The eSports WRC Championship presented by Toyota Gazoo Racing is now in its fifth season with the battle for places in the grand final at a crucial point after seven of the 11 qualifying rounds.
Thousands of gamers are challenging for the Toyota GR Yaris prize on WRC 8, the official game of the FIA World Rally Championship. The tournament features many iconic special stages used in the real-life WRC from classic rallies including Monte-Carlo, Argentina and Finland.
The co-operation between WRC 8 publisher Nacon and Toyota Gazoo Racing celebrates the recent unveiling of the GR Yaris, an exciting new road car incorporating technology developed from the Japanese manufacturer’s successful WRC participation.
Featuring all-wheel drive and a punchy 1.6-litre, three-cylinder turbo engine which delivers 261DIN hp and 360Nm of torque, the lightweight GR Yaris will be a fitting prize for the eSports WRC champion.
After returning to the WRC in 2017 after a 17-year absence, Toyota Gazoo Racing won the manufacturers’ world title the following season with its Yaris World Rally Car. It then lifted the drivers’ crown last year.
WRC 8 is published by Nacon and development studio KT Racing under licence from WRC Promoter, which owns the commercial rights to the FIA World Rally Championship.
WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla highlighted the recent growth in eSports competition, particularly fuelled by the current enforced pause in global motorsport.
“Since physical events have been affected by recent circumstances, eSports is, now more than ever, a way for our fans to experience the thrill of motorsports competition even more intensely,” he said.
“The eSports WRC Championship has grown in stature over the last five years to become one of motorsport’s leading virtual competitions. We’re pleased to welcome the enthusiastic participation of Toyota Gazoo Racing, a WRC manufacturer team, to the tournament.”
The agreement between Nacon and Toyota Gazoo Racing will extend into further promotions spanning both WRC 8 and WRC 9, the latest instalment of the highly successful game to be released in September.
“We’re very proud of the progress we’ve made since the creation of eSports WRC, which has become inseparable from the development and work performed all year long on the WRC video games,” said Benoît Clerc, Nacon’s head of publishing.
“It has now become an unmissable event for every fan of off-road racing games. Thanks to the support of Toyota, the 2020 year will benefit from significant reinforcement, and we’re very impatient to continue collectively expanding WRC eSports.”
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Andrea Carlucci, director of product and marketing management of Toyota Motor Europe, said: “We’re pleased to partner with eSports WRC to bring the excitement of rallying to more fans around the world.
“As one of the pillars of Toyota Gazoo Racing, e-motorsports is key for us to make motorsport and sports cars more accessible to more people and to foster a new generation of car lovers everywhere.
“With the growing interest in eSports, and our increasing sports car offering, we’re looking forward to working closely with our partners to bring our brand value and exciting products closer to consumers and fans,” he added.
Lebanese competitor Sami-Joe currently leads the 2020 eSports WRC Championship presented by Toyota Gazoo Racing. He claimed his second win of the year at Rally Portugal, moving a point ahead of 2017 and 2019 champion Lohan ‘Nexl’ Blanc with four rounds remaining.