The McLaren Shadow Project is a virtual racing programme which will be shadowing the real world McLaren Racing team.
There will be a competition running throughout the rest of the year, and the winner will get a place on the new McLaren esports team.
They will join Rudy van Buren, who was crowned the ‘World’s Fastest Gamer’ in 2017. He joined McLaren as an official F1 simulation driver, and stood alongside Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne at the launch of the MCL33 car for this season’s championship.
McLaren’s esports programme to find the best virtual racer for 2018 is called Shadow Project
Rudy van Buren went on to compete against professional racing drivers at the Race of Champions event in Saudi Arabia, managing to beat Lando Norris, Joel Eriksson, and Timo Bernhard in the heats.
It all proved that the skills needed for virtual racing and actual racing are incredibly transferable. Now, McLaren are looking to find another virtual driver to join their ranks, renaming the World’s Fastest Gamer competition to McLaren Shadow Project.
‘Season one proved that esports are a new talent frontier for motorsport and after pioneering the programme in 2017, McLaren plans to develop the concept to generate greater global reach and engagement in season two,’ said Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing.
‘A strong, diverse esports programme has a direct benefit to McLaren’s innovative ambitions, bringing in new audiences, partners and talent to motorsport. By ramping up over multiple platforms across the online world, it will establish McLaren as an important brand in the motorsport esports community.’
Last year, Rudy van Buren won World’s Fastest Gamer, and is now an official simulation driver
McLaren’s director of esports Ben Payne said: ‘Last year’s competition proved that the skills learned as a racing gamer are transferable to the real world. This is unique to the racing genre. We believe that esports and real world racing have much to learn and give to each other and last year’s competition was just the start.
‘McLaren Shadow Project will be the most open and inclusive racing esports competition on the planet. We are looking for the most talented virtual racers from all countries and backgrounds. To make this possible we have partnered with the biggest racing game brands in the world – Real Racing™ 3 on mobile, Forza Motorsport on Xbox, PC racing sims iRacing and rFactor 2.’
McLaren will also be participating in the upcoming F1 Esports Series. The preliminary rounds are now complete, and nearly every Formula 1 team will be selecting a driver to represent them at the draft on Monday July 9.
Mail Esports spoke to last year’s F1 Esports Series winner Brendon Leigh, after the event held alongside the F1 Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi.
McLaren’s Fernando Alonso is also getting involved in esports, albeit by branching out with his own team. He created FA Racing G2 Logitech G in November last year in association with esports organisation G2.
If you think you have what it takes to race for McLaren, qualification is open to anyone over the age of 18. Events will kick off in August, and those who reach the semifinals will be invited to McLaren’s headquarters in England for places in the finals in January 2019.
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