Introducing eSports+Cars: Darren Cox Launches Dedicated Virtual Racing Team

The pioneer behind Gran Turismo’s own ‘gamer-to-racer’ programme, ‘GT Academy’, has now turned his focus to creating a professional virtual motorsport team set to take on competitive gaming. This past weekend, Darren Cox launched ‘eSports+Cars’, a foray into bridging the virtual and real-world divide in motorsport together – an ambitious, regulated team that competes and operates at the same standard expected in real-life motorsport.

Cox, being a former executive at Nissan and having guided the GT Academy process, believes that using knowledge learned in the real-life motorsport industry and the virtual world of Gran Turismo he can seize an opportunity not quite approached:

“We want to use the team to shine a light on the huge opportunity that is virtual Motorsport and we will do it by mirroring the approach of the best teams and brands in the real motorsport world.”

eSports+Cars aims to offer a mutually beneficial project to both the thriving eSports community and the dwindling Motorsport industry which actively seeks to find new ways to bring people into the grandstands. Specifically the younger generation, which may not be the immediate focus of executives like F1’s Bernie Ecclestone and vice chairman of NASCAR, Mike Helton. Cox uses football games like FIFA and PES as an example of how an untapped audience can become engaged:

“Research in the US shows us that the millennial generation first become engaged in football through gaming. The growth of MLS has been driven not initially by fans by going to matches and inheriting a passion for the sport, they are instead playing online and then becoming engaged with what happens in the ‘real’ professional leagues.”

However, it isn’t just the audience that eSports+Cars is aiming to capture, as the chances of success for the team will of course rely on the core component and the front-end of the whole venture – the drivers. “Eventually we want to have the very best virtual drivers from around the globe, playing together across every platform, in every type of motor racing game; attending eSports events, working and competing as a team” Cox explains in the press release.

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Viewership and earnings are the key drivers in any sport; and eSports are no different

The mantra of eSports+Cars seems to encapsulate that it’s important the talent is there to bring in the fans – the success of Motorsport is in it’s individuals and this isn’t an ideal that will be lost in the transition to the virtual world, whether that be through fan interaction or the actual driving by the team.

Gaming platform parity is also at the fore-front of the virtual racing team’s plans, popular titles like Forza Motorsport 6, GT Sport, rFactor and Project Cars have featured and will continue to feature throughout the team’s development.

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With experience from both Nissan and GT Academy, Darren Cox is in a prime position to drive the team to success.

As eSports become more mainstream and sim racing reaches new heights of popularity, eSports+Cars couldn’t have launched at a better time. The trajectory of the industry doesn’t seem to be slowing, and motorsport needs a new way to appeal to a millennial generation. It’s definitely an exciting time to be a sim racer.

GTPlanet’s own AJ Smith has taken on a brand new venture with ‘eSports+Cars’ as Team Manager, join us in wishing him well for the future of the project!

Comments (15)

  1. LeftyWright69

    I see huge opportunity that has the big eyes looking in the direction of those who have great talent and little cash. Racing is $$$$$$ and dedication cost time so if the answer to the age old question ” Do you have more money then time or time then money?” motivates those with little cash to apply them selves, then more the merrier. Nothing funner then shaming the motorhome boys w/ team bailing wire and tape.

  2. Palestinian

    Gotta keep on keeping on. Try not to hold on to what’s gone, I hear the voices but gotta keep on keeping on.

  3. kapnk006

    Does esports+cars have a connection with the LetsRace? Shall we assume that ESPC will operate on existing virtual motorsports hardware and software platforms or their own proprietary platforms?

  4. ribloGT

    They are ruining GT and online racing…
    I will stay offline gaming cause soon online racing will be just competition for money…

    So sad… :(

    1. ribloGT

      My fear is that if these organized teams will enter into GTS or other online racing games they will monopolize races leaving REAL gamers the last standings in races…
      So most of people that will buy GTS will be in the “ghetto” of non sanctioned online lobbies where without the fairplay system will not work and assholes and troll racers can ruin your hobby and if they will go into sanctioned FIA races they will be first in the subpar races and the few that will win and get in the bigger races will be just sparring aprtners for these teams built to win the championships…
      This mainly cause the game is mostly online and the offline is just arcade races and training to the online races…
      And all these people that will be in this situation are still people that will buy the game at 60€ per copy and will pay the online gaming fee too…

      Maybe i am bit pessimistic and cinical but my view of the future of online racing in GTS is this… more or less…

      Another reason more to not buy it…

    2. Northstar

      I don’t really see how your concerns are really possible since it’s not like “pro” gamers have any real advantage.

    3. Johnnypenso

      There’s no doubt organized teams will enter and dominate. Team Redline is already tough to beat in any competitive environment and you can bet more and more teams will pop up to compete, especially if it gets monetized. This is the big advantage of the Driver Rating system though, you should always be able to find competitive races with people at your own pace and level of etiquette.

    4. letdown427

      But the organised teams (Team Redline for example) are just made up of people who would be racing anyway… The fact their username has a prefix doesn’t make them any quicker, if they weren’t part of a team they’d still beat everyone.

      I don’t see how it’s time to hail the end of online racing just yet, sorry.

    5. Johnnypenso

      If they work as a team it can make a big difference, especially in sharing tuning/setup data. I had a tuning partner in GT5 and things progressed much quicker with 2 heads on the subject rather than 1. With a several pairs of eyes plus a Team Manager overseeing things they’ll likely be faster as a group than as individuals.

  5. Tenacious D

    I wish them the best of luck. Ventures like this are dependent on a fickle populace to get involved in, stay engaged, and encourage others. But he sees the value in building this, so surely someone will come. I’ll keep tabs and try to show up for the inaugural as a spectator.

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