Honda Performance Development (HPD) is expanding its commitment to motorsports in North America by expanding into sim racing.
The effort comes by joining forces with European-based JAS Motorsport to form the HPD JAS Esports Academy, with a commitment to find the next generation of talent spanning over three continents: North America, Europe and Asia. In a partnership with SRO Motorsports America, the search will put racers behind the wheel of an Acura NSX GT3 Evo on Assetto Corsa Competizione. Those selected to be part of the team will have an opportunity to become factory drivers in the Esports realm under the HPD JAS banner.
“HPD is thrilled to expand its challenging spirit through our HPD JAS Esports Pro Team,” said John Whiteman, Commercial Motorsports Manager for HPD. “The HPD JAS Esports Pro Team is an extension of HPD’s commitment to motorsports activities at all levels of racing; bringing the adrenaline of driving Honda and Acura racecraft to a new generation of racing talent.”
Selection for the HPD JAS Esports Academy will start on May 11 “with open qualifiers to determine the top 25 drivers in each region,” according to a statement from SRO. After that, a live streamed feature of the races in each region will determine those selected to join the HPD JAS Esports Pro team based on a series of criteria that include finishing position, pace, racecraft and strategy, among others.
“This is a unique opportunity for racers, both virtual and real-world, to put their skills to the test,” said Mads Fischer, Commercial Manager, JAS Motorsport. “JAS is looking forward to offering talented sim racers in Europe and Asia a chance to refine their racing through the HPD JAS Esports Pro Team.”
The driver search will take exactly one week, with completion set for Tuesday, May 18, 2021. Each of the selected team members will start the SRO Esports season “competing in the various GT World Challenge Esports Sprint and Endurance Championships around the world.”
The Esports venture will continue to “stay true” to HPD’s vision for programs similar to the GT3 Driver Academy by allowing the incoming talent to build on their skills in the virtual world. HPD will provide coaching sessions to the drivers, who will also receive a discount on rig equipment. Additionally, there will be marketing support provided by both HPD and SRO, which will extend both virtually and in the real-world.
With sim racing becoming increasingly closer to the real world, team drivers will have an opportunity in the real-world to drive a Honda factory race car through partners JAS Motorsport and Skip Barber Racing School. Those selected in North America will receive a three-day experience testing a TC America Honda Civic Type R and Civic Si TCA at Skip Barber Racing School. Drivers selected in Europe and Asia will have a similar opportunity through JAS Motorsports, who will provide mentorship, along with a test day in the Honda Civic Type R TCR, and a Honda NSX GT3 Evo Experience.
Qualifications open on Tuesday, May 11, 2021 at 12:00am PDT and close on Friday, May 14, 2021 at 11:59pm PDT. To register, visit http://bit.ly/hpdesports