ESL R1 | €500k Prize Pool at IEM Katowice for Rennsport-Based Event

Rennsport has announced a partnership with ESL early on in its development. Now it seems the plans are coming to fruition with the first large event hosted by the two companies. And it happens at no other place than one of the largest esports events worldwide: IEM Katowice.

ESL R1 is the cumulation of the work Rennsport and ESL have put in together. The project in its full name is called: ESL R1: Racing Released

This event aims to "(fuse) racing culture into the digital age to give you a virtual racing experience unlike anything you have seen before". Furthermore, the website announces the "community as a top priority".

How The Tournament is Structured​

According to the news, there will be a total of 2 seasons in 2023 culminating in a live, final event. Each of the seasons will feature a prize pool of €500,000.

IEM Katowice will host the opening event for the "ESL R1 2023 Spring Season" on February 10-12 2023. The first season will see 8 partner teams and 4 wild card teams participate. You'll see a complete list of the teams participating below.

Each of these 12 teams is required to field 4 drivers, for a combined total of 48 drivers in a regular season. Each round consists of 7 races, 4 quarterfinals, 2 semifinals and a final. A qualifying session precedes each race to determine the starting grid. Rounds will usually be held Fridays and Mondays.

Last but definitely not least, 24 top-ranked drivers each season will advance to the ESL R1 Major to face off and become the ESL R1 Champion. This structure is more akin to other eSports rather than racing events.

The Participating Teams​

The teams participating in the first season are known throughout the esports or racing world. A full list is here:


You might know these few from other esports games:
  • FaZe Clan
  • Furia
  • G2 Esports
  • MOUZ
On the other hand, the purely racing faction is not to scoff at as well with:
  • R8G esports
  • Team Redline
  • Porsche Coanda esports Racing
  • BMW M - Team BS Competition
  • Mercedes-AMG Petronas esports
  • APEX Racing Team
  • Williams esports

The Calendar​

The rounds will happen on these dates, all of which will be live-streamed:
  • Round 1 & 2 @ IEM Katowice - February 11-12, 2023
  • Round 3 @ Online - March 13, 2023
  • Round 4 @ Online - March 27, 2023
  • Round 5 @ Online - April 10, 2023
  • Round 6 @ Online - April 17, 2023
  • Round 7 @ Online - April 24, 2023
  • Round 8 @ Online - May 8, 2023
  • 2023 Spring Major @ RENNSPORT Summit - May 27-28, 2023
What are your opinions on this bombshell of an announcement for sim racing esports? Let us know in the comments down below!
About author
Julian Strasser
Motorsports and Maker-stuff enthusiast. Part time jack-of-all-trades. Owner of, a sim racing-related service provider and its racing community.


Although I don't care about esports as an idividual cars and driving sims enthusiast, but it seemed to me in the previous week that connection quality in an eSports event is the most important thing to make or break a sim reputation so what do I know.
Team Redline, I look forward to Verstappens bed wetting at the first signs of a glitch!

Ultimately though this Sim isn't even released and yet here they are announcing a major eSports event, I hope this isn't a case of them running before they learn to walk...

Other than that, meh, eRacing isn't my thing, it's ok but I'm not gonna lose sleep over it.
I understand this event is still part of the 'alpha' phase... I guess they want a "controlled" environment to see how everything works before the more 'public' Beta release towards the end of 2023. The first round is at the Expo in Katowice, I would assume that's a LAN event, the rest is "online" according to the ESL-R1 site. I guess is the usual "wait and see", how Rennsport develops as a Simracing platform.
Will basic non-esports people even get to play the sim? If they don't have any proper info about the release and about how the game will work/what content it will have, this looks like a disaster in the making. Could be just a way to scam eSports teams and get their probably large entry fees and deliver a half-made game. Even if the game is functioning properly, using pre-release esports to make people buy is not the best way to promote your game in my opinion.
To be quite frank... who the hell cares? This is sim racing, not CS:GO but with cars. Why are investors so hell bent on making this hobby something it isn't?
Club Staff
So this is what Rennsport is aiming for. Oh lord.

