The next-level gaming studio boosting McLaren's F1 appeal
One of the first F1 teams to enter the gaming space, McLaren is taking its commitment to Esports to another level by building a high-tech facility in its Woking HQ. STUART CODLING delves into the McLaren Shadow Studio
Gaming might still cause some motorsport purists’ noses to wrinkle – but, while the racing itself isn’t ‘real’ as such, its value to the business of motorsport is clear and obvious. It brings tech sponsors who want to be more than just stickers on a car and, perhaps even more importantly to the bigger picture, it provides an alternative entry point for new fans… and, sometimes, new competitors.
McLaren was among the first Formula 1 competitors to hit the Esports scene with a purpose, partnering with the World’s Fastest Gamer programme in 2017. Eventual winner Rudy van Buren went on to compete in the real world at the annual Race of Champions with Lando Norris, and spent a year as McLaren’s official simulator driver. McLaren then formed its own Esports programme, the McLaren Shadow Project, a competition which offered prizes ranging from racing kit and factory tours to a seat in McLaren’s own F1 Esports team.
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