• Toyota South Africa is running an Esports challenge with various enthusiasts around the country.
• From sim drivers to professional racers the competition is tight to find the best Esports racer.
• The Toyota Esports challenge is played on World Rally Championship 9.
The global lockdown due to the coronavirus resulted in many motorsport fans and gamers spend more time engaged in Esports. It also shone the light on how massive the sport is.
Locally, Toyota in partnership with Brand Inc, the sports sponsorship arm of the haveyouheard advertising group, has launched their own E-sports Challenge on WRC 9, the official game of the World Rally Championships.
Testing their rally raid skills
The latest version of the hugely popular series features demanding new rallies in Japan, New Zealand and Kenya from this season’s original championship calendar, as well as the jaw-dropping World Rally Cars of the championship’s three manufacturer teams, including the current 2020 season leaders, Toyota Gazoo Racing.
"Esports and more specifically gaming has been a natural extension of our sponsorship programme and the coming months will see a number of exciting initiatives launched which will solidify Toyota’s place in the world of gaming - allowing the brand to tap into a new audience," said Toyota's Marketing Communications General Manager, Lettie Labuschagne.
The Toyota Esports Challenge played on WRC 9 will see competitors driving the Toyota Gazoo Racing Yaris, a digital replica of the car currently in competition in the World Rally Championship and the car that saw Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin win the WRC Turkey Rally, across various rally stages chosen to test the competitors.
"Our concept for the inaugural WRC event is very simple. Every week during Phase 1, which runs from September 14 to October 10, competitors can submit their fastest time on the allocated WRC 9 stage. The fastest time each week on each of the three platforms supporting WRC 9 will secure a place in Stage 2," Labuschagne said.
"Stage 2 takes place on October 14 and takes the form of a lobby finale hosted online. Each player securing a place during Phase 1 will be invited to the lobby to compete for the prizes on offer. There is a total of R60 000 up for grabs, with the winner of each division – or platform – receiving R15 000."
Sim racers versus professional racing drivers
The tournament kicked off with the opening week’s play seeing some of the country’s top sim racers, Jason Absmeier, Charl Wilken, Bruno Cadilhe and Alleric Enslin, racing against some of South Africa’s best dirt and road racing drivers and members of the Toyota Gazoo Racing team including Giniel De Villiers, Mandla Mdakane, Henk Lategan, Michael Van Rooyen and Guy Botterill as they compete in the Pro versus Sim division.
The campaign also feature some of South Africa’s top influencers have also gotten in on the action with Ryan Kankowski, Mojak Lehoko, Pippa Tshabalala, Okay Wasabi, Simon Orgill and Brent Lindeque racing against each other for the title of South Africa’s fastest influencer.
WRC 9 Motoring Media Challenge
"We've also invited a number of well-known motoring journalists to participate in a bespoke media challenge. Here they get test to test their WRC 9 skills at the wheel of a Toyota Gazoo Racing Yaris WRC car," Labuschagne added.
Where to Watch and Enter
Races are livestreamed every Friday night via the Toyota South Africa YouTube and Facebook Live channels with celebrity commentators, Sam 'Tech Girl' Wright and George 'Gee Max' Smith 'shoutcasting' the action as racers go up against each other on new tracks.
Entries for the competition are still open. To enter, participants are required to register a free user profile on https://acgl.co.za/ToyotaEsportsChallenge and will also need to have the game (WRC 9), an accepted platform and internet connection.
The various winners will be announced following the completion of the tournament.