Welcome to the McLaren Shadow Project, our newly-launched pioneering esports programme. Bigger than ever before, McLaren Shadow is our search for the brightest and the best racing talent in esports.
What is McLaren Shadow Project?
Shadow Project is the next phase in McLaren’s esports strategy, following the success of its World’s Fastest Gamer competition last year, won by Rudy van Buren.
The scope and scale of the competition
As before, our program is a champion of champions approach. You can enter McLaren Shadow project via a variety of gaming formats including PC, Xbox One, and mobile (iOS and Android). This is via the best racing games on the planet, including Forza Motorsport, Real Racing 3, iRacing and rFactor 2.
The introduction of these new platforms and games opens up the competition to all racing gamers (not just sim racers). The competition is structured to bring the most diverse pool of racers into the semi-finals, allowing us to identify raw talent from anywhere in the world on any platform.
The winner of the McLaren Shadow Project championship will get a seat in our new F1 esports team and join our esports development programme, to hone their skills and work with the McLaren F1 team.
They will also win a truly unique motorsport experience, including attendance to F1 races, exclusive behind the scenes access to McLaren and a host of physical prizes such as gaming and race kit.
The name change
World’s Fastest Gamer has now become McLaren Shadow Project – we are still looking for the fastest racing gamers in the world but the new name also speaks to the fact that this expanded esports programme will shadow our real-world equivalent. We want to build an esports programme that is bigger than one competition or winner.
Our 2018 programme
This year’s competition will be the most open and inclusive esports competition on the planet. The online heats are open worldwide to all racing gamers over the age of 18+ and we are running on-the-ground events in China, Latin America and the Middle East with our partners. The broad range of games and platforms mean this competition is open to anyone, whether they game on mobile, console, PC or VR. All you need is a passion for racing and, of course, skill.
Unlike any other sport or gaming genre, the transference of skills between virtual and real racing are both direct and profound. Our programme in 2018 will shadow the on-track activity in that our winner will win a seat in our new esports team that will go on to race against the best race teams around the world online, which will shadow our on-track efforts.
How to enter
As before, our program is a champion of champions approach. You can enter McLaren Shadow Project via a variety of gaming formats including PC, Xbox One and mobile (iOS and Android). This is via the best racing games on the planet, including Real Racing 3, Forza Motorsport 7, iRacing and Rfactor 2.
Qualifiers start in August and run through to the end of October.
• August: iRacing, Real Racing 3
• September: iRacing, rFactor2, Real Racing 3
• October: iRacing, rFactor2, Forza, Real Racing 3
• November: Semi-finals/Amateur finals
• January: 2019 Finals
More details on these qualifiers will be released in the coming weeks, including race format, scoring mechanic, which McLaren car you’ll be driving and which track you’ll be competing on. Keep your eyes glued to mclaren.com/esports for all the information.
The winners of those qualifiers on mobile and home console will make it through to our live semi-final at the McLaren Technology Centre in November.
The winners of the semi-finals will come back to McLaren in January to compete against the best sim-racers to win the ultimate prize in racing esports.
Sign up here to find out more about our esports programme and to be notified when our qualifiers are open for entry.
McLaren Shadow Project Partners
We are delighted that last year’s partners Logitech G and Sparco are with us again this year. We also have new partners HTC Vive and Alienware.
Virtual racing vs real world racing, what’s the deal?
With every new game or upgrade, console games and PC platforms become more realistic. Gamers must be able to engineer their cars to compete at the highest levels online. Which means they have great driving skills and are learning about car set-up, use of data and engineering - something that is very much the basis of a successful simulator driver.
The new generation of drivers coming through have driven more virtual laps than real ones. Lando Norris races for an online team and spends a huge amount of time in various simulators, including those at McLaren. F1 drivers enjoy gaming too.
F1 esports series
We are very excited to be part of the F1 esports competition. The winner of McLaren Shadow Project will be part of our esports team and race for McLaren in this competition in 2019