Fanatec has been named the new title sponsor for GT World Challenge powered by AWS globally, as well as the GT2 European Series, as part of an expanded partnership which will also include a virtual series that will score points in the real world.
The German-based sim racing hardware company takes over from Blancpain, which held title sponsor status until the end of the 2019 season.
Fanatec will be the title sponsor in the GTWC series in Europe, America, Asia and the new-for-2021 Australia championship.
Additionally, Fanatec will join forces with SRO to host a virtual version of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup that will be staged on-site at each real-life event.
Entrants competing for overall honors and those in the Silver Cup class will nominate one driver to represent them in a virtual race, which will award teams’ championship points in the series.
The esports series, organized in cooperation with AK Informatica, will utilize Assetto Corsa Competizione, the official video game of GT World Challenge.
It is understood to be a first-of-its-kind initiative that will see sim racing directly influence the outcome of a real-world championship.
“We are delighted that Fanatec will greatly enhance its partnership with SRO this season by becoming title sponsor of both GT World Challenge Powered by AWS and the GT2 European Series,” said SRO founder and CEO Stephane Ratel.
“I am excited by the initiatives that our collaboration can produce, particularly by integrating real-world racing and simulation.
“Having pioneered the introduction of Balance of Performance and driver categorization, SRO has earned a reputation for breaking new ground within the sport.
“Now, we are proud to be at the forefront of another revolutionary moment as the first championship to merge virtual and real racing.
“It is clear that GT racing is immensely popular within the esports community, which speaks to its potential globally.
“As a leader in its field of expertise, Fanatec can play a crucial role in the project.
“This is also a tremendous boost for the Fanatec GT2 European Series, which I am very excited to see launch at Monza in April. Everything is now in place to ensure a strong maiden season for our new category.”
SRO has stated that the concept could be expanded to the other GTWC series in the “coming seasons.”
The first round of the Fanatec GT World Challenge powered by AWS kicks off with the Australian series next month at Phillip Island.