By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
eSports has grown drastically as gamers get an opportunity to compete for big prizes by playing their favorite sport, with EA Sports’ Madden NFL and Codmasters’ Formula One being one of the most notable leagues. Now, it’s NASCAR’s turn in the world of gaming competition as the sanctioning body, Race Team Alliance and 704Games announced Thursday that they’ve formed the eNASCAR Heat Pro League.
RTA Executive Director Jonathan S. Marshall said the formation of the eSport league is a pivotal moment in the sport’s 70-year history.
“This is an exciting moment in NASCAR history,” said Marshall. “The race teams are taking this new league very seriously and will be looking for the best competitors in the nation to represent their respective teams. We expect the competition level will be high and we challenge these new eSports drivers to become the best of the best.”
704Games CEO Paul Brooks added that collaborating with NASCAR and RTA is a grand opportunity for gamers to compete with the best in the world.
“This partnership creates a once in a lifetime opportunity for NASCAR Heat 3 players to work with a NASCAR race team and represent their team on a global esports platform” said Brooks. “We’re excited to bring competitive online console racing to NASCAR and promote a greater engagement between fans and gamers with the eNASCAR Heat Pro League.”
Starting today, fans who own NASCAR Heat 3 and sign up on the NASCAR Heat website have five weeks to build up their data. After the five weeks are up, real-life NASCAR teams who are partaking the inaugural season will analyze the data and on February, those teams will select two drivers, one from PlayStation 4 and one from XBox One.
The teams who will be a part of the inaugural season include: Chip Ganassi Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, JR Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing, Roush Fenway Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske.
During the February draft, 32 drivers will be selected, and will embark on a 16-race schedule, beginning in May during the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The season will go all the way to the NASCAR Playoffs, and fans can see the 16-race saga live at both NASCAR.com and Motorsport.com.