NASCAR has joined forces with collegiate esports league NACE Starleague to launch the eNASCAR College iRacing Series.
The series is open to over 500 colleges and universities across North America, with aspiring drivers competing for a chance to earn a share of $50,000 (£~36,859) in scholarships.
In addition, the collegiate sim racing series will be presented by Coca-Cola, Southern Computer Warehouse, Playseat, and gaming peripherals brand Logitech G. The first of a three-race schedule taking place throughout Spring will take place on February 24th at the virtual Daytona International Speedway on the iRacing platform.
Nick Rend, Managing Director of Gaming and Esports at NASCAR, spoke on the launch: “Gaming and esports are an important component of NASCAR, allowing us to reach new fans who are often engaging with the sport for the first time.
“Our various eNASCAR initiatives have seen exponential growth. We felt this was the right time to extend our reach to a younger audience and launch the eNASCAR College iRacing Series to show students the opportunities that sim racing and our sport hold for them.”
NASCAR is no stranger to esports. The motorsport series often hosts officially sanctioned championships involving a mixture of esports organisations and teams competing in the real-world Cup series.
Rob Johnson, CEO of CSL Esports, also commented: “It is paramount for CSL Esports and Playfly Sports to continue growing and expanding within NACE Starleague. Integrating sim racing as part of the league not only provides greater opportunity for students with varied gaming interests, but furthers our long-term mission of linking education, in this case engineering-focused knowledge, with Esports competition.”
Esports Insider says: After seeing huge growth during the pandemic, sim racing is continuing its upward trajectory thanks to various initiatives. NASCAR joining forces with NACE Starleague is a great opportunity for the motorsport series to expand its esports offerings on a collegiate level.