Team Redline claims the crown at the star-studded Le Mans Virtual Series finale
The final round of the Le Mans Virtual Series, the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual, came to an electrifying end as #2 Team Redline and Felipe Drugovich, Felix Rosenqvist, Luke Bennett, and Chris Lulham triumphed at the world’s biggest and most prestigious endurance esports race after 24 hours of hard virtual racing at the legendary 13.6km / 8.5 mile Circuit de la Sarthe track. It was Drugovich’s second consecutive win at the virtual 24-hour event.
The GTE category was won by the #888 Ferrari 488 GTE of Romain Grosjean’s R8G Esports (Alexander Smolyar, Scott Andrews, Timotej Andonovski and Erhan Jajovski), while BMW Team Redline’s #71 of Rudy van Buren, Lorenzo Colombo, Kevin Siggy and Enzo Bonito took GTE championship honours.
180 racing and sim racing stars from across the globe tested their endurance in the 45-car field on 164 different simulators across the world. Two-time F1 World Champion Max Verstappen, former F1 and current IndyCar star Romain Grosjean, FIA F2 Champion Felipe Drugovich and FIA F3 Champion Victor Martins were among those who pitted their individual sim racing talent and team’s strategy against the famed 24-hour endurance race on a challenging and intense track. In second and third places were #20 Porsche Coanda – the position enough to ensure they claimed the championship title – and #53 AMG Team Williams Esports.
The twice-round-the-clock endurance race saw plenty of action including:
A strong performance from #2 Team Redline which saw them crowned as winners of the final race of the Le Mans Virtual 2022-23 season
Mika Hakimi in the #22 Rocket Simsport entry secured the fastest lap at 3:22.324 in the LMP category
Charlie Collins in the #77 Proton Coanda Esports entry secured the fastest lap at 3:47.632 in the GTE category
We’re sharing the highlights of the race for news interest–you can see the full post-race report below. A full 52-minute highlights TV show will be available on TV and OTT channels in the days following the event.
24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual – Post Race Report
The 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual, the fifth and final round of the Le Mans Virtual Series, kicked off Saturday 14th January with 180 drivers in 45 cars across the LMP2 and GTE classes taking to the start line. The drivers used 164 different simulators located in 38 different countries across the globe.
Two-time F1 World Champion Max Verstappen led a star-studded driver line-up that featured names from across motorsport, including F1 and current Indycar star Romain Grosjean, FIA F2 Champion Felipe Drugovich, FIA F3 champion Victor Martins. Global motor manufacturers such as BMW, Ferrari and Porsche joined Alpine and Mercedes-AMG to enter esports teams.
The challenging circuit also saw sim racing stars including Autosport Award recipient for Esports Driver of the Year James Baldwin, and former 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual winners such as Jeffrey Rietveld, Joshua Rogers, and Nikodem Wisniewski.
The race started dry and saw spots of rain throughout the race, but the majority of the race laps were completely dry.
The LMP classification saw a fierce battle between #2 Team Redline and #20 Porsche Coanda for first place throughout the race, with Team Redline ultimately taking first place with a lead time of 21.109 seconds ahead of Porsche Coanda.
#53 AMG Williams and #36 Alpine Esports saw an intense, down-to-the-wire battle for 3rd place, with Nikoden Wisniewski from AMG Williams ultimately claiming the podium position.
Joshua Rogers from Porsche Coanda spoke after the race about the team overcoming the challenges of the race to claim their place on the podium “It was obviously a fantastic prep, effort, and event for us. Unfortunately, things didn’t quite go our way on the whole but I’m proud of us as a group and how we came together in these difficult times to regroup, refocus to deal with what we had and try to make the most of the race from there. Congratulations to Team Redline on the win, they did drive a fantastic race.”
The GTE classification saw the #888 R8G Esports take the chequered flag first with the #71 BMW Team Redline and the #89 BMW Team BS COMPETITION coming in second and third respectively.
Charlie Collins from #77 Proton Coanda Esports secured the fastest lap at 3:47.632 in the GTE category.
