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Champion signs World RX deal, Toyota takes leading role with WRC esports

(Photo by Sebastian Ramos/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The World Rallycross Championship has named Champion Lubricants as its Official Lubricant Partner for the forthcoming 2020 season and in 2021.

The two-year deal was made with promoters IMG Motorsport, which organises the World RX competition in conjunction with the International Automobile Federation (FIA).

As part of the agreement, the Champion brand will have a strong multi-media presence at the race circuits, in industry publications and on social media.

David Gillett, the strategic partnerships director for Rallycross at IMG Event, said Champion will prove an invaluable partner for the series.

The 2020 World RX season will consist of 10 two-day events driven on closed circuits. Acting on the advice of government health authorities amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the final, revised schedule for 2020 is yet to be confirmed.

The series was set to be transformed into an electric car-racing competition for the 2021 season however those plans have now been postponed until 2022 because of Covid-19.

In a separate rally-related deal, WRC Promoter, the company responsible for the commercialisation of the World Rally Championship (WRC), has struck a presenting sponsorship with Toyota Gazoo Racing, a WRC manufacturer team, for the 2020 and 2021 esports WRC seasons.

The tournament will be called the esports WRC Championship presented by Toyota Gazoo Racing.

The announcement coincides with the parent car brand’s recent unveiling of the new Toyota GR Yaris, which will be presented as a prize for the esports WRC champion.

The deal was made in collaboration with video game publisher Nacom and will span promotions around the WRC 8 game as well as WRC 9 – the latest edition of the official WRC game scheduled for release on 3 September 2020.

Andrea Carlucci, director of product and marketing management at Toyota Motor Europe, said the growing interest in esports and Toyota’s increasing sports car offering informed the deal.

He noted: “E-motorsports is key for us to make motorsport and sports cars more accessible to more people and to foster a new generation of car lovers everywhere.”

The esports WRC is currently in its fifth year of competition with the final slated for October. The competition’s sponsorship portfolio also includes endemic esports brands Fanatec, BenQ and PlaySeat.

In March, IMG launched the first-ever World RX esports series – the RX Esports Invitational – in partnership with game developers Motorsport Games and Codemasters.

The one-off series has been held on the dates of selected rounds of the World RX Championship postponed due to Covid-19 and has included participation from official World RX drivers.