A $500K Prize Pot & The Chance To Show Pros How It’s Done - Esports F1 Gets Real

The final showdown will take place in a London shopping centre but the prizes and opportunities are huge
12:12, 04 Dec 2019

The final showdown of the Formula One Esports series takes place on Wednesday and the winner will scoop a cool $500,000 (£385,000).

Amazingly, it will take place inside a Vue cinema at the shopping centre in Fulham Broadway, west London.

Racers from 10 official F1 teams will compete for the prize as they complete the final three online grand prix of the season.

The man currently in third place, Jarno Opmeer, will also make Esports history this week.

While the title looks out of reach for the Renault Vitality man - he’s currently 41 points behind Ferrari leader David Tonizza - he will have the incredible opportunity to test-drive his side’s F1 simulator, just like the pros.

Used by Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg to get used to the feel of their supercars, Opmeer will follow in their tyre marks and be the first gamer handed the privilege to go for a spin.

The Guardian reports that the simulator can cost as much as £20,000 to run and is one of the main tools used to help drivers prepare for racing.

Only 19, the Dutchman, will go the team’s base at Enstone in Oxfordshire and there are also plans for Renault to continue working with gamers. 

While opening their telemetry suite to analyse data is one idea, it is believed that gameplay could soon match the real-life simulator with hundreds of sensors currently utilised.

“Formula One is one of the few games where the skillset required to perform is the same as that in the actual sport,” Nicolas Maurer, the CEO of Team Vitality, told The Guardian. 

“Of course there are differences, mainly the physical part; you don’t get the lateral force when you’re driving the video game. But Jarno being accepted to the real F1 simulator shows that you can build from video game to the sport and back, so it’s very interesting in that regard.”

Opmeer started his racing career through ‘normal’ driving of cars but was encouraged to try his hand at virtual competition.

“It is still a new industry and a few years back if you wanted to win at esports all you needed to do was sign the best talent,” Maurer added. 

“Then we started to add coaches, video and data analysis, that was the next step. 

“Nowadays, if you want to win in the biggest competitions of course you need the best talent, you need the best resources around and you need the best training infrastructure.”

McLaren’s Lando Norris, who only turned 20, believes gaming can help his driving and thinks gamers could one day make the switch into the real world of racing.

“In the future I think you can get people who start in esports and come over,” he told the newspaper. 

“I don’t think they can go straight from esports to Formula One, they would have to still do some steps: F3, F2 and so on. But I think there’s already been some drivers who have proved that having skills on the simulator can translate very well on to the actual racetrack.

“The better the simulators get and everything then the higher the chance of something like that happening.”

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