The International Olympic Committee has confirmed its line-up for the upcoming Olympic Esports Week, including a Motor Sport Event that utilises Gran Turismo 7.
A return to virtual events for the IOC, following its first use in 2021, the competition held in Singapore will also see tennis, sailing, cycling and chess categories alongside the racing component.
The event also marks a return to a collaboration between the FIA and the game’s developers Polyphony Digital.
Last year, the Gran Turismo World Series competition ran without an FIA partnership for the first time since 2018, but as clarified by Motorsport.com’s F1 Editor Jonathan Noble in July, the FIA had planned to collaborate with the Sony-owned studio.
“We still work with Gran Turismo on plenty of other projects. So no, it’s not an end. It’s just an acceptance of a non-exclusive approach, and we feel that Esports needs to be more open,” said Frederic Bertrand, the FIA’s director of Formula E and Innovative Sport Activities Department, at the time.
Qualifying for this year’s Olympic Esports Week Motor Sport Event will open within the game from the middle of April in the form of an online time trial. The quickest competitors will then advance to a live in-person final held between 22nd and 25th June 2023 inside the Suntec Centre.
“Participation of Gran Turismo in the Olympic Esports Series 2023 is something we are very happy about and it is great for fans of GT and the community,” explained Polyphony Digital CEO and Gran Turismo producer Kazunori Yamauchi.
“What we’re seeing is something that, for us, began when we started GT Academy in 2008 when we were trying to go from virtual to real-world racing, and we saw them as two distinct things. Ten years on and we are seeing the landscape of sport evolving with more places where the virtual and real worlds meet.
“The OES marks a step change in that process. The athletes will be one in the same, and athletes competing in these sports will have the experience in their careers of moving seamlessly between the virtual and real.
“Sport has been evolving for 100 years and this is the latest development in that evolution.”
“I am delighted that the FIA is joining forces for the second time in a row with the IOC and Gran Turismo for this innovative Esports event,” said Robert Reid, the FIA Deputy President for Sport.
“We’ve committed to double the participation in motorsport, and the Olympic Esports Series aligns perfectly with our strategy to extend the appeal of our wonderful sport to fresh audiences. Esports promotes mass participation by removing most of the traditional barriers to entry and is also a great display of equality, diversity and inclusivity.”
The last time the event was held, under the moniker of the Olympic Virtual Series, it used the elder GT Sport platform where Italy’s Valerio Gallo became the inaugural champion following a three-race final.
Olympic Esports Week Motor Sport Event qualifying
Mid-April within Gran Turismo 7.
Olympic Esports Week Motor Sport Event final
22nd-25th June, Singapore.
Source: Gran Turismo