NASCAR on Tuesday unveiled its plan for a nationwide collegiate Esports league that will include over 500 colleges and universities and potentially reach thousands of students.
The series, called the eNASCAR College iRacing Series, is part of NASCAR’s plan to expand its presence on college campuses and reach a new audience by targeting Esports clubs and teams.
Qualifying will whittle down a potential field of 10,000 drivers to 40 before each race. A combined $50,000 in scholarship money will be disbursed to the highest-finishing competitors throughout the season.
“Gaming and Esports are an important component of NASCAR, allowing us to reach new fans who are often engaging with the sport for the first time,” said Nick Rend, NASCAR’s managing director of gaming and Esports. “Our various eNASCAR initiatives have seen exponential growth. We felt this was the right time to extend our reach to a younger audience and launch the eNASCAR College iRacing Series to show students the opportunities that sim racing and our sport hold for them.”
The series will be run through a partnership with NASCAR, the National Association of Collegiate eSports (NACE), and event organizer CSL eSports. Collegiate eSports programs that are members of the NACE are eligible to participate, meaning upwards of 10,000 students could enter to compete.
The series will use iRacing, NASCAR’s official sim racing partner, and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series vehicles that are available in iRacing. Each truck will carry school branding. Qualifying for the first event has already begun and will end on February 21 before the first race of the season at Daytona International Speedway on February 24.