Some of the most thrilling races at the 2022 Porsche Sports Car Together Fest didn’t just happen on the track. They also happened virtually.
Sixteen gamers made it to the finals of the Porsche Esports Challenge USA, competing in front of a live audience in the first such series organized by Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA). The winner and two runners-up emerged victorious on Saturday, Sept. 3, after scoring the most points across six total races, all featuring unique tracks, Porsche cars and conditions.
“Competition is in Porsche’s DNA, and the race track is the original home of our performance and design,” said Ayesha Coker, Vice President of Marketing for PCNA. “It’s been a fantastic experience to blend virtual and real life motorsports into one incredible weekend – uniting competitors at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”
"I kind of gambled in a way, but it worked out," said first place winner Randall Haywood, 21, of Chicago. "My favorite brand is Porsche, so it's more exciting for me that I won in front of my favorite manufacturer." Second place went to Andrew McCabe, 25, of Potomac, Maryland. Twenty year old Dean Warner Heldt of Las Vegas rounded out the top three.
The finalists were flown to Indianapolis to compete in a specially constructed arena at the Porsche Sports Car Together Fest at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. PCNA partnered with Polyphony, the studio behind Gran Turismo 7, to debut the Porsche Esports Challenge USA platform. This was the first esports championship hosted by Porsche on Gran Turismo 7.
Over a thousand people from across the United States participated in the virtual competition. Drivers had two paths to qualify for the Grand Final. The first path to qualify was via four in-game races on Gran Turismo 7. The second path allowed drivers to compete in racing simulators set up at six different Porsche dealerships and Porsche Experience Center locations throughout the United States. In both instances, competitors had the opportunity to get behind the wheel, virtually, of iconic Porsche road and race cars and compete virtually on some of the most iconic American race tracks including Daytona, Laguna Seca and Watkins Glen.
Haywood earned $15,000 in cash. The runner-up, McCabe, won a $10,000 cash prize. Warner Heldt, the final podium finisher, brought home $5,000. Along with a cash prize, each winner received a trophy and a watch courtesy Porsche Design.
About Gran Turismo™
Gran Turismo™ is a video game developed by Polyphony Digital Inc., a subsidiary of Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc. Having launched in Japan first in 1997, the multi-award-winning franchise is regarded as the best and most authentic driving simulator due to true-to-life graphics, authentic physics technology and careful attention to detail. Polyphony and its famed creator Kazunori Yamauchi have revolutionized the racing game genre.