Erhan Jajovski from R8G Esports spoke after the race about his team’s victory “I don’t know what to say, I’m lost for words to be honest. In this race, there were a lot of ups and downs but in the end, we never gave up, we gave everything in our power. I’m so glad for myself and everyone in the team.”
LMP Teams Championship top three after the race: #20 Porsche Coanda – 94 points, #1 Team Redline – 78 Points & #2 Team Redline – 73 points
GTE Teams Championship top three after the race: #71 BMW Team Redline – 119 points, #888 R8G Esports – 81 points & #26 Sim Maranello – 61.5 points
Cybeart signs a multi-year deal with Warner Bros. Discovery Global Consumer Products as their official home and consumer electronics partner in India
Cybeart, a leading manufacturer of comfortable and premium high-quality products across Canada, India and the Middle East, has signed a multi-year licensing deal with Warner Bros. Discovery Global Consumer Products as their official Home & Consumer Electronics partner in India. This strategic partnership aims to bring the strength of Warner Bros. Discovery’s brands to Indian consumers through a range of cutting-edge technology products including but not limited to Gaming chairs, keyboards and Mouse Pads.
Cybeart will utilize its expertise in design to manufacture state-of-the-art home and consumer electronics products that feature iconic Warner Bros. Discovery IPs. By integrating IPs such as DC, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon, Mortal Kombat, Lord of the Rings, and Rick and Morty in the products, Cybeart aims to deliver a comfortable, premium experience to its fans and users.
Krutik Patel, Founder and CEO of Cybeart said, “After recently renewing a three-year agreement with Warner Bros. Discovery Global Consumer Products as the official Home & Consumer Electronics partner in Canada and the Middle East, Cybeart will leverage this partnership to strengthen our presence in the India market with a range of licensed products in the category. At Cybeart, we have always been driven by our passion for innovation and creativity, and through this partnership, we would like to bring these iconic franchises closer to their fans.”
Having established a strong presence in India with high-profile associations with Revenant Esports, Orangutan Esports, Mumbai Indians, and Gujarat Titans recently, Cybeart is aiming to transcend the Esports and sporting landscapes to become a household name in the country through this partnership with Warner Bros. Discovery Global Consumer Products.
With new momentum into the second esport season: Ski Challenge plans Nations Cup
Ski Challenge, the fast-paced esports game by Greentube, has become one of the most popular sports games just a few months after its official launch. For the second season, the developers of NOVOMATIC Digital Gaming and Entertainment Division, in close cooperation with ski associations and co-shareholders from Austria (ÖSV), Switzerland (Swiss-Ski), and Germany (DSV), are planning an attractive innovation for all ski and game enthusiasts: the Nations Cup, starting in autumn 2023.
Developed as a tribute to Greentube’s first published game, Ski Challenge has had an extremely successful first season with over half a million downloads on iOS and Android since its release in October 2022. The game is not only popular among players but has also established itself as an attractive platform for high-profile global brand partnerships.
Thanks to continuous and extensive updates that enhance the competitive nature of Ski Challenge, Greentube and the three successful ski associations, ÖSV, Swiss-Ski, and DSV, have now joined forces as shareholders to create an exciting new tournament series: the Ski Challenge Nations Cup.
This thrilling competition invites players to represent their countries and compete for honor, glory, and attractive prizes in multiple qualifying rounds and the tournament phase. But that’s not all. Ski Challenge players who qualify for Germany, Austria, and Switzerland will now compete as official national teams for their respective ski associations.
The tournament events will take place parallel to the actual Ski World Cup events. With this expansion, Ski Challenge aims to further strengthen its esports concept and transfer the enthusiasm of skiing into the virtual world.
Michael Bauer, Greentube’s CFO/CGO, said: “We are thrilled to be able to add a number of new teams to the game as part of our Ski Challenge Nations Cup update. These federations are staples of the sport and give the game another level of legitimacy. We firmly believe our highly dedicated and loyal player base will be delighted with these upcoming additions as Ski Challenge continues to grow as a premier esports title.”
