Le Mans Esports Series officially launched as registration opens
The Automobile Club de l'Ouest has officially launched the Le Mans Esports Series at Silverstone, with registration and qualifying now open
Silverstone is the first of six preliminary rounds, which will run until May 2019.
There are numerous ways gamers can qualify for the super final at the 2019 Le Mans 24 Hours, with both offline and online events as well as three on-site events including the Fuji World Endurance Championship round and Autosport International 2019 (see below).
The competition is open to all categories of competitors, from the elite Esports drivers to amateur gamers the world over.
It aims to be the most accessible Esports tournament yet, and capture the "spirit of Le Mans".
As well as getting a share of the $100,000 prize fund, winners also have a chance to secure a spot on the 2019 Le Mans 24 Hours podium.
In order to have a chance at appearing alongside the real-life winners on one of the most iconic podiums in motor racing, players can either enter individually or form a three-driver team and race their way through the qualifying rounds and into the live Super Final, which takes place ahead of the big race at Le Mans in June 2019.
Entrants can sign up to the competition here.
What they're saying
Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest: "The 2019 Le Mans 24 Hours will be outstanding! Not only will our race be the culmination of the FIA World Endurance Championship Super Season, we will also be hosting the Super Final of the Le Mans Esports Series, which starts today at Silverstone.
"As 60 teams take part in the 87th edition of the world's greatest endurance race, the twelve best simracer outfits will be competing in the Super Final of the Le Mans Esports Series. Just like their counterparts out on track, the competitors will take turns at the wheel throughout the 24-hour race. I'm looking forward to playing host to this exciting new way of racing."
James Allen, President, Motorsport Network Europe: "Today is a really significant moment in the journey towards a new and unique esports series and I cannot wait to see the line ups and the intense racing at the Super Final in Le Mans next June. This is an inclusive racing series and we're excited by the response so far."
Gerard Neveu, the CEO of the FIA WEC: "We've long recognised the allure of esports, today is all about transforming the desire to meet that need into action. I'm very excited that the WEC Super Season and Motorsport Network are the backdrop to The Le Mans Esports Series becoming a reality today."
Stephen Hood, the Head of Esports at Motorsport Network: "We anticipate that competitors looking for an edge will look to the feature of team-based endurance racing, unique to the Le Mans Esports Series and esports in general, and utilise a team manager and strategy director.
"This provides new ways to access esports without ever having to become an elite driver, allowing all to engage and have fun competing in events such as our Le Mans Esports Series.
"At the heart of the Le Mans Esports Series is The 24 Hours of Le Mans, which has allowed us to creatively and strategically bring new ideas to esports - by accessing the reach of Motorsport Network we expect to take not just esports enthusiasts, but motorsport fans, as well, on an exciting journey to the Super Final at Le Mans in June 2019."
Full Le Mans ESports Series schedule
Race 1 - Silverstone [to support WEC 6h of Silverstone, 19 Aug]
Location: Online only
Track: Silverstone circuit
Registration: opens 18th Aug, closes 31st Aug
Qualifiers: Online, 18th-31st Aug
Online Races: 4th-15th Sept
Race 2 - Fuji [to support WEC 6 Hours of Fuji, 14 Oct]
Location: Online, and Offline at Fuji race.
Track: Suzuka circuit
Registration: opens 16th Sept, closes 29th Sept
Qualifiers: Online, 16th-29th Sept,
Races: Online 25th Sept - 6th Oct, Offline 12th October
Race 3 - Shanghai [to support WEC 6 Hours of Shanghai, 18 Nov]
Location: Online only
Track: Bathurst circuit
Registration: opens 18th Oct, closes 11th Nov
Qualifiers: Online, 29th Oct-11th Nov
Races: Online 20th Nov-1st Dec
Race 4 - Autosport International
Location: Online, and Offline at Autosport International
Track: Brands Hatch circuit
Registration: opens 8th Dec, closes 30th Dec
Qualifiers: Online, 17th-30th Dec
Races: Online 25th Dec-5th Jan 2019, Offline 10th Jan 2019
Race 5 - Sebring [to support WEC 1,000miles of Sebring, 15 Mar 2019]
Location: Online, and Offline (location TBC)
Track: Sebring circuit
Registration: opens 17th Jan 2019, closes 9th Feb 2019
Qualifiers: Online, 27th Jan-9th Feb
Races: Online 19th February - 2nd March, Offline 13th March 2019
Race 6 - Spa-Francorchamps [to support WEC Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, 4 May 2019]
Location: Online only
Track: Spa-Francorchamps circuit
Registration: opens 19th March, closes 11th April
Qualifiers: Online, 29th March-11th April
Races: Online 20th April-1st May
SUPER FINAL - 24 Hours of Le Mans [to support WEC 24 Hours of Le Mans, 15-16 June 2019]
Track: Le Mans circuit
Qualifiers: 8th-21st May
Races: 14th June 2019
There will also be an additional ONLINE event in the run-up to the Le Mans Super Final - this will not be a qualifying round but a chance for everyone to test their mettle against this iconic race circuit.
Full details of the qualification process and registration for both professional sim racers and amateurs to compete in the opening season using Forza Motorsport 7 on the Xbox platform can be found here.
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