Following the success of World’s Fastest Gamer last year, a new programme named ‘McLaren Shadow Project’ has been launched to unearth a fresh new online talent.

Rudy van Buren became the official simulator driver for McLaren after winning an exhaustive process last year and he stood together with regular drivers Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne during the team’s official launch earlier this year.

Taking the next step to find a fresh new talent, the Woking-based outfit has launched the new programme, the winner of which will be placed in the team’s eSports outfit and will also be included in its eSports driver development programme.

The team’s CEO Zak Brown said: “Season one proved that esports are a new talent frontier for motorsport and after pioneering the programme in 2017, McLaren plans to develop the concept to generate greater global reach and engagement in season two.

“A strong, diverse esports programme has a direct benefit to McLaren’s innovative ambitions, bringing in new audiences, partners and talent to motorsport. By ramping up over multiple platforms across the online world, it will establish McLaren as an important brand in the motorsport esports community.”

Ben Payne, the team’s Director of esports said: “McLaren Shadow Project will be the most open and inclusive racing esports competition on the planet. We are looking for the most talented virtual racers from all countries and backgrounds.

“To make this possible we have partnered with the biggest racing game brands in the world – Real Racing 3 on mobile, Forza Motorsport on Xbox, PC racing sims iRacing and rFactor 2,” he added.

The team laid down the selection process, which goes:

“Global online qualification heats kick off in August 2018 and run throughout the summer. Heats will take place on a number of games including Forza Motorsport (Xbox One), Real Racing 3 (mobile), iRacing and rFactor 2 (PC). Qualification is open to anyone over the age of 18. 

“From the console and mobile qualification heats, semi-finalists will be selected and invited to McLaren’s headquarters in England to compete for places in the finals. The finals will take place in January 2019, with the eventual winner joining van Buren as McLaren’s second esports champion.

“Selected qualifiers, semi-finals and finals will be live streamed by McLaren.”