While a car manufacturer might not seem like the most obvious candidate for running a esports tournament, McLaren have, in fact, been involved in the esports area for some time. The company are now sealing their participation with the launch of an esports series called Shadow Project.
Shadow Project is an expanded version of the ‘World’s Fastest Gamer’ Event, which took place in 2017. The ultimate winner of Shadow Project will get a spot on McLaren’s new esports racing team, and perhaps even become part of the famous Formula 1 team as a simulation driver.
While the previous event was focussed on traditional driving simulator titles, Shadow Project is branching out into more casual titles, which will see things like smartphone title Real Racing 3 added to the line-up alongside Forza Motorsport, iRacing and rFactor 2.
“In World’s Faster Gamer the simulator was the star,” says McLaren director of esports Ban Payne. “The Shadow Project has broadened the entire programme out, so there are more ways to get involved… The end output of it is we’ll have additional talent for our esports team, and more people to bring into our esports development programme across McLaren as a group.”
Shadow Project is being entirely owned by McLaren, which presents an interesting branding and marketing opportunity for the company as it becomes more involved with the esports scene. McLaren are welcoming various partners, however, with VR brand HTC Vive and Dell’s Alienware offering expertise, alongside previous partners Logitech G and Sparco as well as EA and Microsoft.
The involvement of HTC Vive offers the potential for VR-enabled racing titles to be part of the line-up that players will need to master in order to claim a position of champion.
Some analysts are pointing to this as another step towards mainstream acceptance of esports. For further coverage of VR in esports, keep checking back with VRFocus.