In March, the McLaren-Honda Formula 1 team announced that it partnered with computer-accessory giant Logitech, with the company becoming the team's "Official Technology Peripherals Partner." With distribution in more than 100 countries, and the team in need of tier-one sponsors, the partnership gave McLaren-Honda a visibility boost and further global recognition. To kick this partnership off, McLaren-Honda and Logitech have announced they will launch the "World's Fastest Gamer" competition.
Designed to pit the world's best gamers against each other in a racing competition, the series will see these virtual drivers viefor a one-year contract with McLaren-Honda in an official capacity as the team's simulator driver. The winner will work alongside McLaren's engineers at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, England, and will help the engineers "develop and improve" the team's F1 cars driven by Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne.
While both McLaren-Honda and Logitech have their hands in the creation of this series, which will be distributed through both brands' YouTube and social media channels, Darren Cox, the founder of Nissan and Gran Turismo's GT Academy, is a major part of this endeavor.
"Gaming and e-sports are growing at an astonishing rate," said Cox. "The football industry has recognized this, with the result that activity has exploded between the real world and the virtual world in the last 18 months. Now, World's Fastest Gamer will provide the focus for motorsport to talk directly to the huge numbers of passionate and dedicated gamers racing online, engaging and immersing them in the real world of racing."
As one of the creators of the GT Academy, Cox oversaw a handful of online gamers go from racing with joysticks and gaming wheels to driving real race cars. However, that doesn't seem to be part of the equation this time.
Both Logitech G VP Ujesh Desai and McLaren tech boss Zak Brown believe the future of motorsports likely lies in the hands of these gamers. "World's Fastest Gamer really aims to democratize the process of finding the best virtual racer out there," said Brown. "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. 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."
"Logitech G has been in the e-sports world since the early days, and we're happy to now work with McLaren to lead the next mainstream e-sport obsession," said Desai. "Logitech G and McLaren share an obsession for speed, cutting-edge technology, and the passion of millions of fans. We can't wait to see what the future will bring."
Six international finalists will be "hand-picked" by a jury of experts from both the gaming and F1 worlds, with a further four finalists competing in a number of qualifying events online. The 10 finalists will then compete in what the brands call "the most rigorous job interviews in the world" where they'll race against one another on different platforms, and across different gaming titles. However, these finalists will also need to understand engineering, be able to work as part of a team, and "display the mental and physical strengths required for such a unique position."
The contest for the four open spots will be held this summer, with the finale to be scheduled for later this year. McLaren-Honda and Logitech haven't yet explained how to enter the event, but details should be announced soon.