world, but without the traditional barriers, so it only makes sense to have teams involved.”
“I have been simracing for more than 20 years now, so it goes without saying that I am excited to see NASCAR and iRacing working to further legitimize simracing as a true eSport,” JRM owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. commented. “Expanding the eNASCAR Peak Antifreeze iRacing Series to include teams like ours is a huge step forward.
“JRM has worked behind the scenes with iRacing for years on the technical side of the product as well as having an unofficial entry in the series going back to its inception in 2009. We are looking forward to JR Motorsports continued collaboration with iRacing to help promote the eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series in 2019 and beyond.”
“To be invited to join eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Series shows the progress we have made since launching our eSports program last season,” Williams Racing deputy team principal Claire Williams added. “Our Formula One team has enjoyed great success in North America and we’re eager to replicate that success by now expanding our sim racing team to the United States. Williams, working together with NASCAR and iRacing, has huge potential in content and audience engagement for sim racers and motorsport fans alike, so we can’t wait to get started.”
A draft to select their drivers will be conducted on 30 January. The eighteen-race season, which will include a four-race playoff, will commence on 12 February at Daytona International Speedway. A purse of $100,000, the largest in series history, awaits the champion.
With the announcement, NASCAR’s involvement in eSports continues to grow. While it has overseen the iRacing Series for years, the news comes a month after the sanctioning body unveiled the eNASCAR Heat Pro League.