Venture capital concern ROKiT has teamed up with Sector3 Studios, developer of the RaceRoom Racing Experience sim, to create a new esports competition for teenagers with a very special prize: a season-long contract to race in Formula 4.
The series is called Racing Star, and it’s open to all 14- and 15-year olds who are British citizens and legally resident in the UK — but ROKiT, which is the title sponsor for the F4 British Championship, is looking to expand the series to other territories in the future.
In order to take part you’ll only need to download R3E onto your PC. There’s no additional costs, and R3E itself is a free-to-play title. Players register within the special Racing Star section of the sim itself.
Uniquely, there’ll be two separate championships, each of which will draw its own pool of finalists: one for male drivers, and one for female drivers.
The first phase of the series consists of five rounds of online competition, with a qualifier for each. Other than the first round, which is open already and runs through to February 1, each of the events consists of a two-week hot-lap qualification session, from which the top 20 eligible times in each championship will be drawn.
That will then set the entry list for the live-broadcast final race each fortnight, with a 10-minute practice session, a 15-minute qualifier, then a final 30-minute race. In all cases, the players will be driving the Tatuus F4, as used in the Formula 4 Championship itself.
The full schedule is as follows:
- Round 1 – Silverstone
- Qualifier – January 1 – February 2
- Final – February 5
- Round 2 – Red Bull Ring
- Qualifier – February 2 – February 16
- Final – February 19
- Round 3 – Monza
- Qualifier – February 16 – March 2
- Final – March 5
- Round 4 – Spa-Francorchamps
- Qualifier – March 2 – March 16
- Final – March 19
- Round 5 – Hockenheim
- Qualifier – March 16 – March 30
- Final – April 2
Players will score championship points for each round, and the top 16 male and top 16 female drivers overall will then progress to the grand final. This will be a live event staged at the University of Bolton’s “National Center for Motorsport Engineering” in the UK in May, where the drivers will race in professional-grade “Racing Unleashed” simulators to fight for the title.
There’ll be prizes of a ROKiT e-bike for the top ten, and a chance to race in a karting championship for second and third, but the top male and top female racer will win the grand prize of a seat each in the ROKiT F4 Racing Team (currently Hitech GP) for the 2023 British Formula 4 Championship.
Each winner also gets an intensive six-month training program from the UK’s motorsport governing body, Motorsport UK, which includes their competition licence, as well as track training in karts and F4 cars.
It’s quite a remarkable prize. F4 represents one of the entry level rungs on the motorsport ladder, with a season cost usually coming in at more than £200,000 for a driver. However it’s where junior drivers get noticed and can easily lead to a future in open-wheel racing; the first champion of British F4 was none other than McLaren F1 driver Lando Norris.