Youth Series Designed to Cultivate Young, Diverse Talent Worldwide
NASCAR announced today the formation of a youth esports racing series, the first esports competition created to attract and identify young talent. The series will be hosted on iRacing, the world’s premier racing simulation platform. NASCAR’s youth esports series establishes an easily accessible entry point to real-world racing and provides young competitors with an unparalleled simulation experience on iRacing’s ultra-realistic software.
The youth series will be open to participants ages 13-16 worldwide. The inaugural 12-week season is slated to kick off in June on virtual renderings of iconic short tracks like Langley Speedway, The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
The regular season, comprised of the first eight events, will be open to all participants. The 50 racers accumulating the most points over the regular season will qualify to compete in the four-week playoffs. The top 30 in points after the playoffs will advance to a final championship event at the iconic Martinsville Speedway. The season will include a mix of single and heat race formats. Participants can register today on NASCAR.com/iRacing.
NASCAR currently sanctions the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Series, an esports series now in its ninth season and features the most elite oval sim-racers competing on virtual versions of NASCAR-sanctioned race tracks. The addition of a youth series on iRacing will provide driver’s seat experience for competitors looking to hone their talent, including those with professional racing aspirations.
“As we expand our presence in esports, NASCAR is uniquely positioned as the only sport that can develop skills transferable to real world competition,” said Blake Davidson, NASCAR vice president of consumer innovation. “We’re excited to see the young, diverse and global talent pool this series attracts, especially as we cultivate our next generation of drivers.”
William Byron, a rookie driving the iconic No. 24 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, started his racing career on iRacing in 2011 at 14 years old. In just two years on iRacing, Byron accumulated more than 100 wins and finished in the top five in an additional 203 races.
Now, only seven years later, Byron is leading the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings in NASCAR’s top series, complementing a NASCAR Xfinity Series championship (2017), NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship (2015), and Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (2016) and Xfinity Series (2017).
“NASCAR has been at the forefront of competitive online racing for years and its enhanced involvement in esports will be even more evident through the launch of its youth esports series on iRacing,” said Tony Gardner, iRacing president. “NASCAR drivers have used iRacing to accelerate their development beginning at a young age, as well as to hone their skills throughout their careers. We look forward to cheering on the alumni from the youth series when they compete at the highest levels of NASCAR in the years to come.”
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season continues with the KC Masterpiece 400 at Kansas Speedway on Saturday, May 12 at 8 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for the No. 1 form of motorsports in the United States. NASCAR consists of three national series (Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series™, NASCAR Xfinity Series™, and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series™), three regional series, one local grassroots series, three international series and the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA). The International Motor Sports Association™ (IMSA®) governs the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship™, the premier U.S. sports car series. Based in Daytona Beach, Fla., with offices in eight cities across North America, NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races in more than 30 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico and Europe. For more information visit www.NASCAR.com and www.IMSA.com, and follow NASCAR on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat (‘NASCAR’).
The world leader in the online racing simulation and gaming market, iRacing was founded in 2004 by Dave Kaemmer and John Henry. Kaemmer was co-founder of Papyrus Design Group, developers of award-winning racing simulations including “Grand Prix Legends” and NASCAR 2003.” Henry is principal owner of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool Football Club, as well as co-owner of NASCAR’s Roush Fenway Racing. iRacing.com has developed dozens of formal partnerships in the motorsport industry to help create the most authentic racing simulation in the world including with NASCAR, IndyCar, International Speedway Corporation, Speedway Motorsports, IMSA, Mazda Motorsports, McLaren Racing, Williams F1, Audi, BMW, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, the World of Outlaws, the United States Auto Club and General Motors.