You know when something is good when the world’s leading supercar manufacturer, who can be traditionally risk-averse, jumps onboard.
Maranello’s prancing horse has announced an officially backed esports series for 2021, and it is open for registration right now for European competitors (including the UK) that are over 18 years old. The great news is they’ll also send you a steam code for the Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo for free when you sign up even if you don’t take part!
For non-racers, there will also be an official livery competition that will allow members of the public to submit liveries that will be used in the series. Some of these will then also be shared on official Ferrari channels which is pretty cool!
Somewhat bizarrely, the competition seems to be sponsored by Battle Cats. To us, this feels a little bit left-field for what can probably be considered the most prestigious car manufacturer in the world but presumably that won’t affect the actual competition and hopefully in return we get some entertaining videos around their involvement.
The series is once again due to be held on the Assetto Corsa platform and is only available to PC users. There are scheduled to be quite a number of events over 2021 so hold on as we try to explain the format of the events.
The qualification stages include 4 hotlap sessions that will allow you to join the subsequent races. These are as follows:
- Brands Hatch – Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo – 5th April (09:00 CEST) until 18th April (18:00 CEST)
- Laguna Seca – Ferrari 599XX Evo – 3rd May (09:00 CEST) until 16th May (18:00 CEST)
- Vallelunga – Ferrari FXX K – 7th June (09:00 CEST) until 20th June (18:00 CEST)
- Zandvoort – Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 – 5th July (09:00 CEST) until 18th July (18:00 CEST)
The top 24 drivers in each hotlap session will be invited to the appropriate Qualification Race.
Correlating with the hotlap sessions, there are 4 races where the top 12 drivers will be selected to join the “Series”. These races are due to be broadcast on Ferrari’s Twitch channel but there are a few days gap between when drivers being available to race and the broadcast in the rulebook so it looks like the races are pre-recorded.
The races format will include a 30 minute practice session, 15 minute qualifying and a 30 minute race. It’s not yet clear which parts will be shown on the broadcast. You can see the schedule below:
- Qualification Race 1: 24th April (14:00 CEST) – Streaming: 27th April
- Qualification Race 2: 22nd May (14:00 CEST) – Streaming: 25th May
- Qualification Race 3: 26th June (14:00 CEST) – Streaming: 29th June
- Qualification Race 4: 24th July (14:00 CEST) – Streaming: 27th July
Following the qualification races, the series starts in earnest. According to our maths, there’ll be 48 drivers in the series and Ferrari state that it’ll be splitting that grid into two “brackets” for the series. Presumably, these will be weighted/seeded, but no information on how that split takes place is available at this time.
The race format follows the same 30/15/30 split as the qualification races but the points are calculated over all four races to determine the top 12 in each bracket that moves on to the “Grand Final”. You can see the schedule below:
- Round 1: 28th August (14:00 CEST) – Streaming: 31st August
- Round 2: 25th September (14:00 CEST) – Streaming: 28th September
- Round 3: 23rd October (14:00 CEST) – Streaming: 26th October
- Round 4: 27th November (14:00 CET) – Streaming: 30th November
Here’s where it gets interesting. The 24 drivers that qualify for the final will compete “with a special car that will be provided by the organiser at least five days before the start of the Grand Final.” We’re not yet sure what the new special Ferrari car that could be coming to Assetto Corsa is and whether it will be available to “ordinary” Asetto Corsa players after the event.
There are three races that make up the Grand Final and each race is 30 minutes long yet again. Here’s the schedule:
- Grand Final Round 1 – Imola – Car TBD
- Grand Final Round 2 – Barcelona – Car TBD
- Grand Final Round 3 – Mugello – Car TBD
The final is filmed on 11th December 2021 but will be broadcast on the 14th December.
The winner will be given an opportunity to join the Ferrari Driver Academy Esports Team and become an official esports driver.
Registered drivers will also be invited to take part in prize draws alongside the traditional prizes for the winners so hopefully, that will give more people that aren’t aliens a chance at winning some prizes. Ferrari says that additional prize information will be available soon.
What do you think? Something you’ll be taking part in? Maybe it’s a good opportunity to dust off that copy of Assetto Corsa and hit the track as you try and join the official Ferrari Esports team!