McLaren has become the first Formula 1 team to enter the esports arena, announcing "World's Fastest Gamer" – what McLaren calls "the world's most intense and demanding competition for virtual racers." The winner will be offered a role with the F1 team as one of its official simulator drivers.
World's Fastest Gamer is a collaboration between McLaren and the founder of virtual motorsport's GT Academy, Darren Cox. Gaming gear company Logitech G, sports media platform GIVEMESPORT and Sparco are also partners in the initiative.
"This is a hugely exciting opportunity – not only within the gaming industry, but for everyone at McLaren and motorsport in general," said McLren executive director Zak Brown. "We've long witnessed the growth of online sports gaming and, right now, the parallels between the real and the virtual worlds have never been closer.
"This is absolutely the right time to be creating such a unique and exciting proposition; one that connects the worlds of racing and gaming in a way that's never been explored before."
The format pits the best gamers in the world across multiple racing platforms as they battle each other to discover the ultimate "champion of champions." The winner will be offered a one-year contract with McLaren to work in an official capacity as a simulator driver, working l work with engineers at both at the McLaren Technology Centre and at grand prix circuits across the world to develop and improve the team's F1 cars.
The battle to find McLaren's newest recruit will be viewable at every stage via a dedicated YouTube channel and McLaren's social media channels. Six international finalists will be chosenby experts in both gaming and Formula 1 to join this year's competition. A further four finalists will be selected from qualifying events online during summer 2017.
The grand finale, held at the McLaren Technology Centre in the autumn, will put all 10 hopefuls through one of the most rigorous job interviews in the world. Not only will they race against each other across a variety of different gaming titles on different platforms, they will also need to demonstrate their engineering know-how, ability to work as part of a team, and display the mental and physical strengths required for such a unique position.
"World's Fastest Gamer really aims to democratize the process of finding the best virtual racer out there," Brown added. "The contest isn't limited to one platform or one game; we're very keen not to restrict access or entry for people, but rather welcome the worldwide gaming community, whether that's on mobile or on high-end simulator platforms.
"And the winner will genuinely be a key part of our team at McLaren. This is for real: we absolutely require additional support across our two simulator platforms, so the competition and the selection process will be rigorous, ruthless and compelling to watch."