Australasia’s leading esports media and tournament provider LetsPlay.Live have partnered with MotorSport New Zealand and the New Zealand Esports Federation to help find the nation’s first sim-racing motorsport Olympian.
Announced earlier this year by the International Olympic Committee, the Olympic Virtual Series invites budding esports athletes to represent their country in medalled events for several different games, including motor-sim title GT Sport. New Zealanders will have the opportunity to qualify for the Oceanic spot in the Olympic Virtual Series Motor Sport Event both in-person at SkyCity or online from Thursday 13th May.
“It’s incredibly exciting to see motorsport and sim-racing being recognised as a medalled sport by the Olympic Committee,” says MotorSport New Zealand’s CEO Elton Goonan. “MotorSport New Zealand have always been advocates for esports as part of the motorsport ecosystem and are looking forward to being able to give Kiwis the opportunity to represent New Zealand and Oceania on a global stage.”
Ben Lenihan, President of the New Zealand Esports Federation, agrees with this sentiment. “For years esports at the Olympics has been a hot topic, and it’s fantastic to see this now come to life as an official Olympic event. This decision by the IOC further solidifies esports’ competitive legitimacy and the NZESF are ecstatic to be able to offer such a high-stakes global pathway for Kiwi motor-sim athletes.”
“LetsPlay.Live are honoured to once again be partnering with the NZESF and MotorSport New Zealand, especially for an incredible opportunity such as the Olympic Virtual Series,” says Duane Mutu, Managing DIrector of LetsPlay.Live. “Kiwi’s hold fond memories of the Olympics so it is exciting to see the evolution into virtual sports, allowing a new generation of athletes.”
From 7 - 10am on Friday 21st May, Kiwi esports athletes can race on the qualifying track and car at SkyCity Atrium, Auckland. One racing sim will be open for free-play, with the other open to anyone who wants to take a shot at matching or beating the current fastest qualified time for an Oceania racer.
Alternatively, racers outside of Auckland are able to submit a qualifying time using the Toyota GR Supra Racing Concept and racing on the Tokyo Expressway – South Inner Loop. The Global Online Qualifiers will be available in the Gran Turismo Sport game from Thursday 13 May 2021 at 7:00pm until Monday 24 May 2021 2:59am, with the Time Trial able to be entered from within the 'Sport' mode of GT Sport.
For more information on the Olympic Virtual Series, head to https://motorsport.org.nz/olympic-virtual-series/. To check eligibility criteria head here: https://www.gran-turismo.com/gb/gtsport/ovs/overview/2021
LetsPlay.Live (also known as LPL) is Australasia’s leading esports (competitive gaming) tournament organiser and media company. LPL creates world-class esports series and gaming content broadcast to global online and linear networks year-round, and runs an online platform that offers esports leagues across a wide variety of titles and skill levels to hundreds of thousands of gamers.
About New Zealand Esports Federation
The New Zealand Esports Federation was founded in 2015 and is the official governing body for esports in New Zealand. A not-for-profit initiative, the NZESF has been set up with the aim of positively shaping the future of competitive gaming in NZ and has sent representative esports teams to the 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 IESF World Championships. In 2018, the NZESF was accepted as a full member at the International Esports Federation AGM by a unanimous vote from all member countries.
About MotorSport New Zealand
Based in Wellington, Motorsport New Zealand is the national governing and sanctioning body for four-wheeled motorsport in New Zealand. It is affiliated with the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile. MotorSport NZ is the sole authority appointed by the FIA to regulate motor sport in New Zealand in order to promote and achieve safety, fairness, and social responsibility in the conduct of the sport.