Racing Released: The Future of Virtual Racing is Here, and it’s ESL R1

Car with red headlights on.

The Cutting-Edge Virtual Racing Title, RENNSPORT, will Debut Inaugural Tournament at IEM Expo in Katowice, Poland

– ESL R1 virtual racing circuit to launch in February 2023.
– 2023 will feature two seasons (spring and fall) with live, final events and a collective prize pool of €500k.
– Inaugural live tournament will kick off the spring season at IEM Expo, part of Intel® Extreme Masters Katowice

Cologne/New York ESL, an ESL FACEIT Group (EFG) brand, and RENNSPORT, games publisher Competition Company´s brand new virtual racing platform, today announced the next evolution of its partnership by announcing the ESL R1 virtual racing circuit.

ESL R1 is a pristine esports league that will set a whole new standard for virtual racing by establishing a dedicated intersection for car manufacturers and players. It takes what’s best of real-life racing and merges it with the limitless possibilities of the digital realm. While celebrating the pinnacle of speed and skill, ESL R1 creates new champions and delivers an immersive, shared spectacle for the audience.

The inaugural live tournament will kick off the ESL R1 2023 Spring Season with a bang at the free-to-enter IEM Expo, a part of Intel® Extreme Masters (IEM) Katowice, on February 10-12, 2023. For the first time, the most well-known esports teams will be competing against factory teams from RENNSPORT’s automotive license partners in ESL R1. In addition, there will be wild card teams involved, guaranteeing a high level of accessibility and an unprecedented level of entertainment in virtual racing. In this first season of ESL R1, 8 partner teams and 4 wild card teams will participate:

  • Apex Racing Team
  • FaZe Clan
  • G2 Esports
  • Heroic
  • Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Esports Team
  • Mercedes-AMG Team Williams Esports
  • MOUZ
  • Porsche Coanda Esports Racing Team
  • R8G eSports
  • Team Redline

These 48 drivers (four drivers per team) will compete against each other in eight rounds per regular season. Each round consists of a total of 7 races: 4 quarterfinals, 2 semifinals and a final. Each race is also preceded by a qualifying session to determine the starting order of each driver. After the launch at the IEM Expo in Katowice, the rounds will be held online on Fridays and Mondays.

Each season, the 24 top-ranked drivers will advance to the ESL R1 Major where they will face off to decide who will become the ESL R1 Champion. The 2023 calendar consists of two seasons, each culminating with a live, final event and a total prize pool of €500,000.

The dates for the ESL R1 2023 Spring Season are as follows:

  • ESL R1 2023 Spring Season launch: February 11-12, 2023 / IEM Expo, Katowice, Poland
  • ESL R1 2023 Spring Major at the RENNSPORT Summit: May 27-28, 2023 / Munich, Germany

The dates for the ESL R1 2023 Fall Season are as follows:

  • ESL R1 2023 Fall Season launch: August 2023 / online 
  • ESL R1 2023 Fall Major at DreamHack Winter: November 23-25, 2023 / Jönköping, Sweden 

“Esports is the world’s fastest growing media and entertainment segment with a young and digital oriented fan base,” says Competition Company CEO Morris Hebecker. “That’s why EFG is an important partner for us, in order to jointly anchor the fascination of racing in the virtual world as well as to position ourselves in the existing world of esports in the long run.”

“The simracing space is one of the key esports verticals in the sports gaming field,” said Roger Lodewick, President Sports Games at EFG. “With ESL R1, we’re taking our first major steps into this exhilarating world. Doing this together with our ambitious partner RENNSPORT as well as with renowned esports and traditional racing brands is an unique opportunity. We’re thrilled to serve the simracing community in our usual bold and spectacular way.

Make sure to visit the official ESL R1 website and follow the new virtual circuit on Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. Watch broadcast and clips on ESL R1’s Twitch and YouTube channels. To learn more about the elevated experience of virtual racing, visit  RENNSPORT.

For more general information, visit or follow ESL FACEIT Group and ESL on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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RENNSPORT is a new virtual racing platform that makes ultra-realistic racing accessible to anyone. It´s our obsession to create the perfect racing game. It will be ready for ultra-realistic virtual racing but also fun to drive. Throughout the journey automotive and game development experts join forces to create a virtual racing hub for all motorsports enthusiasts. We want to inspire with a bold combination of driving physics developed and validated by experts within the automotive industry and combined with custom Unreal Engine 5 graphics. We create the future of virtual racing and car culture together with you!

About EFG

The ESL FACEIT Group is the leading competitive games and esports company. At EFG we create worlds beyond gameplay where players and fans become community. The company is built on the great legacy of the world-renowned ESL, FACEIT, DreamHack and DreamHack Sports Games brands. We harness this legacy to further innovate and develop the esports and gaming landscape worldwide. Working with our developer, publisher, brand, and media partners, we deliver products and experiences that accelerate gaming culture and make gamer communities come together. Join us on the journey as we help gaming communities thrive by creating worlds beyond gameplay that unite players, fans, and creators around the esports and games they love.

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EFG owns a portfolio of brands in different categories. We are leading the industry with numerous online and offline competitions, digital platforms as well as gaming lifestyle festivals.