McLaren F1 Team have launched their second season of the McLaren Shadow Project, continuing their search for the brightest and fastest Esports racers in the world.
For a third year, the Woking based team will run a Esports programme expanding over multiple platforms to find a champion that will join the McLaren Shadow Esports team. Starting out as the ‘World’s Fastest Gamer‘, McLaren became the first Formula 1 team to launch their own Esports team and programme, bringing in some of the biggest stars from the Esports world.
This year’s competition will commence in July where gamers can enter through PC, mobile and console on games such as Forza Motorsport 7, Real Racing 3 and rFactor 2 to be within a chance of qualifying for the finals. Physical qualifying events in key market areas will also take place over the course of the year.
The winners of each qualifier will be invited to the McLaren Technology Centre in the UK in December to be within a chance of joining the McLaren Shadow Team and be partnered with alongside last year’s champion Igor Fraga. The Brazilian with over 16 years old racing experience currently races in the new European F3 Regional Championship.
McLaren’s Head of Esports, Ben Payne says that the borderline between virtual and real racing is profound, with Fraga and fellow McLaren Shadow F1 Esports driver Enzo Bonito race in real-life formulas.
“We’ve said before that the transference of skills between virtual and real racing are both direct and profound,” said Payne
“Seeing both Igor and Enzo racing single seaters is incredibly exciting, and we couldn’t be more excited to launch the second season of the McLaren Shadow Project.
“Following the success of last year’s competition, we’ve been working hard off-season with our best-in class technology and gaming partners including Logitech G, Alienware, Sparco and Huami to deliver a format and prize that excites and engages gamers and fans around the world.
“We are looking forward to the qualifiers kicking-off soon and seeing who we get through the qualifiers to join us at finals in December.”
As well as joining the McLaren Esports programme, the winner of the competition will also have access to McLaren’s DNA driver development programme and a custom sim-racing set up installed into their home with the help from McLaren Shadow and their partners Logitech G and Alienware.
McLaren’s CEO Zak Brown has heavily supported Esports as being the new ‘grassroots’ into Motorsport, with their F1 driver Lando Norris having a heavy interest in sim racing, racing with Team Redline – the same team that Red Bull‘s Max Verstappen races with. McLaren’s F1 Esports driver Bono Huis and Olli Pahkala are also part of Redline’s programme.
Brown says he’s looking forward to seeing how this year’s edition will shape up, saying their experience across the McLaren brand has put them in a unique position into delivering a competition that shadows McLaren’s real-world projects.
“At McLaren we’re proud to be at the forefront of esports, and McLaren Shadow Project season 1 exceeded all expectations,” commented Brown.
“Our experience across the McLaren Group puts us in a unique position to be able to deliver a competition of this calibre and one that truly shadows McLaren’s real-world racing programme.
“It connected us with new audiences, partners and generated a huge amount of excitement internally. I’m looking forward to seeing how this year’s talent shapes up.”
McLaren Shadow will also be one of the nine teams competing in this year’s F1 New Balance Esports Pro Series.