With the new F1 game coming out on Friday F1 today announced a new eSports championship in partnership with developer Codemasters and eSports specialists Gfinity.
This is the first time F1 has fully embraced gaming and is another big move by Liberty Media.
The event will kick off in September with qualifying to get down to the top 40 drivers. They will then be invited to semi-finals held in London on October 10 & 11.
The top 20 will move on to the finals which will end with a decider race at the Abu Dhabi track to crown its first champion the same time as the real-life F1 champion.
F1 commercial director Sean Bratches said: “This launch presents an amazing opportunity for our business: strategically and in the way we engage fans,”
“First, it’s a growing category with tremendous fan engagement that we’re entering in a big way; and we are proud to have Codemasters and Gfinity joining us on this ride.
“Of course as we do in Formula 1, we’ll continue to evolve and innovate in the way we run this virtual counterpart to the F1 Championship to ensure we provide the most exciting and enjoyable experience we can for our fans.”
“eSports is one of the fastest-growing sectors of gaming already attracting audiences in the tens of millions,” he added.
“We are delighted to be announcing this incredible racing series with Formula 1 for our upcoming F1 2017 game. The highly competitive nature and high-speed spectacle of the sport combined with the authenticity of our game will provide a thrilling experience for players and viewers across the world.
“We look forward to engaging more deeply with our loyal and passionate community, and to bring new fans to both our game and the sport itself.”
Additionally, the champion will automatically qualify for the 2018 event, be named F1 eSports championship expert and get their own character in the 2018 F1 game.