500.000 EUR prize pool in new ESL R1 esports racing league

ESL, an ESL FACEIT Group (EFG) brand, and RENNSPORT, games publisher Competition Company´s brand new virtual racing platform, announced the next evolution of its partnership by launching the ESL R1 virtual racing circuit in February 2023. This year will feature two seasons (spring and fall) with live, final events and a collective prize pool of 500.000 EUR. The inaugural live tournament will kick off the spring season at IEM Expo, part of Intel® Extreme Masters Katowice.

ESL R1 is a pristine esports league that will set a whole new standard for virtual racing by establishing a dedicated intersection for car manufacturers and players. It takes what’s best of real-life racing and merges it with the limitless possibilities of the digital realm. While celebrating the pinnacle of speed and skill, ESL R1 creates new champions and delivers an immersive, shared spectacle for the audience.

The inaugural live tournament will kick off the ESL R1 2023 Spring Season with a bang at the free-to-enter IEM Expo, a part of Intel® Extreme Masters (IEM) Katowice, on February 10-12, 2023. For the first time, the most well-known esports teams will be competing against factory teams from RENNSPORT’s automotive license partners in ESL R1. In addition, there will be wild card teams involved, guaranteeing a high level of accessibility and an unprecedented level of entertainment in virtual racing. In this first season of ESL R1, 8 partner teams and 4 wild card teams will participate:

  • Apex Racing Team
  • FaZe Clan
  • G2 Esports
  • Heroic
  • Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Esports Team
  • Mercedes-AMG Team Williams Esports
  • MOUZ
  • Porsche Coanda Esports Racing Team
  • R8G eSports
  • Team Redline

These 48 drivers (four drivers per team) will compete against each other in eight rounds per regular season. Each round consists of a total of 7 races: 4 quarterfinals, 2 semifinals and a final. Each race is also preceded by a qualifying session to determine the starting order of each driver. After the launch at the IEM Expo in Katowice, the rounds will be held online on Fridays and Mondays.

Each season, the 24 top-ranked drivers will advance to the ESL R1 Major where they will face off to decide who will become the ESL R1 Champion. The 2023 calendar consists of two seasons, each culminating with a live, final event and a total prize pool of €500,000.

“Esports is the world’s fastest growing media and entertainment segment with a young and digital oriented fan base. That’s why EFG is an important partner for us, in order to jointly anchor the fascination of racing in the virtual world as well as to position ourselves in the existing world of esports in the long run.”

Morris Hebecker, CEO at Competition Company

The dates for the ESL R1 2023 Spring Season are as follows:

  • ESL R1 2023 Spring Season launch: February 11-12, 2023 / IEM Expo, Katowice, Poland
  • ESL R1 2023 Spring Major at the RENNSPORT Summit: May 27-28, 2023 / Munich, Germany

The dates for the ESL R1 2023 Fall Season are as follows:

  • ESL R1 2023 Fall Season launch: August 2023 / online 
  • ESL R1 2023 Fall Major at DreamHack Winter: November 23-25, 2023 / Jönköping, Sweden 

“The simracing space is one of the key esports verticals in the sports gaming field. With ESL R1, we’re taking our first major steps into this exhilarating world. Doing this together with our ambitious partner RENNSPORT as well as with renowned esports and traditional racing brands is an unique opportunity. We’re thrilled to serve the simracing community in our usual bold and spectacular way.

Roger Lodewick, President Sports Games at EFG
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