The MotoGP motorcycling championship has announced the launch of an esports series, which will debut this year ahead of a full roll-out in 2018.
Dorna Sports, MotoGP’s commercial rights-holder, said the MotoGP eSport Championship will exist as a brand new event within its portfolio of racing series, with the agency managing all aspects of the competition.
The official MotoGP '17 video game – produced by long standing licensee Milestone – will provide the backbone of the eSport Championship, allowing gamers to take part in online challenges throughout the 2017 season with the aim of qualifying for the season finale, to be held in November at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia – coinciding with the final round of the MotoGP World Championship. Dorna said the final event will be broadcast live by its media partners.
Exclusive to Sony’s PlayStation 4 console, the MotoGP eSport Championship will provide seven online events in a time trial format. The 16 fastest players will be invited to test their skills in a first live event in Valencia, with a BMW M240i car on offer as the top prize.
Dorna said this first foray into the esports scene will lay the groundwork for a more extensive calendar for next year’s eSport Championship, which is backed by several founding members – most of whom are already involved in the MotoGP World Championship as sponsors or partners.
Founding partners of the new series are listed as Tissot, Cashback World, Red Bull, Casa Tarradellas, Movistar, Michelin and BMW.
Pau Serracanta, Dorna Sports’ commercial managing director, said: “Moving into the esports scene is taking MotoGP into a new era. It's a unique way to engage our established gaming audience and also a clear sign to the wider gaming community that MotoGP is not only one of the top motorsports properties in real life, but also one of the most exciting digital experiences a console game can deliver.
“We will be putting together an exciting package mixing virtual and real life encounters blending the two worlds to deliver the utmost authenticity. From top tier partners to media broadcasters and MotoGP teams, the stakeholders will be working in unison to have a successful start in esports, on a scale befitting MotoGP’s highest standards.”