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Racing Prodigy is putting gamers in the driver’s seat with the launch of its Prodigy Racing League. The PRL will recruit players from four different racing games — iRacing, Street Kart Racing, rFactor 2 and RaceRoom — for an opportunity to race real cars in its league.
Starting June 19 through October, 15 players will have 12 chances to earn a spot at the league’s first Prodigy Week. This first in-person event will put gamers behind the wheel of Radical SR1 race cars at Atlanta Motorsports Park. The PRL partnered with Pit Fit to give participant resources to train their technique, fitness and communication ahead of the October 30-November 1 event. The company plans to hold a second Prodigy Week in early 2024 with an additional 35 qualifying drivers.
These Prodigy Week events will create a talent pool of 50 eligible drivers which the PRL team can draft ahead of its first full U.S. season in 2024. Currently, the PRL plans to draft 24 drivers, all of whom will be paid to compete.
Currently, the PRL will operate each of the six teams — with four drivers each — that will participate in the league. However, this could change between now and October.
Blending esports and motorsports
The Prodigy Racing League is not the first time motorsports has looked to gamers as potential talent. Racing Prodigy’s CEO David Cook previously led Mazda’s competitions that pitted gamers against top racers in real life.
“I worked with some of the best iRacing participants at Mazda. They just showed up at the race track and we had no understanding of their capabilities. They were always quite competitive and generally they were more competitive than Mazda’s other trainees,” Cook said.
Of course, the upcoming Gran Turismo movie is based on the real world success of GT Academy’s gamer turned racer Jann Mardenborough. While the PRL does not have any affiliation with the movie, which debuts August 11, the league will likely benefit from the increased exposure. Similarly, Netflix’s Drive to Survive has sparked interest in F1 and expanded the audience of motorsports.
“There’s a lot we can learn from Drive to Survive and the Gran Turismo movie. More people want to be drivers now. The movie will also show people that you can take the skills from SIM racing to real world racing,” Cook added. “Telling human interest stories and pulling the curtain back [in Drive to Survive] has driven the age of the audience down and has helped motorsports reach more women.”
Moreover, the PRL is interested in working with ownership groups from both motor sports and esports to bridge the gap. “Instead of plucking one team from esports and then putting them into our motor sports business model, we’re instead trying to create a model that could blend these worlds in a better way,” said Cook.
PRL lowers barriers to entry
Reducing the financial barrier to join the world of motor sports is central to the Prodigy Racing League’s mission. At the entry level, participants typically spend $50,000 to low six figures according to Cook. By comparison, mobile devices, consoles, PCs and sim racing peripherals are more accessible.
“We’re doing this because we want to further open motor sports to any and all, regardless of socioeconomic background. We want to give opportunities to people who have the talent but may not have the pocketbook,” Cook told GamesBeat. “Our team believes that up until now motorsports have given gamers limited opportunities to get in the door. They haven’t lasted long enough to give gamers the experience needed to achieve their dreams. The Prodigy Racing League is here to foster this talent.”
Players must be 13 to compete and registration is open now.
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