With the wait finally over, ESL R1 is now officially launched ahead of what could be another potential gamechanger in sim racing, with regular mainstay teams now being announced for the competition along with some new challengers.
The new league, which is part of the ESL FACEIT Group (EFG) that has partnered with Competition Company’s RENNSPORT simulator platform, states that it “will set a whole new standard for virtual racing by establishing a dedicated intersection for car manufacturers and players.”
This will also see the competitive début of the racing platform, which has been well received in general, after multiple Summit events have been held at events including the RENNSPORT Summit in Munich and the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
The line with sim racing and real-life racing looks to be even further intertwined, due to the involvement of factory teams from Porsche, Audi, Mercedes and BMW, with BS+ Competition, Team Redline, R8G eSports and G2 Esports just some of the 12 confirmed teams entered that we all know. This also includes four new wildcard teams which will involve FaZe Clan, who announced a multi-year partnership with Porsche last week.
The other new additions in the form of FURIA, Heroic and MOUZ will very likely see some of the names that we all know make their new racing stables public very soon, especially with what transpired in the drivers’ market just after the turn of the New Year.
The Spring Season will kick-off at the forthcoming IEM (Intel® Extreme Masters) Expo at Katowice in Poland on February 11 and 12, with the first two out of eight rounds taking place there, running all the way to the first weekend of May.
Each team will have four drivers take part, with a knock-out style format being used in a similar way to the VCO ERL, with quarter finals, semi-finals and finals taking place over each of the rounds, with rounds 3 to 8 taking place online, with all dates being broadcasted live on Twitch and Youtube.
Each ESL R1 champion will be crowned at one of the Majors that take place at the end of the Spring and Fall seasons, with the following dates and locations locked into place:
Spring Major: 27th & 28th of May in Munich.
Fall Major: 23rd & 25th November at DreamHack Winter in Jönköping, Sweden.
Both of the Majors will live and in-person, with a total allocated prize pool of €500,000 to be handed out, the biggest prize pool so far seen in sim racing, which shows why there has been even more interest from teams that have been involved in leagues such as CounterStrike, League of Legends and Rocket League.
Competition Company CEO Morris Hebecker appreciates the fact that the popularity of Esports has a welcome complexity of being one of the media and entertainment segments that has a significant and fast-paced upturn of growth, along with why it was a definitive step to partner with EFG.
“That’s why EFG is an important partner for us, in order to jointly anchor the fascination of racing in the virtual world as well as to position ourselves in the existing world of esports in the long run.”
This is also echoed by EFG’s President Sport Games, Roger Lodewick: “The sim racing space is one of the key esports verticals in the sports gaming field. With ESL R1, we’re taking our first major steps into this exhilarating world. Doing this together with our ambitious partner RENNSPORT as well as with renowned esports and traditional racing brands is an unique opportunity. We’re thrilled to serve the simracing community in our usual bold and spectacular way.”
But with only a handful of weeks still to go until ESL R1 gets underway – the big question is, who is going where?