A new female-only esports racing game tournament – Women and Wheels – has been announced.
Its launch event will take place at the annual European Women in Games Conference in London this week, and the competition itself will get underway online in the next fortnight.
Prizes include a €3,000 Racing Simulator Chair, two Fanatec Racing Wheel and Pedal Sets, a ‘life coaching programme’ and more.
A percentage of revenues will also be donated to female-focused charities.
The event is being organised by game developer SimBin Studios UK, who are working on racing game GTR3.
Organisers said in a statement that the tournament “aims to provide a supportive, female-friendly environment that encourages more women to play esports while drawing attention to the often hidden role of women in racing and automotive history”.
Organisers add that while half of gamers are female, only 15% of esports viewers are female and 5% of players are female.
“Professional esports has major earnings gaps between men and women, plus misogyny and online bullying are considerable problems,” they added.
They also talk about other women-only esports tournaments like the Intel Challenge Katowice at Intel Extreme Masters.
“It’s a shame we need women-only teams, leagues and competitions in esports but until the sector fully matures, becomes more gender balanced and takes steps to eradicate online bullying and misogyny, they represent a great way to get more women involved by building communities, confidence and skills.”
SimBin Studio Head Allan Speed said: “We’re thrilled to announce Women and Wheels. As a developer, we’re acutely aware of the low female participation in esports. Around 7% of our race competitors are female. Unbelievably, that’s probably over average. We want to see more women enjoying the thrills and spills of the virtual track, and esports in general.
“At SimBin we’ve achieved 50/50 gender balance in our studio workforce, so we thought we’d try to encourage more women to compete in our competitions too. We spoke to Marie-Claire Isaaman (CEO, Women in Games) and Dr. Jo Twist (CEO, Ukie), who both thought it was a great idea. Then we got positive feedback from some well-known car manufacturers and a host of great sponsors and advocates got on board.”
Marie-Claire Isaaman, CEO of advocacy group Women in Games, added: “Women and Wheels is a fantastic initiative. It’s a shame we need women-only teams, leagues and competitions in esports but until the sector fully matures, becomes more gender balanced and takes steps to eradicate online bullying and misogyny, they represent a great way to get more women involved by building communities, confidence and skills.”
Mathias Lauda, Racing Driver for Aston Martin in the FIA World Endurance Championship, added: “I am delighted to be an advocate for Women and Wheels, it’s a fantastic and much needed innovation.
“As a professional racing driver, I’m all for getting more women into both esports and motorsports. The Woman and Wheels competition is a great way of encouraging females into a traditionally male dominated space”.
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
A keen League of Legends and World of Warcraft player, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He works as full-time content director for the British Esports Association and runs ENUK in his spare time.