NASCAR launches first ever pro-racer esports series

NASCAR and esports company iRacing have announced the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series, an esports alternative to the sport’s usual scheduling whilst COVID-19 continues to suspend events.

The exhibition esports competition will feature many of the sport’s most popular drivers from the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series, NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series among others.

Ben Kennedy, NASCAR’s vice president of racing development stated: “Until we have cars back on track, the entire NASCAR community has aligned to provide our passionate fans with a unique, fun and competitive experience on race day.

 “Our long-time partners at iRacing offer an incredible product, and we are excited to see how many of our best drivers will stack up in the virtual domain of competitive racing.”

The multi-week series kicks off on March 22, on the virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway and will feature a long list of drivers including Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell.

The eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series is expected to act as a substitute to racing fans amidst the coronavirus outbreak, which has suspended all NASCAR events until May 3, 2020.

The organisation will be hoping to persuade broadcasts to air the series in order to continue providing the fanbase with some racing content throughout the situation.

Nascar president Steve Phelps, who spoke to reporters after the announcement, added: “There are discussions we’re having with Fox about what things we can do, discussions we would have with NBC, things that we can put through our own channels that satisfy our fans. 

“Our fans are obviously thirsty for this content. We want to provide it to them smartly and have interesting content as opposed to just repurposing some of the content that’s already been done.”

NASCAR and iRacing have held a strong partnership for many years, with the esports company being responsible for the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series. The competition features 40 eRacers competing for a prize pool of $300,000, the largest amount of any racing game genre.