MADISON, Ill — World Wide Technology Raceway has been wanting to expand into esports. It just hasn’t had the time. That’s changed with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve been actually talking about getting into the esports arena for the last couple of years. We’ve had an awful lot going on, so it just hasn’t made the top of the list. But when we are not racing we have a little extra time, so we were able to start to think about this a lot,” WWT Raceway owner and CEO Curtis Francois said.
With no live racing for the foreseeable future, the Madison, Illinois, motorsports complex on Sunday will host the eSports Bommarito.com Throwback 500 invitational. The virtual race will be broadcast at 7 p.m. Sunday at speed51.com.
WWT Raceway’s decision comes after Austin Blair, the son of the racetrack’s General Manager Chris Blair, last week held a esports race organized with racer Ryan Vargas. That race drew more than 60,000 viewers online.
Sunday’s race will take place on a “digital replica” of WWT Raceway’s 1.25-mile racing oval. The upcoming event will have a field of 62 racers that will be narrowed down to 28 for the main event on Sunday night. The invitational-style event will be opened to professional racers from all racing leagues as well as select open drivers.
“A little fun and entertainment can go a long way during a tough time like this. We’re just glad to be in the space to be able to contribute, have a little fun and you never know if this sticks around,” Francois said.
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