Diego Züger, CEO Commercial Swiss-Ski: “This is a great opportunity for skiing. With the establishment of the Nations Cup and the entry into esports, we will inspire new target groups and further develop skiing as a whole. The successful cooperation with Ski Austria and the German Ski Association, as well as Greentube, shows that a lot is possible with good collaboration.”
Stefan Schwarzbach, Board of Communication, German Ski Association: “With the Nations Cup, we as associations want to establish a direct connection to real skiing and our top athletes. Ski Challenge is increasingly becoming an attractive communication platform to inspire children and young people for skiing. In the medium term, our clubs and ski clubs should also benefit from this.”
Christian Scherer, Secretary General, Austrian Ski Association: “We are incredibly excited to launch a virtual tournament series that will revolutionize the world of skiing and bring nations together. This initiative expands the reach and ignites the competitive spirit of skiers worldwide. It is undoubtedly one of the most exciting announcements of 2023 as we embark on this exciting journey to shape the future of skiing and create an unforgettable experience for all involved.”
DMCC Publishes Latest “Future of Trade” Report on Gaming and Esports
Gaming revenues are expected to almost double by 2027 from 2021 in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, reaching USD 6 billion, according to DMCC’s latest Future of Trade 2023 report titled “Gaming in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA): Geared for growth”. A young and digital-savvy population, high levels of digital connectivity, and government support are driving the region’s emergence as a consumer and creator hub.
Gaming and esports are both fast growing consumer segments, benefiting from rapid advancements in technology as well as broader and more inclusive audiences. The UAE and Saudi Arabia lead the region, supported by high income levels, strong digital engagement, and public investment initiatives. Globally, Asia Pacific constitutes the largest market share and China, the US and Japan are the largest individual markets.
The report gathers contributions from key industry leaders to establish the critical drivers of the industry’s accelerated growth in the MENA region and beyond. It also examines the impact on gaming and esports from a technology, culture and business perspective, covering global consumer trends, the emergence of MENA as a gaming and esports hub, and the key challenges that the industry needs to address to increase revenues further.
Guiding the global industry’s accelerated growth from nearly USD 200 billion in revenues in 2021 to USD 340 billion in 2027, the report outlines a set of key recommendations for governments and businesses, namely:
- Diversify esports revenue streams from sponsorship to new direct-to-fan monetisation models – including digital merchandising, loyalty programmes and training platforms for amateur gamers – to boost revenues.
- Develop appropriate regulatory safeguards to ensure privacy, security and safety online in the digital gaming ecosystem and provide a business-friendly environment – including smoother visa systems to allow esports professionals and audiences to attend live events – to attract talent into the region and elevate it into a global industry leader.
Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, DMCC, said: “Gaming has come to the fore of entertainment globally, driving rapid growth especially in the MENA region, which now constitutes 15% of the global player base. The rise of gamification in areas such as education, healthcare, and other sectors has demonstrated gaming’s role in facilitating economic activity more broadly. Ensuring the accelerated growth of the gaming sector will have a measurable impact on the future of markets around the world, as well as the future of trade. As DMCC seeks to solidify Dubai’s reputation as a global trade and economic hub, efficiently activating opportunities within the gaming sector will prove essential.”
Among the most closely watched segments is esports, which is expected to post revenue growth of 23.3% between 2019 and 2024 in MENA. Fuelling this is the region’s young demographic, engagement from international broadcasters and sponsors, and government support. Tapping into this economic potential, DMCC partnered with YaLLa Esports, the Dubai-based professional esports organisation, to launch the DMCC Gaming Centre in December 2022. The Centre supports the growth of the industry in Dubai by providing gaming businesses with access to global capital, leading industry talent, and an ecosystem that allows them to operate efficiently and with confidence.
Due to the UAE’s strong business environment and infrastructure, as well as its status as a gateway to the Middle East and Asia Pacific regions, various international gaming developers have set up their regional headquarters in the country. Ubisoft is based in Abu Dhabi, while the gaming giant Tencent set up its MENA HQ in Dubai along with Riot Games. In Saudi Arabia, the kingdom has included gaming as a core element of its Neom project and has already made investments worth over $1.7 billion on the gaming industry.
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