Anyway, about time it was announced, been a long time since contracts were signed.

Also, for the ones who follow simracers on Twitter - this is the reason why so many have announced that they are leaving their teams for "new challenges".
This has the look of a petri dish with large quantities of Nitrate and Magnesium powder.
all this while the game is not even released...:whistling:
I'm really hype about it! (the game not the event)
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This event aims to "(fuse) racing culture into the digital age to give you a virtual racing experience unlike anything you have seen before"

That is all I need to know. I my life the more extravagant the marketing claims, the emptier the final offering is.
I think these guys are kicking off on the wrong foot. They are going to host an event for a elite group of drivers. What about the true sim drivers who actually want to drive and test a new Sim which supports Modding to create mods on a new platform. Long live AC and RFactor2.
Yikes... going in with full force in esports without even having a fully tested and released game is madness in my opinion. You only need 1 big problem to happen during the esports event and your new sim will be tainted forever... I hope it's a LAN event.
First the announcement of the Porsche 992 GT3 R for Rennsport and now this. Since I've recently heard that Porsche is financing OverTake_gg, it doesn't seem far fetched they might also payroll this title and event, but just speculation:whistling:
I mean, right from the start they were very open about partnership with ESL. It should be quite clear, that they would put much emphasis on competitive simracing. Although I would never expect them at IEM so fast.

For those, that don't now - IEM in Katowice is THE esports event in Europe. Thousands and thousands of people coming to see pro CS:GO and other pro-esports titles in action together with many cosplayers etc. Tickets on resale market are worth more than 100 euros. Prices for hotel rooms or Airbnb's are insane. Katowice is a nice city, but not "150 euro per night in a mid flat" nice.

Looking at the list of teams, it's obvious what is their goal. Expand their reach. Simracing community will watch it anyway, or at least be mildly interested. With massive juggernauts of professional esports like FaZe they want to bring to their title new people. People, that maybe never heared about rFactor, Assetto Corsa, iRacing or simracing modding, but will recognize their team and because of that watch it. Some of them will want to play Rennsport simply because the guy they like has interest in it. That's how influencing works.

Let's be honest, if competitive simracing wants to become as popular form of esports as other genres, it HAS to bring new people. People that will want to watch it, people that will want to travel the world to support their teams. That interest will convince more sponsors to invest. Yes, we have Mercedes, Porsche, BMW, Ferrari putting money into competitive simracing, and we are lucky for it (just imagine how many great cars would be missing from non-modable titles if they weren't so interested in simracing).

I put a lot of "competitive simracing". That's because I believe we have to separate it from "regular" simracing. Yes, for me and most of you the best way to appeal from Rennsport would be to release the damm beta, confirm how modding is going to work, but how many people they would bring? 15k?

It looks like they have bigger goals. And with ESL funding so massive bill for just two seasons of competitive Rennsport - they should have. There is a one million euros at stake. It wasn't gave a way like to a charity, they have to try to make it back. Pandering to a niche community won't help. Getting some percent of FaZe fanbase to buy their game/content in it/tickets to LAN events will. Cause if they can generate genuine interest in their title, sponsors will come and help fund that bill.

Tbh I'm happy they are starting with a LAN event, lesser chance of problems. Although we know, that this isn't a guarantee (akhem Gran Turismo World Series, akhem Vegas eRace).

With how vibrant Polish simracing scene is, I expect a great number of people going to Katowice to see the best of the best. Thankfully it will be at the IEM Expo, free-to-enter part of the show. I really think many of my compatriots wrote today to their friends in Katowice asking if they can found a couch or some floor to sleep on.

I'm still kinda careful towards Rennsport (especially with all the NFT-like stuff), but this? This looks REALLY interesting.

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Julian Strasser
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