We’ve had GT Academy, the eRace of Champions and the World’s Fastest Gamer, but now there’s finally an equivalent for rallying’s brightest gaming stars. Say hello to the FIA Rally Star programme, and on paper, it’s one of the best gaming-to-real-life prizes of all time.
That’s not hyperbole on behalf of me, just wait until you hear this:
- First-stage qualifying takes place via 12 online challenges in the WRC 9 video game
- PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series, PS4 and PS5 players, platform and equipment agnostic results
- Ages 17-26
- Digital challenges start 27th February, end 21st August 2021
- Six continental finals for the top qualifiers
- The best of the continental finals duke it out in person driving a LifeLive TN5 Cross Car
- One driver per continent then selected to join the FIA Rally Star team
- At least one female driver will be guaranteed an additional spot in the FIA Rally Star team
- The seven selected drivers all get one year worth of training and six rallies in an M-Sport Fiesta Rally3
- Then, the top four get an additional fully-funded season in the 2023 Junior World Rally Championship
- The top three then get the 2024 Junior World Rally Championship too
- If one of these three wins the JWRC, they get a fully funded WRC 2 season in 2025
Holy smokes! So, should you be the chosen one who succeeds through the tournament, you could end up with four fully-paid-up seasons of rallying on the world stage. That’s simply incredible.
In order to take part, you need a copy of the really rather great WRC 9 rally game, but also the £7.99/$9.99/€9.99 FIA Rally Star DLC. This then gains your entry into the event – which is not to be confused with the official esports WRC season, taking place concurrently.
For the entry fee, you get the M-Sport Fiesta Rally3 car in the game and a brand-new stage. The car is a neat addition, the first to be built to the new all-wheel-drive Rally3 rules in the world and only recently revealed. It should have plenty of traction and not too much power. Success will be a momentum game.
The new stage doesn’t look like it’ll be anything to write home about, however, details are scarce presently. In the past couple of WRC games, there is the semi-open-world Test Area to drive about in. Through the main career mode, this is sometimes used for challenges and car testing. The first FIA Rally Star stage looks to be simply part of this cordoned off.
Even if you have purchased the content pack though, right now, the extra car isn’t available until the tournament begins and, according to the official WRC 9 Twitter account, the new car and stages will only be available in the tournament mode.
Seems a bit odd that you can’t use the car in the other game modes to me.
When you consider that other additional cars for the game, such as the Toyota Corolla 1999, are priced at just £3.29, £7.99 seems steep for one car and not-really-a-new-stage. However, if you are eligible to compete in the FIA Rally Star competition, for less than the McDonalds medium meal, you could get four seasons of rallying, so look at it that way.
The first #RallyAtHome Challenge starts on 27th February and ends on 4th March 2021. Each entrant is allowed 100 test runs and five timed runs per challenge. You’ll also need to register online for an FIA Rally Star ID. We’ll have all the details when they start to emerge later this month.
Image credit: https://www.fiarallystar.com/en