Anybody who thought gaming was just a game should think again. Win this year’s Esports WRC Championship and you’ll drive away a Toyota GR Yaris. OK, you’re right, it is a game – but a prize like that has certainly raised the stakes in the game.
After seven of the 11 official WRC gaming rounds, Lebanese competitor Sami-Joe tops the 2020 Esports WRC Championship. He claimed his second win of the year at Rally Portugal, moving a point ahead of 2017 and ‘19 champion Lohan ‘Nexl’ Blanc with four rounds remaining.
Victory for either of the top two at the next round, Rally Italia Sardegna, would mean qualification to the Grand Final. The top eight gamers go through to the shootout alongside a couple of wildcard entries.
And victory at the Grand Final would mean the keys to a new, four-wheel-drive motor – or a cash equivalent if you live somewhere that the GR Yaris isn’t available.
While the coronavirus has halted the real-time World Rally Championship, it’s presented the perfect growth environment for sim racing and gaming, according to WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla.
He said: “Since physical events have been affected by recent circumstances, Esports is, now more than ever, a way for our fans to experience the thrill of motorsports competition even more intensely.
“The Esports WRC Championship has grown in stature over the last five years to become one of motorsport’s leading virtual competitions. We’re pleased to welcome the enthusiastic participation of Toyota Gazoo Racing, a WRC manufacturer team, to the tournament.”
There will be further promotions between Nacon, the publisher of the official WRC 8 game, and Toyota Gazoo Racing – especially around September, when the latest version of the game, WRC 9, breaks cover.