GT Sport to Headline Debut Esports Schedule at Japan’s 2019 National Sports Festival

Gran Turismo Sport will be one of the games to feature at the first esports competition in the history of Japan’s National Sports Festival next year.

The National Sports Festival dates back to 1946. It’s an annual event that promotes not only participation in different types of sport, but the various local cultures of Japan too.

A different prefecture holds the event each year, celebrating its local culture. For 2019 the event takes place in Ibaraki for the first time since 1974. The country’s 47 prefectures compete against each other in different sporting disciplines. Usually the host prefecture wins the overall titles.

Ibaraki will play host to the 74th festival and, for the first time in its history, this will include an esports competition. The organizing body has chosen Gran Turismo Sport as one of the titles represented.

Before the main event in October 2019, there’ll be an online qualifier. The competition is open to players in two age brackets, with a Junior category for those aged 6-17 and a General bracket for those 18 and over, as of April 1 2019. This online time trial will involve Gr.3 race cars and the Suzuka Circuit, with the fastest 20 drivers in each age group in each area qualifying to a Prefectural Final.

These finals will take place at a physical venue of each prefecture’s choosing. There, players can choose to use either the standard DualShock 4 controller or a Thrustmaster T-GT wheel for an unspecified competition. That will whittle the pack down to just two players in each age bracket, who will then represent their region at the finals, from October 4-6 2019.

GT Sport is one of three games announced so far for the inaugural esports competition. It will join Konami’s Winning Eleven (better known as Pro Evolution Soccer) and tile-matching game Puyo Puyo eSports.

Featured image courtesy of Safoo.