Virtual racing is booming, and despite the issues with the most recent Le Mans Virtual, there is a massive appetite for elite sim racing.
Enter ESL R1, the first esports series on the upcoming Rennsport that looks set to rock the sim racing world.
With elite teams from the world of F1, sim racing, and wider esports, a massive prize pool and an interesting format, ESL R1 is set to change the game for virtual motorsport.
Boasting a huge list of competing teams, and likely elite drivers, ESL R1 is trying to establish a "dedicated intersection for car manufacturers and players".
Whatever that means, for fans of virtual motorsport it will lead to some exceptional races between teams and drivers that rarely cross paths.
The list of 12 teams in ESL R1 is headlined by the usual sim racing suspects in Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports Team, now led by the brilliant James Baldwin, R8G eSports, and Team Redline.
But it also includes G2 Esports who have been working with Red Bull Racing on their esports team, as well as FaZe Clan, FURIA, Heroic, and MOUZ who are all well-established esports organisations that are dipping their toes into sim racing for the first time.
Who these newbies in sim racing will bring in to drive in the series is unknown, but with plenty of talented drivers on the market there are sure to be some headline announcements soon.
ESL R1 schedule
Along with the announcement of the competition, we have a schedule and format that should excite fans everywhere.
the ESL R1 2023 Spring Season starts on 11-12 February at the IEM Expo in Katowice, Poland.
Each round of the series will see four drivers per team compete in what looks like a head-to-head race. There will be 7 races per round: 4 quarter-finals, 2 semi-finals, and a final.
After the LAN launch in Poland rounds will be held weekly on Fridays & Mondays online. Each season the 24 top-ranked drivers will advance to the ESL R1 Major where they will decide the champion and split a €500,000 prize pool. The Spring Season Major at the RENNSPORT Summit on 27-28 May in Munich.
It looks set to be an exciting series, with the inclusion of more traditional esports organisations a big step for sim racing.