Vir­tual F1 rac­ers set for their own Abu Dhabi fi­nal

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

LON­DON: For­mula One will see at least one world cham­pion crowned in Abu Dhabi next month, even if Lewis Hamil­ton wraps things up long be­fore on the track, after 20 vir­tual rac­ers se­cured their slots for the sport’s in­au­gu­ral E-sports se­ries fi­nal on Tues­day.

The 40 hope­fuls on stage at Lon­don’s Gfin­ity Arena had won through from 63,827 en­trants world­wide com­pet­ing on PlayS­ta­tion4, Xbox One and Win­dows PC plat­forms. The semi-fi­nals, around vir­tual Sil­ver­stone and In­ter­la­gos cir­cuits, were live-streamed through so­cial me­dia and f1e­s­ports.com.

“A lot of us have come from sit­ting in our rooms, play­ing on our con­soles and plat­forms and we’re now in front of ev­ery­one here on these stages and per­form­ing,” said Bri­tish qual­i­fier Har­ri­son Jacks.

Abu Dhabi hosts the fi­nal round of the real For­mula One cham­pi­onship on Nov. 26, but Mercedes’ Hamil­ton looks likely to clinch his fourth ti­tle be­fore then after build­ing up a 59 point lead over Fer­rari’s Se­bas­tian Vet­tel with four races re­main­ing. The first For­mula One Es­ports World Cham­pion will be crowned at Yas Ma­rina on Nov. 24 and 25. In­dia’s ex-For­mula One and Le Mans 24 Hours driver Karun Chand­hok said there was plenty of jok­ing about a gamer one day end­ing up on the real start­ing grid but there was a se­ri­ous side to that.

“To­day, if you look at it, the cost of go­ing karting is very ex­pen­sive, some­times pro­hib­i­tively,” he told view­ers. “For some­body who is be­tween 12 and 16, the op­por­tu­nity to hone your craft on games and sim­u­la­tors can be a good step into the world of mo­tor rac­ing.

“We’ve seen peo­ple go to Le Mans, we’ve seen peo­ple race in GT rac­ing who’ve come from games. I don’t think you can take some­one from a gamer straight to be­ing a grand prix driver but they could get a step onto the lad­der,” he said.

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