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Formula E launches a 'virtual championship' on Forza Motorsport 6

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The electric series gets into e-sports

Formula E

Formula E, the all-electric racing series, is launching a "virtual championship" consisting of a month-long Forza Motorsport 6 e-sports tournament. The competition starts next weekend and will last for four rounds leading up to the end of the series' second season in July. Gamers will be competing for a share of the €15,000 purse, which will be awarded at an event during the final weekend of the Formula E season.

Formula E cars were added to Forza 6 last year, just a few months before the game's September release. Since then, the electric racing series has held a number of Forza 6 competitions during its second season. These "Race Offs," as the series called them, brought gamers, YouTube personalities, and Formula E drivers together in real-world locations and pitted them all against each other. (The series also held a competition on race day this past weekend in Mexico City, but that was run on rFactor 2, another popular racing sim.)

Race online to win big in real life

Aside from the final round, the new "Pro Series" competition is completely virtual. Fans will be have a full week to run time trials using the Formula E car in Forza 6 during each of the first four rounds. The first round starts at 12PM GMT on March 24th; players will be able to join a Formula E-specific "Rivals" event that will appear in the Forza Xbox Live lobby. The time trial period will last until 11:59PM GMT on March 31st, and the 10 fastest players in this period will then compete in a virtual final on April 2nd.

This format will repeat three more times (April 14th-21st, May 12th-19th, and May 26th-June 2nd), and the top two finishers from each of these rounds will be invited to London to compete for the €15,000 purse.

The project is a result of a partnership between Formula E, Xbox, the ESL gaming network, and Forza developer Turn 10 Studios. It's not a new idea — Xbox also announced a separate Forza 6 tournament with Major League Gaming today, and Forza recently announced it would port Lamborghini's Super Trofeo series — but it's evidence of Formula E's savvy. Formula One and other open-wheel racing series look older and less relevant with just about everything new thing the young electric series announces. Formula E has just 16 races to its credit, and yet it's already drawing competitive ratings to F1, regularly uploading 360-degree video replays, and provides free live streams of almost every race around the world.