Nascar launches esports series

North American stock-car racing series Nascar has launched an esports league, in partnership with Race Team Alliance and 704Games.

The eNascar Heat Pro League will feature up to 16 race teams and 32 drivers, each owned and operated by prominent Nascar race teams.

Fans who own the Nascar Heat 3 video game, which is published by 704Games, are eligible to qualify for the first eNascar Heat Pro League Draft, which is scheduled for early next year.

Following the draft, the league will comprise a 16-race season beginning next spring and ending during the 2019 Nascar playoffs. All races will be streamed online at Nascar.com and Motorsport.com.

Craig Neeb, executive vice-president of innovation and development at Nascar, said: “We look forward to taking this first step with our teams to introduce Nascar-style racing to the massive esports audience on consoles. Our partners at 704Games have delivered an incredible product and we are enthusiastic about engaging gamers to create new fans and grow our sport.”

Nascar teams that have agreed to participate in the new competition include Chip Ganassi Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, JR Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing, Roush Fenway Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske. Teams will field two drivers, with one competing on Xbox One and the other on PlayStation 4.

Jonathan S. Marshall, executive director of the Race Team Alliance, a non-profit organisation comprised of racing teams that compete in the Nascar Cup Series, said: “This is an exciting moment in Nascar history. The race teams are taking this new league very seriously and will be looking for the best competitors in the nation to represent their respective teams. We expect the competition level will be high and we challenge these new esports drivers to become the best of the best.”