Exclusive: McLaren rules out getting into other esports or buying a team

British automotive brand McLaren will not be delving into the wider esports landscape.
Esports News UK managed to grab Zak Brown, executive director of the McLaren Technology Group, after a press conference today at McLaren HQ.
When asked if he has any plans to get into other esports outside of the driving game genre, or would consider buying a League of Legends team or other game roster in the future, he said: “No, that has nothing to do with McLaren.”
McLaren announced its World’s Fastest Gamer initiative earlier this month.
Players will compete in several racing games, with the overall winner landing a one-year contract with McLaren as a simulator driver. They will work with the team and the F1 drivers to help test and fine-tune the development of the car.
British race circuit Silverstone will host a qualifier session later this year.
A four-week online championship open to competitors worldwide will be broadcast from Silverstone after the Formula 1 British Grand Prix in July.
Gamers will compete using simulator platform rFactor 2 and the top 20 drivers racing each weekend will accrue points towards the Silverstone Championship.
McLaren will announce three more qualifying events for World’s Fastest Gamer in the coming weeks with other third parties. There will be one mobile-based qualifier and two more based on console platforms.

 

“McLaren is seeing many strong brands come to us to get involved in this new initiative. We only see interest growing from here.”
Zak Brown

 
Zak Brown added: “McLaren group is proud to welcome Silverstone to World’s Fastest Gamer. We have great relationships with the guys there and know they have renewed plans to bring a new and younger audience to motorsport in the UK and beyond.
“McLaren is seeing many strong brands come to us to get involved in this new initiative. We only see interest growing from here.”
Organisers made several references to the fact that many football clubs are embracing esports, and said that more car manufacturers will likely get involved in competitive gaming in the future as well.
Some have criticised football clubs’ moves into esports as publicity stunts.
During a press conference earlier in the day, Zak Brown said that McLaren’s initiative was not ‘a stunt’, but something he takes extremely seriously.
F1 driver Jenson Button showed off McLaren’s F1 virtual simulator to members of the press.
He also said that data can be sent from the simulator team to the teams at F1 race circuits around the world, on the fly.
McLaren partners Logitech and Sparco also spoke about the size and growth of esports, as did Simon Long from analyst Nielsen and Darren Cox from Esports and Cars. Members of McLaren’s race team also spoke of the demands the job entails, including the physical endurance.
Darren is the founder of the GT Academy, the competition that saw top Gran Turismo players compete against one another, with the winner becoming a professional racing driver in real life.
Darren said he hopes to take the World’s Fastest Gamer initiative ‘as global as possible’.
Check out Esports News UK editor @Dom_Sacco’s Twitter page today for more information, quotes and pictures from today’s event.

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